Setting Up Your Nuc At Home
After the journey to their new home, the bees will be anxious to get out and explore!
Therefore, you should have the site for your hive prepared ahead of time. A hive stand or a couple of cinder blocks will keep your hive up off the damp ground. Ideally, the hive should be located in a place that receives at least partial sun, preferably in the morning. A fenced in area is recommended to protect your hive from curious critters and humans. An electric bear fence is a good idea if you think bears could be an issue.
Once home, simply place your nuc on your previously prepared stand, add a top cover (temporarily over the screen) and open the bottom entrance. If you run 10 frame equipment, you can use your 10 frame top cover on your nuc, just be sure, as with all top covers, you ratchet it down with a strap or weight it down with a hefty rock. Allow your colony a few days of peace and quiet to acclimate to their new surroundings and begin to gather pollen and nectar.
After a few days, it's time to get beekeeping! You can remove the screened inner cover on top, and switch out the temporary bottom board for a permanent one. If you're using 8 frame equipment, you can add another box of frames so your colony will have room to expand. It is good idea to bring up a couple of fully drawn frames from your nuc into this new box as it will help the bees get interested in the box and promote straight comb. If you plan on using 10 frame equipment, now would be the time to transfer your nuc frames, in the order they came in, into the center of your ten frame medium box. Add two more frames to the outside positions. Replace the screened inner cover with your own inner cover.
Both the screened inner cover and temporary bottom board are good equipment to keep around. The screened inner cover can be used for added ventilation on hot days, and the temporary bottom board is handy to have for swarms and emergency splits. For those of you using 10 frame equipment, your Shinhopple Farm nuc makes a handy swarm trap with the addition of a plywood top. Extra equipment on hand is a must for beekeeping!
Your nuc will have honey and pollen in it which will help the bees start off in their new location as they explore and find flowers. If there is plenty of nectar available in your location your nuc should not need to be fed. If you are unsure or worried about the availability of flowers, you can offer sugar syrup as feed, but only after you've added space. We recommend using an in-hive feeding method, such as a mason jar in an empty hive box, rather than the entrance feeders that come with many beekeeping starter kits.
Our nucs are strong and build up quickly, so be sure to check on them regularly to see if they need space, especially if feeding sugar syrup. You must have additional boxes and frames on hand to be ready for when your colony needs to expand and to avoid swarming.
There are many great resources on beekeeping, if you are new to the hobby please check out our bee links page.