Recipe to make a new nuc

Say what?

A nuc (nucleus) is a small colony of bees usually consisting of 4- 5 frames.
A mini nuc is a tiny mating nuc. Ours has three tiny frames and a feeding basin.

The mini nuc

The mini nuc

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We nuc it up for a reason:

It’s always a good idea to have an extra queen in case something happens. We recently raised one in the mini nuc, (the small grey box above), and she has since grown into a majestic powerhouse so we thought it was time to upgrade her to a regular nuc (top right).

Making a new nuc requires a friend(s) willing to house our nuc in their garden for at least
7-10 days. The new location has to be at least 3 km away.  If you want to take advantage of natural pollinators and get insight on BEEdom, please bee that friend and email me at beehavenhive@gmail.com. The reason that this temporary field trip is necessary is so that they lose their orientation back to their original hive.

Ingredients of our nuc:

  • 1 frame of pollen
  • 2 frames of capped brood
  • 1 honey frame
  • 1 empty frame dipped in water
  • Newly raised queen
  • Bees (mainly workers) from another hive

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Process – how we roll:

  1. Take out 2 frames of capped brood, bees included, from your strongest existing hive. Make sure the queen is not among those bees though!! Once they are inside the new nuc, close up any holes. Otherwise, they will fly back to their original hive and a fight for unattended honey will
  2. Do the same with the honey and pollen frame by adding them to the new nuc.
  3. An empty frame dipped in water gives the bees some relief, especially when it’s a hot day.
  4. Add more bees to the hive. We slightly sprayed them with water and then shook them into a bucket and added them at the top of the new nuc (bottom right).

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5. Carefully catch the newly raised queen from the mini nuc and put her in an
isolated box. This is a delicate matter. The queen needs to be gradually introduced to
her new worker bees. By keeping her in a separate box, the bees have time to adjust
to the new pheromone of the queen. Otherwise, they may just attack and kill her.
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6. Secure the hive with duct tape and a rope. This ensures that no horror movie will accidentally take place in your car on your way to drop off your little ones. I like to keep my suit on while I drive…just in case 🙂

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7. Find a friend who will let your nuc stay in their garden. Our friend, also a beekeeper,
has an awesome sunny garden with four hives. Check it out:
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8. Open the door of your nuc. I was pleasantly surprised at how calm they were. And
don’t forget to let the queen out of her isolated box. It is recommended that she stay in
it overnight but we just didn’t have time to come back again so hopefully all goes well.

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9. Let them adjust to their new home and enjoy some super sunny days. See you in a week!

A bit of frenzy after inspection but our friend's bees are thriving!

A bit of frenzy after inspection but our friend’s bees are thriving!

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