Installing Honey Bee Nucs Into Bee Hives

Installing Honey Bee Nuc Into Bee Hive

Learn how to install your honey bee nucs correctly into your bee hive. The first thing that you need to do is to have everything ready and set up where you will keep your bee hive at all year long. This includes the bottom board with entrance reducer, one brood box with frames, the inner cover and the lid. Always start your hive out in one story, which is the bottom brood box. The reason for this is the by keeping your bees at the proper temperature, the faster they will be able to gain a larger population (meaning less area for the bees to heat). Make sure that you have a frame feeder, entrance feeder or top feeder in your hive, already filled with sugar syrup. The reason for this is the bees are going to need feed as soon as you put them in their hive. If using a frame feeder, make sure that it is placed on the outside of the frames, right next to the wall. 

On the day that you pick up your honey bee nuc, you will need to take along your protective wear, because you will be handling and transporting a live bee hive. When transporting, make sure that the nucs are on a stable surface and that they can not slide around or fall over. Make sure that the vents on each nuc box are not obstructed by anything; if the bees do not get sufficient air flow, they can become overheated or die.

You do not have to install your honey bee nucs right away after you have arrived at your location. You can leave them in the nuc if you need to, just be sure to place it right next to the bee hive with the entrances pointing the same way, side by side. Also, be sure to open the entrance on the nuc.

Once you are ready to install your bees, take the lid and the inner cover off from your hive and remove the same amount of frames from your hive that your nuc contains, plus one extra frame to give you sufficient enough room to transfer the frames from the nuc into the bee hive. Now you are ready to install your bees into their new home!

Lightly smoke the entrance of the nuc, slide the flat part of your hive tool under the nuc lid and gently pop it open. If you smoke the bees lightly across the top of the frames and don't jar them too much, they should remain fairly calm. You will want to remove the outermost frame of the nuc first. It doesn't matter which side you start from, just as long as they go into their new hive in the same order as they were in the nuc. The bees have put everything in their hive into the order in which they need it, so you want to make sure that you maintain that order for them.

Carefully lift out the outermost frame, making sure not to hit it against the side of the nuc or the next frame in. Remember, the queen can be anywhere in the nuc, so you want to proceed with caution at all times. As you transfer each frame across, make sure that you operate close to the nuc and the hive, and move the frames over carefully and quickly. You don't want to take any chance of losing your queen. You can take a glance at each frame and try to see the queen, but it is not necessary to see her. She will be there, and there will be brood of all stages. If it is cold out, the frames need to be put into the hive right away, so the brood will not get chilled and die.

Once you get all frames transferred over from the nuc, put one extra frame back into the hive so that you have 8 or 10 frames total, (depending on the size of hive that you have), and carefully space out all the frames evenly. Keeping the frames spaced evenly will make the bees pull the wax more uniformly and will make it easier to work on them in the future. 

There will be quite a few bees left inside on the walls of the nuc; just take a look around and make sure that you don't see the queen. If she is on the wall, you need to turn the nuc and place it on the top bars of your hive, so that she has a flat surface to walk out on. You want her to walk out of the nuc and onto the top bars, so that she will head right down into the hive. Once you have made sure that the queen is not still on the inside of the nuc, tap it over the frames until you have removed all of the extra bees from the walls of the nuc. Take the nuc right away from the hive area so the bees will not return to it.

It is always a good idea to install a pollen patty on top of the frames to give the bees extra nutrition that they need, until they find natural pollen sources. Put the inner cover and lid back on the hive. Take the extra empty frames that will not go into the hive and store them somewhere to use some other time.

In the following days to come, the only thing you need to do is make sure that the bees still have enough feed in the feeder, until they start bringing in their own natural feed, and that they have enough pollen patty left, until they start bringing in their own pollen.