Nucleus Hives and Heat
Don’t wait. Install the nucleus hive colony as soon as you get them home. Nucleus hives are fully functioning small hives. They do not like to be cooped up when the weather is warm enough for them to fly. Cooped up bees can easily overheat and die.
If you have to travel with the Nucleus Hive:
- Plan to travel early in the day, when the bees are still calm.
- Keep the car air conditioner on low temperature, and keep the nucleus hive out of sunlight.
- If you have a cold pack, place it next to the hive if it starts to feel warm.
Installing the Nucleus Hive Bees:
Have your target hive ready to receive the bees. The hive will need feeding with sugar water (1 part sugar to 1 part water, or thicker.) and a pollen patty. Make sure your hive has a feeder installed and that it is filled.
Have a spray bottle of sugar water or smoker ready.
Open the nucleus hive by removing the lid with your hive tool and lightly spray the nucleus hive bees with sugar water or lightly smoke them. Carefully transfer the combs from the nucleus hive into the centre of you hive box, keeping the combs in the same order as in the nucleus hive. Remember, the Queen is on one of these combs, so be slow and gentle to avoid accidently squashing her. (To reduce the chance of squashing the queen, some people remove the combs in groups of two. Fill out any empty frame slots in your hive so it has a full complement of frames.
After a couple of days, check the hive feeder and refill as needed.
You can delay your installation for a couple of days if you do as follows:
Place your nucleus hive on top of your target hive box, so they orient to the hive location. Immediately open the front door (sometimes it is just a round yellow plug) to allow the bees to fly. If you do not open the door, the bees will either starve or overheat or both. Make sure the bees have food. When you do the installation into your target hive, wait until evening or early morning, so all the bees are “home.” Then follow the above installation instructions.