How to build up a new nuc
When you first acquire bees as a new beekeeper it will normally be in the form of a nuc.
Nucs are supplied on 5 frames; three with brood and outer two with stores.
Transfer to your full size hive can be done soon after getting the bees to the apiary if they have not travelled far or been disturbed. Otherwise, open the nuc entrance so they can fly and then transfer the following day.
How to transfer frames from a nuc to a full size hive
Transfer frames in same order and direction from nuc into your brood box, placing one of frame of stores against either the front or side wall (depending whether you want the hive warm or cold way)
Place a frame with foundation next, then the 3 frames of brood, then another frame of foundation, then the last frame of stores. Finally, position a dummy board
You will then need to feed the bees. Use medium strength sugar syrup (1Kg sugar to 1 Litre water) in a rapid feeder. This is placed over a hole in your crown board.
Monitoring and expanding your new colony
Keep an eye on the frames with foundation. When they are mainly drawn out and the queen is laying on them add another frame with foundation.
The young queen will have started laying well in the week before you receive your nuc. These bees will emerge in three weeks so the number of bees will then rapidly increase. Make sure there is room for them.
Continue feeding and adding frames till the hive is full.
Now add a super; if you do not put in a queen excluder the bees will more readily go up and start drawing out the foundation.
Feed for a few days only (to help the bees start drawing the foundation).
Put a queen excluder in place (make sure the queen is below it).
If there is forage available, stop feeding and allow the bees to collect nectar. You may be lucky enough to get a honey crop, BUT - remember the ‘June Gap’ and poor weather will impact on the amount of forage available to your bees.
You will need a super full of stores as well as stores in brood box for the bees overwinter; if necessary continue feeding. Never remove honey stores needed by your bees to get through the winter.
Use ‘strong syrup’ (1kg sugar to 650ml water) to build up winter stores. Click here for more information on feeding honey bees.
A poly nuc containing a recently collected swarm