Well today turned out nicer than expected, albeit a bit windy, so I decided to install my nuc. I didn’t want them to get too crowded in there as I know they work fast!
I got my brand new smoker lit for the first time with some pieces of burlap, and pried off the nuc lid. Since there are only four frames in the nuc box, but room for five, the bees have already started drawing out comb in the empty space. These combs were just tiny nubbins when I picked up the nuc two days ago, so you can see just how quickly they are constructed. Aren’t they elegant looking?
The next thing to do was to remove the little nails that were holding the frames in place so they wouldn’t shift during travel. Easily done with a pair of pliers. Then it was just a matter of carefully removing the four frames and installing them in the center of the new hive, in the same order that they were removed from the nuc.
While removing the frames, I did a quick inspection of each one. It was tough to see well because of all the bees, but I was able to identify some capped brood and some drone comb, as well as some drones. I couldn’t locate the queen, and I’m not going to worry about that too much right off the bat. I didn’t see her in the box after the frames were gone so I assume she made it in on a frame.
After installing the frames, I mixed up a 50/50 sugar water solution and installed a feeder inside another deep box on top of the inside cover. This will help the bees draw out all the comb on the new frames which so far only have foundation.
So that’s it! The first nuc is installed and the bees now have lots of room to build. I did wear my veil for the installation but I didn’t wear my gloves. I don’t think the veil was even really necessary and I don’t really like how it obscures my view of the bees. I may try without it next time. I wasn’t stung at all today and the only damage was a very minor burn on a baby finger from the smoker. It’s hot!