At our last meeting, Jim from Nature's Nectar treated us to an explanation of why it's a good idea to have some nucs lying around. Not only are they handy for getting a package going quickly, but good for queen production, hive splits, and swarm catching.
|a nuc box|
- Plans for making a nuc box here: nuc box plans
- Making two nucs from a regular deep: Cut a groove in the inside middle of your deep and put in a divider board. You will need to make the divider board high enough so the bees can't get over into the nearby "Nuc Duplex", necessitating some sort of spacer to accommodate for that space. And rub the groove with paraffin, so it doesn't become totally stuck forever with propolis.
|making nucs with a divider|
Why have a few nucs laying around? I frankly can't believe I've gone as long as I have without a few nucs! One for starting a 2 lb package, one for producing a queen, one for hive division, and a cardboard one for catching swarms.
- Starting a package with a nuc
This is a good way to quickly build up your colony. The old adage is that bees want to be in proportion of the cavity they are in. Starting smaller for a relatively small number of bees makes them feel good, when their population increases, then you can add more room.
- Using a nuc is a good way to produce a queen.
- Got some swarm cells? Take a frame that has swarm cells and brood and stick it in the center of a nuc. Add some sugar water with an internal feeder or a make-shift mason jar and voila! Soon you will have a queen. Timing is everything here. Do this the first week of June, when temps are around 70 degrees (you need drones who require lots of pollen) so your queen can mate.
- Use a nuc for that swarm you just caught.
- Carry around a plastic pail and a cardboard nuc box in your car, and you are prepared to collect some free-bees. Put your swarm in the plastic bucket and then slide them out into your nuc box to carry home.
- They are totally cute and easy to handle.
- Like a mini doll house bee hive! Way easier to lift and carry, Jim sells them complete with their own teeny screened bottom board, inner cover, and telescoping cover.
Tips for Nucs
Because of their small size, ventilation is crucial. Make a large ventilation hole and use an entrance wheel.
Use a nuc to keep your bees cozy and warm if it's cold out and you're moving your bees further north.
- MORE General Tips gleaned from Jim's discussion:
- Cold weather hiving
- Don't spray with sugar water! Keep your queen warm, dump bees out and if they start flying everywhere, LIGHTLY LIGHTLY spray them once they are in hive. Direct release the queen so she can get cozy and warm right away.
- Pollen patties the first week of March or so.
- You can use Hopguard for mite control when the temp is as low as 30 degrees.
- Remove honey supers around Aug 1 to ensure your bees have enough winter stores. You cannot always count on a heavy goldenrod flow.
- Do not treat nosema ceranae with Fumagillin! Here is the advice from the U of MN Bee Lab:
- Nosema ceranae has virtually displaced the old species Nosema apis throughout the U.S. We are still learning about Nosema ceranae, but as of this writing, we DO NOT RECOMMEND THE USE OF FUMAGILLIN TO TREAT THIS DISEASE.
- nuff said
- FINALLY....Jim may have some bee packages left. They go quickly. Here is the NATURE'S NECTAR BEE ORDER FORM
**My apologies to all you nuc-heads for my elementary explanations!
See you next month!