Mid-February Nucs

I was asked when does one make nucs. A simple question with many answers depending on one’s perspective.

Mid-April is one answer and likely to be what the question’s intent was. It is when the hives in my area are full of brood, the nectar flow is underway and swarm cells are not yet as abundant as they will be in early May.

In May using swarm cells is a practical answer. Relocate swarm cells to a nuc box from hives that would rather reproduce than make honey. Crushing swarm cells seems wasteful.

Mid-June is a good answer. These nucs can be overwintered or used to boost hives that need a frame or two of brood.

Mid-July after honey harvest if hives are too strong and a brood break would help mite levels.

Anytime you can, would be the better answer. Nucs are a great resource!

When does one start making nucs is a better question? I start making nucs in February. April in my bee yard is a busy time. I need to be prepaired. February is the best month to build frames. Nuc production is a great way to add the new frames and foundation to existing hives. Frame rotation is a recognized best practice management tool.  While I am in the process of frame building, it is easy to prepare the nuc boxes. I use plywood five frame nucs that are easy to build and manage.

March brings me to the decision for queen purchase. In past years purchasing mated queens has been the normal. Last year for several reasons, this did not work, and I had my best results in many years. Beekeeping by Zoom has convinced me to change my spring process.

April is when the flood of beekeeping starts. I make nucs in April, May, June, and July. It is a lot of fun and the thrill of finding a new queen laying a textbook brood pattern is all the reward I need.