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Hi all....

I overwintered a 5 frame nuc, and it looks like it's going to make it! (Yay!) This was not my original intention, but we had some issues with our first attempt to transfer this nuc into a Warre box. I won't tell that whole story, but my question is this: When would be the best time to take the nuc and transfer it into a regular brood box? The bees seem to be doing OK. They have come out for brief flights (weather permitting) and we have kept feed on them all winter long. I know that it's got to be tight in the box and I'm afraid as it warms up and they get active, they will quickly run out of room and have nowhere else to go but out, so I'd like to transfer them as quickly as I can. I live in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Our last frost date is early April (if that makes any difference), but we quickly begin having nice days in March. Any suggestions??
 

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Some things just come with experience. Everyone manages their hives differently. Its been mild here and my hives have been raising brood like crazy. Pick a nice warm day and open them up to evaluate. Have a deep box ready in case you decide to swap them over at that time. If they are wall to wall inside that nuc box they will appreciate some more room. If you have any drawn comb add it to the deep. Check the honey and pollen stores while your inspecting them.
 

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Well you could add another nuc on top with drawn comb and allow them to continue to advance upward. IMO I think it is still a bit to early here in NC to be advancing them over. I have overwintered 6 nucs with 3 of them being doubles and OMG I have 1 that is full and I am considering adding a 3rd nuc on top of them. I went into 5 of my nucs today and found them all queen right and hauling in pollen, got 4 more to check tomorrow since it has gotten nice and warm here for a few days. Good luck and best wishes for you and your bees
 

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When they are looking crowded and are nearly out of empty comb / space to build comb - and yet before they decide to swarm.

Seriously, it seems that they do better in the smallest box that is reasonable, but I'm not sure that it really makes all that much of a difference - so I say move them when you're ready. It won't hurt anything for them to be in a roomy hive setup if the extra space is just foundation - if it is comb and the population is too small they can't keep it from being invaded by SHB and wax moths.
 
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