Monday, May 14, 2007

Home Sweet Home

After a late Saturday morning phone call along the lines of “Hey, your bees are ready- can you be here tonight to get them?” I found myself on my way to Western Maryland to pick up my nuc (pronounced the same as “nuke”, the WMD).

A nuc is basically a couple of frames (usually 3-5) of bees in a wooden or cardboard box that serves as a temporary hive. The frames from the nuc are then installed in a permanent hive. The good thing about a nuc is that the queen has already been accepted by the bees and she has been verified by the nuc-maker to be laying eggs. I thought this was the best way to go for a beginner.

The installation of the nuc frames into my hive went very smoothly. The weather was a tad chilli and it was a little bit breezier than I would have liked, but all in all it wasn’t too bad. The temperament of the bees was great. I just blew some smoke into the nuc box which immediately chilled the bees out. The whole time I was juggling around the frames the bees were as calm as Hindu cows. The bees had glued the frames in the nuc box pretty good, so I had to do quite a bit of prying to get them out. It seemed like there were zillions of bees on the frames so it was tough to see if there were eggs or larvae in the comb. I did notice a good deal of nectar and honey which is a good sign. The comb on the nuc frames was drawn out far enough where it was a bit of challenge to fit them, along with six frames of foundation, into the new hive.

Check out the queen bee in the above pic. She is the one with the yellow dot on her back.

The last step was to add some sugar syrup to the hive top feeder to get the bees to draw comb on the new frames. In about a week I’ll crack the hive open again and make sure they are drawing comb and I’ll check for eggs and larvae. They're home at last!

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