Starting 2 Nucs

This year, I decided to try my hand at creating and overwintering a couple nucleus colonies (aka NUCs)  so back in Jan I ordered two “Northern queens” from Hall Apiaries. in Plainfield NH. On June 29, I got a note  that the queens were available,  they’d ship them to me & they’d arrive the next day .. Now this is the first time I’ve ever received bees in the mail … so I wasn’t sure what to expect.   I went to the Post Office the next day (June 30)  & low & behold, sitting in my PO box is a Priority mail envelope with holes punched in it & in big letters “live queen bees”!

queen bees arriving in the mail
Bees really do get deliver through the Post office!

I couldn’t wait until I got home so I opened up the envelope right away & the queens & their attendants looked great!  Really active & ready for a new home  (Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the queens)!

I had to get the NUCs ready.  I’m using NUC woodenware  from Hillside Beekeeping Supply which allows two NUCs to be raised in the space of one regular hive.    I started by putting 1 frame of honey(left)  & one frame of pollen (right) in each.

honey & pollen frames
Honey & pollen frames installed in the 2 NUCs

Next I went to my strongest hive & pulled 1 frame of capped brood & 1 frame of larva & eggs for each & installed them in the boxes.  I shook some additional bees into each nuc  then   I then covered them & let them sit queenless –  Hoping they would be more willing to accept the queen when I put her in.

queenless nucs
Bees & brood are in the nucs – but sitting queenless for a while

About 3 hours later, I put a queen in each side of the NUC.. but I left the cork in the queen cage to let her pheromones disperse – again in an attempt to make the workers decide they liked this new queen.  24 hours later (July 1), I removed the cork.. so now the workers can  eat through the candy plug to release the queen.

Queens Installed & sugar water to help get them going..
Queens Installed & sugar water to help get them going..

Today (July 2) I saw some of the workers going in and out of the hive – which is a good sign.  I’ll be leaving the hive alone for a week then I’ll check it to see how the queen & her workers are doing & remove the old queen cage.



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