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We recently bought two honey bee nucs to expand the number of hives we have. The kids and I watched as my husband installed the nuc in the hive. It was so fascinating to see the buzzing boxes of bees be rehomed into the bee hives on our property! I took pictures of the process so we could share how it was done since we’ve had several people ask how to put a nuc into a hive.
Preparing to Install a Nuc in a Bee Hive
There are a few things to have ready before actually putting a nuc in a bee hive. Put on your beekeeping suit (this is the one we’ve been using for a few years and love it!) Have a brood box with five frames, preferably with drawn comb, ready and waiting at the location where you want your hive to remain. Inside the brood box, position three frames on one side and two frames on the other side so the nuc frames will be installed in the center of the box.
Installing a Nuc in a Hive
Now you are ready to install the nuc in the hive! Start by smoking the nuc (this is the smoker we have) and remove the lid of the nuc box. Gently sit the lid on the ground next to the hive since there will likely be bees on the lid. Carefully remove a frame from the nuc box and inspect the frame to look for the queen or evidence the queen is laying. Place the frame down in the brood box and repeat this same process with each frame, keeping them in the same order they were in in the nuc box.
If there are a lot of bees in the lid and nuc box after the frames are removed, you can tap and shake the bees into the brood box. Sit the nuc box and lid next to the hive and any remaining bees will find their way into the hive on their own. Put a super on top of the brood box filled with frames. Then put a lid on it. It is recommended that you feed the bees after installing a nuc if there is not an ample nectar flow.
Hive Check After Installing a Nuc
It is best to go back out in a few days to do a hive inspection to ensure the queen is present and laying eggs. One year my husband discovered that one of our new nucs was queen-less on his first hive inspection a few days after installing the nuc. The apiary where we bought our nucs mailed us a new queen overnight. My husband then introduced a new queen to the hive which is a topic for another post on another day!
Do you have any tips to share about installing a nuc in a hive?