Transferring from a Nuc to a Full-sized Hive - Bee Friends Farm

Transferring from a Nuc to a Full-sized Hive

Bee Friends Farm Admin
1. After acquiring your nucleus hive, plan to transfer the bees into a full-size Langstroth hive within a few days. A nucleus hive, or "nuc," is essentially a mini-colony with a queen, workers, and brood already established, making it a great starting point.

2. Once the bees are installed in their new Langstroth hive, begin feeding them sugar water (1:1 ratio of sugar to water is common in spring and summer). This supplemental feeding encourages the colony's growth and comb building, especially important as the natural nectar flow might not be sufficient for a new colony.

3. Regular Inspections: Conduct weekly inspections to monitor the colony's health, queen's egg-laying activity, and overall progress. Look for signs of diseases or pests and ensure the queen is present and laying eggs.

4. Expansion: When the bees occupy about 8 frames or cover roughly 80% of the hive, it's time to add a second box. This expansion provides more space for the queen to lay eggs and for the colony to store resources. Continue feeding the bees after adding the second box, which also becomes part of the brood nest.

5. Adding a Honey Super: Once the bees cover about 70% of the second box, place a queen excluder on top and add a third box, known as a honey super. The queen excluder prevents the queen from laying eggs in the honey super, ensuring that this box is used exclusively for honey storage.

6. Reducing Inspections and Feeding: As the colony establishes itself and begins to forage more efficiently, you can reduce the feeding and frequency of inspections. However, it's still important to keep an eye on their progress, especially as they start filling the honey super.

7. Adding More Supers: As the bees fill each super by about 50%, continue adding more boxes to give them ample room for expansion and surplus honey storage. This approach helps prevent overcrowding and swarming.

8. Harvesting Honey: By around July 4th, or when the nectar flow in your area diminishes, it's time to harvest the honey. Ensure you leave enough honey for the bees to sustain themselves, especially over winter.

9. Post-Harvest Management: After the harvest, you might consider making splits if you wish to expand your apiary. It's also crucial to treat for mites to ensure the health of your colony. Varroa mite management is essential in beekeeping practices.

10. Resume Feeding: Continue with syrup feeding throughout the summer to support the bees, especially if natural forage is scarce. This feeding helps prepare the colony for the coming fall and winter.

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