When To Move Bees From Nuc To Hive?

A nuc box is like a starter box for a new bee colony. It is typically a small hive with between three and five frames. You should start out with a mated, accepted queen and at least three frames that are already filled with honey and brood and are fully drawn out. In this article, we discuss when to move bees from nuc to hive & also what time of day are bees most active. Read on to learn more.

How Do You Transfer Bees From A Nuc Box To A Hive?

how do you transfer bees from a nuc box to a hive?

Naturally, this small hive can’t house your newly purchased or captured colony for very long, but it can give you a place to keep your new colony while you set up a permanent hive for them. This is particularly true for bees transported long distance.

The nuc box gives them a chance to get used to their surroundings. You can transfer them to their permanent hive once they have settled into their new location altogether.

So how to start?

Begin by getting the permanent hive completely ready for the bees. Choose the hive location carefully because unnecessary moving of beehives is quite undesirable.

To transfer the bees from the nuc box to the hive, you can simply set nuc the box on top of the hive and open up its entrances. The bees will begin orienting themselves to the new location right away.

You’ll see them flying in clusters in front of the hive, familiarizing themselves with its location in relation to the sun and landmarks. They may also begin collecting nectar and pollen right away.

You may be tempted to transfer the frames from the nuc box very quickly, but wait at least a full day before doing so. A full week is even better.

Transfer Frames Carefully

When you’re ready to transfer the frames, follow these steps:

  1. Suit up in your beekeeper regalia.
  2. Prepare and light your smoker.
  3. Puff smoke around the nuc box entrance.
  4. Open the box lid and puff smoke into the top as well.
  5. Remove the first frame from one side of the box and transfer it into a central slot in the hive body.
  6. Carefully remove the next frame and put it in place with exactly the same direction and orientation it has had in the nuc box. Repeat this step with each successive frame. They should stay in the same placement and order when moved from box to hive.
  7. Check to see if there are still bees inside the nuc box. If there are, shake them into the hive gently.
  8. You should now have all of the frames from the nuc box installed in the center of the hive. Fill in the sides completely with fresh frames.
  9. Double check the entrance reducer and set it to provide a smaller opening.
  10. Put the inner cover in place and set up any liquid feeding arrangement you may be using.
  11. Put the outer cover in place.
  12. Observe the bees activity daily for about a week and then perform a hive inspection to make sure all is well.

Installing A Nuc In Your Hive

What Time Of Day Are Bees Most Active?

Generally speaking, bees are most active in the mid-morning hours as this is the best time for them to gather pollen and have access to moisture on leaves and flowers in the form of dew, but bees’ activity is dependent on a lot of factors.

In addition to time of day, weather conditions, food availability, pollution levels and many other conditions determine how active bees will be at any given time of the day.

Different Bee Species Are Active At Different Times of Day and Night

Honeybees are the most common types of bees, and they are typically very active around mid-day when the sun is high. There are lots of other types of bees, though.

In fact, worldwide there are more than sixteen thousand species of bees. There are even Southeast Asian bees that are active in the nighttime.

Different Types of Plants Cause Different Levels of Activity

Bees are attracted to plants by color, scent and abundance of nectar. Naturally, areas filled with an abundance of colorful, sweet smelling flowers will attract a lot more bee activity than areas filled with non-flowering plants.

Spring and Summer Are Bee Season

what time of day are bees most active

Because they are insects and unable to regulate their body temperature, bees love the warmer weather. You are much more likely to see very active bees during the warm, sunny days of the spring and summer than you are in the autumn. You are also much more likely to see very active bees in an open, sunny setting than in a shaded area.

Extreme Weather Conditions May Reduce Bee Activity

While bees do prefer bright, sunshiny weather, they are able to function in some extreme conditions. Honeybees are able survive very low temperatures during the wintertime, and they may stay out collecting pollen late into the autumn, even after temperatures drop.

When this is the case, you’ll see fewer bees and they won’t be quite as zippy as they are during warmer weather.

Extremely high temperatures and very dry weather may also limit bee activity. Even though bees may dart about more quickly (and may be more aggressive) in very hot weather, they will limit the amount of time they spend outdoors looking for nectar during very hot, dry weather.

Under these conditions, you may only see them in the cooler, early morning hours.

Pollution Slows Bees Down

When the air is heavily polluted, the pollutants interact negatively with plants’ scent molecules. Bees depend on the scent of plants to find food. When these scent molecules mix with pollutants, it interferes with the bees’ ability to find and harvest nectar and pollen. This results in failed pollination and collapsed bee colonies.

Diesel fuel exhaust has been found to be especially harmful to bees because the chemicals found in it (nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide) mix with and alter the floral chemicals in flowers, thus making them unrecognizable to bees. In areas where diesel pollution is high, bee activity will be slow, inefficient or non-existent.

Don’t inspect bees in the early morning. Quick inspection gets hasty when percolating bees get angry.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Farm & Animals since 2019. Farm animals have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.

2 thoughts on “When To Move Bees From Nuc To Hive?”

  1. This is a very well written and informative article. I am a first time bee keeper and really enjoyed ready and watching the videos. I live in Australia on the east coast but inland where it can get cold. I will be transferring my nuc into their new home during this week having had them in temporary accommodation for a week to acclimatise.
    I look forward to reading more articles about bee husbandry.

    Reply

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