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”!
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.
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.
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.
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.