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A frame of honeycomb, honeybees and pollen. How to install a nuc of bees

How to Install a Nuc

Step 1: Preparing and Transporting

Bees will do best if installed the same day (or the day after) you get home. Place your complete hive (hive stand, floor, brood box, and 3-5 frames of foundation, crown board and roof) next to where you would like your bees.


Ideally, do this before you leave to pick up your nuc – it will just make things easier. 


So, your hive equipment should be assembled (and painted) BEFORE the bees arrive so they can be installed without delay.


    1. Keep your nuc as cool as possible. While there is some ventilation in the boxes they come in, for the health of the bees you need to go directly from Honey HQ to your new hive location. Run the air conditioner on the way home. 

    2. Be sure the box is secure so it does not tip over or that the lid does not come open (I will tape the lid shut)

    3. There may be a few “hitch hiker” bees on your nuc. 

    4. Do not stop for a long period of time with the nuc in a hot car – they will be fine in cold conditions but heat may do a lot of harm. 

    5. When you arrive home place the nucleus colony on the new stand and face the entrance in the same direction as the hive entrance. The bees will orient to this spot as their new home. 

    6. Open the entrance so that the bees can fly and orientate to the new position. Do this even if it is dark and the installation is to be the next day

Step 2: Installing

  1. Move the nuc to the side, and place the floor and brood box in that position 

  2. Open the lid on the nuc box slowly - you may want to give them a puff of smoke. 

  3. Start with the outermost frame and remove it from the nuc, being careful to be gentle and not to roll/crush any bees. Place the frame in the brood box. 

  4. Continue to move all frames into the brood box in the same order and orientation they come out of the nuc. This is important to keep the brood nest together and in the way the bees have organised it.

  5. When putting the frames in the brood box, lower the frame into the empty area and then slide it up gently to the previously installed frame to avoid rolling bees. 

  6. Add your remaining frames on either side of the nuc frames to fill the brood box

  7. Put the crown board and roof on

Step 3: Feeding

Depending on the time of year, it may be necessary to feed the bees to encourage them to draw out foundation.

If there is a good flow of nectar this may not be necessary.  If there is a lack of pollen (as might happen in the June gap) use a pollen supplement like Candipolline. If you have received your nuc later in the season and it is important to have the bees be ready for winter, feed a syrup.

Any concerns, get in touch and I will gladly chat through the options and let you know what I am doing for my nucs at that time.

If you are feeding, the small colony may be vulnerable to robbing, so reduce the entrance to one or two bee spaces. Use something like foam if you have it. When you see congestion at the entrance, this is an indication that they are strong enough to repel robbers. The material you have used to block off part of the entrance can now be removed.

Next Steps: 

Depending on the weather and time of year, the nuc will expand to fill the brood box within 2-6 weeks.


At this stage you have options as to how you manage your bees. I would be pleased to advise/discuss.


Having bought a nuc from me, you will have my phone number – you can text me anytime.


Harry Hazlem - Beekeeper

How to install a nuc of bees. A new beekeeper with her nuc of bees ready for installation

New beekeeper Rebecca installing her nuc of bees into her beehive

The first step of a new beekeeper installing her nucleus of honeybees
Replacing the crown board after installing a nuc of bees
Closing up the beehive after installing a nuc of bees

Contact us if you have any questions about nucs or the bees that we sell

Honeybees and honeybee eggs on honeycomb
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