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Transferring a Nuc into a full hive

Published – September 6, 2023

A nucleus hive, also known as a Nuc, is a small hive that contains a queen, a 3 or 4 frames of brood, and some food. Nucs are perfect to beekeepers at all levels, weather you are a new beekeeper looking to start out or an experienced beekeeper looking to expand your apiary.

Transferring a nuc into a full hive is a relatively simple process, but it is important to do it correctly in order to minimize stress on the bees.

We advise placing the newly purchased Nuc on top of the new hive or stand in which the hive will be on for 24hrs with the Nuc entrance open prior to transferring the Nuc, this allows the bees to ‘set their gps’ have a fly around to get their bearings before being transferred.

Step 1: Prepare the Full Hive

The first step is to prepare the full hive that you plan to put the Nuc into.

You will require a floor, a national brood box, a crown board and a roof.

We supply 5 or 6 frame Nucs, depending on which you have purchased, you will require 6 or 7 new frames to complete the full hive.

Place the floor and brood box on a stand in the location you wish to keep the hive and remove 2 or more of the new frames to allow space to transfer the bees without any risk of squashing any bees.

Step 2: Transfer the Nuc

The next step is to transfer the Nuc into the full hive. This can be done by carefully lifting the Nuc box and placing it next to the hive.

First remove the outer frame closest to you and place into the hive in the same position it came from the Nuc

Now one by repeat the process until all of the frames are in the full hive in the same position as they were removed from the Nuc

Step 3: Bees remaining in the Nuc box

Once the Nuc is empty of frames, you will need to combine the remaining bees from the Nuc with the bees in the full hive. This can be done by shaking the Nuc box over the hive. Generally one hard shake is enough however more may be necessary. The bees will eventually sort themselves out and find their way into the different frames.

Step 4: Build the hive

Now the bees have been transferred you can put the new frames back into the hive, either side of the frames of bees.

Place the crown board on top of the brood box and place a feeder of your choice onto the crownboard.

Step 5: Feeding

The bees will have some food however they will require some feeding to help draw out the new frames and help to build them up quickly.

Step 6: Monitor the Hive

After transferring the Nuc, it is important to monitor the hive closely for a few days. This will help you to ensure that the bees are adjusting well and that the queen is laying eggs.

If you see any signs of problems, such as fighting or swarming, you may need to intervene. However, in most cases, the bees will be able to adjust to their new home without any problems.

Transferring a nuc into a full hive is a simple process that can be done by any beekeeper. By following these steps, you can help to ensure that the bees are transferred successfully and that they can start to thrive in their new home.

Here are some additional tips for transferring a nuc into a full hive:

  • Choose a calm day to do the transfer. Bees are more likely to be agitated on windy or hot days.
  • Wear gloves and a veil to protect yourself from bee stings.
  • Be gentle when handling the nuc box. Avoid jostling it or dropping it.
  • Use a smoker to give the entrance of the hive a small puff of smoke to keep them calm.
  • Monitor the hive closely for a few days.

With a little care and attention, you can easily transfer a Nuc into a full hive and help the bees to start a new colony.

Chris smith

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