I pick up my Nucs this weekend. These are 7 frame nucs. Most nucs are 4 or 5 frames. Seven frames is almost a complete hive, so this is a very good thing. I received this in my email concerning the pickup and I thought that it would be interesting to my readers.
Transport and Care of your Nucleus Colony
Thank you for purchasing your bees at Gooserock Farm! Whether you are a first-time beekeeper or an old hand, we want you to be successful in your beekeeping endeavors. Please take a few minutes to review these tips for getting your bees home safely and keeping them happy once they get there.
If you will be transporting your bees in an enclosed vehicle where they must be locked inside the cardboard nuc box, the most important consideration is ventilation. Be sure the screened ventilation holes in the box are not blocked. The temperature in the vehicle should be a little cool for you – that will be perfect for the bees. Opening windows to create air flow will help the bees stay cool. Don’t put the bees in the trunk. You will be amazed at how quickly bees can die if locked in a trunk on a day that is just mildly warm. Probably the best way to transport bees is in the bed of a pick-up truck with the bees’ entrance left open.
When moving bees, always be sure to place the box so the frames are parallel to the direction of motion. If you move them with the frames perpendicular to the direction of travel, the frames will move back and forth and slap into each other, killing bees and possibly killing your queen.
What to Do When You Get Home
When you arrive home, if you are unable to hive the bees immediately, set the nuc box in the spot where the hive will be located. If you already have the hive set up, you can put the box right on top of the outer cover. Remove the piece of duct tape covering the small round entrance so the bees can fly.
Transfer the frames to your hive as soon as possible. The cardboard box is intended only for transport and has numerous bee space violations. If you leave your bees in there more than about a day, they will probably begin building comb in all the wrong places and you will have a mess when you finally get around to hiving them. Transfer the frames to the center of the super, keeping the same order of frames, with empty frames of foundation or drawn comb placed near the walls to fill out the super. If you are using 8-frame equipment, you will only need one additional frame. If you are using 10-frame equipment, you will need 2 frames of drawn comb or 2 to 3 of foundation.
Give your bees another box of foundation or drawn comb immediately and follow it with a third when the bees have drawn comb and/or filled about 75% of the second box. Your final fall configuration in New Jersey should be 3 standard 10-frame mediums or 2 standard deeps or the equivalent, full of bees and honey. Remember, NJ bees need at least 60 pounds of honey to overwinter. If you live north of NJ, they will need more.
We recommend you feed your bees sugar syrup at least until they have draw out all their foundation. Do not feed once you add honey supers if there is still a nectar flow at that time.
If you will be keeping these bees in northern NJ, PA, and locations north of here, you will need to install a sturdy electric bear fence. You may not have seen any black bears where you live but eventually you WILL see them if you keep bees. Bears can smell honey a mile away. They will find your bees and, if they are unprotected, they will destroy them. It is only a matter of time.
If you have not already done so, please take a good bee class and join your local bee club. Beekeeping has increased dramatically in popularity in recent years and there are numerous books, websites, and blogs on the topic. Some of the information is excellent but some is not. If you do not learn how to control varroa mites, recognize and treat diseases, and evaluate food stores, there is a good chance you will lose your bees. Most importantly, successful beekeeping practices are very dependent on local conditions, and what works for one person in Florida or North Dakota will not work in New York or New Jersey. The only way to learn how experienced local beekeepers manage their colonies is to take a local class and join a local club. We are seriously considering refusing to sell our bees to anyone who has not taken a class in beekeeping. We just hate to see our bees die.
Good luck with your bees! Please take good care of them.