What is a nucleus?
A nucleus is a starter colony, it is usually about 3-6 frames in size and will eventually develop into a larger colony over the spring. All fully functioning nucleus colonies have a mated queen which is laying eggs, 2-3 frames of brood in different stages and a frame of food stores.
How we produce our nucs.
How to care for your nucleus.
A 6 or 5 frame nucleus is produced by taking frames of brood and worker bees out of a larger colony, putting them into a smaller nucleus hive and introducing a fertile queen. The nucleus hive is taken away from the apiary (place bees are kept) so that the worker bees in the new hive do not get confused and fly back to the larger colony that they were taken from. The nucleus is left alone for about a week which gives the worker bees enough time for them to accept the new queen bee. If the new queen has been accepted she will be happily walking around on the frames laying eggs in large blocks. The nucleus is then fed inverted sugar syrup and then left to build up in size.
Your 5 frame nucleus will be in a temporary travel box which is vented so the bees can breathe. Until you open and transfer your nucleus into its new home keep it out of direct sunlight in a cool place, however we recommend that you transfer the nucleus in to its new home the same day. Late evening time is usually best to do this. Your 6 frame nucleus will be in a polystyrene box. No need to transfer them straight away, as the box is suitable for all weather conditions, however the colony will out grow the polystyrene box rather quickly if not transferred.
Your 6 or 5 frame nucleus will come with at least one frame of food stores, but it is important when moving them into a larger hive with more frames that you feed them straight away so that they can continue to build up in size. It is also important that you keep monitoring food levels, making sure the colony does not starve.