The beekeeping world is full of many unusual terms, and learning all of them can be challenging. Bee nucs are one of the most common tools for beekeepers, and the term is short for nucleus colony. Interestingly, most bee nucs consist of frames full of brood, honey, bees, and a wooden box to hold them. Ultimately, they can be a valuable tool for beekeeping; explore why every beekeeper should be using a nuc.
Requeen Your Colony
No matter how long you’ve been beekeeping, your colony will swarm or unexpectedly lose its queen during the production season. Unfortunately, this can drastically impact your colony’s overall productivity. As a result, the colony must make a new queen, which can take up to six weeks for her to become fully functional and restore normal hive operations.
However, you can requeen a colony relatively quickly if you have another nuc available. In fact, the nuc provides the queenless colony with brood and an immediate laying queen, which prevents any time gaps during the production season. Just make sure you introduce the new queen to the hive properly.
Swarming is the natural form of reproduction for bee colonies, and it’s often unavoidable. Although it’s good for bees, it can cause you to lose half of your colony. However, you can help prevent your bees from swarming by intentionally splitting them in early spring. Use a nuc to separate them four to six weeks before the primary nectar flow; it gives both colonies a chance to recover before honey production begins.
Strengthen Weak Colonies
If your existing colony is weak or sick, you can give it bees and brood from a nuc to supplement and strengthen your bees. Additionally, you can transfer a group of bees into a nuc if it’s too small to occupy a full-sized hive. Because smaller colonies are more likely to become infected by pests and diseases, temporarily transferring them into a nuc is an excellent way to prevent issues before they start.
Expand Your Operation
Aside from splitting to prevent swarming, you can sporadically split your colonies to expand your beekeeping operation. As a beekeeper, you may be able to save money by making your own colony splits rather than purchasing new bees every time. However, you must remember that your split colonies will experience a decline in productivity until they recover and rebuild as a new family.
Now that you know why every beekeeper should be using a nuc, you may consider purchasing one for yourself. The B Farm offers 5-frame nucs for sale, so be sure to visit us online. Beekeeping is a rewarding experience, and you can further help the bee population by using nucs to boost your colonies. Learn about what to look for when buying nucs, and call us at (978) 667-2337 to find out what bees are available near you.