5-Frame Nucs

Nuc is short for nucleus, the heart of a honeybee hive.  

Our 5 frame nucs come in a super convenient reusable plastic pro-nuc box.

Each nuc includes 3-4 frames of brood in different stages of larvae with bees to cover, a frame of honey/pollen to feed the newly hatched bees; and a new Saskartaz queen with a proven good laying pattern OR (upon request and pending availability) an overwintered Rushing River queen.

Pickup will take place in May, but the exact pickup date may vary depending on weather and queen availability.

We have our apiary inspected by the provincial bee inspector each year for mites, hive health, etc. We are very proactive in our treatment of mites, especially using oxalic acid (a natural treatment). Your nuc will be clean of mites or extremely low and have no brood diseases.  It is important, however, to learn about diseases and mites and learn how to monitor and treat them yourselves.

We will also be offering an introductory course to new beekeepers (Date/Location TBD).  If you are one of the “2021 Backyard Beekeeper Cohort” then this course is free. Space for additional participants is limited so register early.

If required, an overview of how to install a nuc will be provided when you pick up, and we will be happy to answer your other bee questions as best as possible.

Queens

Depending on availability, you can select either an overwintered Rushing River queen, or a new Saskatraz (imported) queen.

Rushing River Queens: Our locally-raised queen bees are bred from our best honey producers and survival stock. The current year’s queens are not available until later in the season due to our weather patterns, so if you choose a local queen, it will be one from the previous season.  Our stock originated as Carnolians from New Zealand.  We introduced Saskatraz queens to diversify and improve on the traits we look for in rearing our own queens.We select hives for our breeding program that show strong traits for: overwintering, honey production, mite tolerance, and resistance to brood diseases. Our breeding program starts in May and runs all the way through to the end of August.Our focus is on rearing queens to create a sustainable apiary but when we have surplus queens, we do make them available for sale.  If you’re in a pinch you can reach out at any time and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Saskatraz queens: The Saskatraz project was initiated in 2004 with the intent of establishing a genetically diverse gene pool to breed for honey production, mite tolerance and resistance to brood diseases. Breeding for mite tolerance was approached by using natural selection, without using any synthetic chemical miticides. Considered by many to be ultimate bee for northern climates they show the following strengths: excellent honey production, good wintering ability, increased varroa tolerance and resistance to brood diseases, increased hygienic behavior. For more information, please visit their website

Picking up your Nuc

All nucs must be picked up in person or by arrangement for delivery.  Once the nucs are picked up they become your responsibility. There is a deposit on the pro-nuc box of $25 which is refundable upon return. It is no problem at all if you want to keep it, as they come in handy throughout the bee season.

We’ll be in touch with you as to pickup times and location as the time draws near. This is generally the second weekend of May but it can vary by up to two weeks depending on weather. When you pick up your nuc we’ll provide an overview of how the pronuc box works, transporting them, and how to move frames into their new home.

Transporting your Nuc

A pickup truck is best with something to wedge beside the pro-nuc box so it stays put. These pro-nucs do seal very nice and tight and we add a strip of duct tape to seal the entrance, but there are little concave areas around the hive entrance where a bee may not have gone inside the hive and it’s hard to see up into those tiny corners. Bees can even be on the bottom of the box. We will do our best to get the bees into their box before closing the entrance but it’s not a guarantee each and every one are inside the box. If you don’t have a pickup truck, yes the nuc can ride in the trunk or in the floorboard of the car. There’s a chance you’ll have a bee flying in your car. Turn on the air conditioner full blast, keep a tiny opening in the window and any stray honeybee will generally sit still.

You must take the honeybee nuc home carefully so it won’t shift and jar while traveling and stress or even kill the bees. If your travel is over 30 minutes, then there needs to be some airflow to the nuc.  Don’t leave them in the trunk of the car overnight, they’ll likely be dead in the morning. Ideally you will be able to put them in their new home fairly quickly but if not then the entrance must be opened before the next morning so foragers can forage or they could get overheated in the nuc and die. These nucs are full! If you have to open the pro-nuc up for any reason, don’t close it until after the sun goes down that night, otherwise you’ll lose the foragers.

When you move the frames into the hive body they must be moved carefully and straight up so that the frame doesn’t roll into the side of the neighboring frames and kill bees.  Do not go looking for the queen while transferring the frames to your hive body and further stress the bees.

Installing your Nuc

Allow time for the hive to settle after transport. If you picked up the hive in the evening than install should take place the next day.  Keep the nuc in a shady spot out of the wind.

The process is pretty simple for installation.  Essentially you are taking a mini hive and placing it in a full-sized hive box.

  • Remove about six of the frames from the full -ized hive box so you have some space for the frames you will pull from the pro-nuc.

  • The frames you remove should be from the center of the box. Bees generally “work out” from the center frames to those on the outside. You will be inserting a fully established colony, so will make sure these go into the center of the box.

  • Even though the colony is established, it is still numerically small. So be sure to install an entrance reducer for a while. This will keep the hive a little warmer as well as give the colony a chance to repel robbers while it is still a young colony

  • Light your peacemaker (smoker) and ensure the smoke is cool to the arm

  • Make sure your nuc is placed alongside the beehive, remove the pro-nuc top cover and give the nuc a quick pass over with your smoker, just to calm down your bees.

  • Starting with one of the outer frames in the nuc, gently lift it up. Keep it over the nuc as much as possible and gently move it over the top of the beehive. Insert the frame, adjacent to one of the empty frames left in the hive

  • While making sure the frames remain in the same order, move over the remaining frames from the pronuc

  • At the end of this process, all the frames from the pronuc will be in the beehive. Add in however many frames you need to ensure the full count (8 or 10 frames, depending on your box size). For example, if this is a 10 frame box, you have a 5 frame nuc and you had removed 6 from the box, you will need to add just one back to bring it back to 10 frames.

  • Center the frames and ensure they are tight against each other

  • Gently smoke the bees so they move down into their new home and place a pollen patty(if you have one) on top of the frames right over the brood.  

  • Place the inner cover (entrance closed) and then outer cover on.

Feeding:  Although the colony is established and has some honey reserves, we recommend feeding a 1:1 sugar syrup as well as a pollen patty to stimulate brood production and to help with drawing out the frames. This should be added before you close up your new hive.

NOW, LEAVE THEM ALONE! Although tempting beyond belief It is important to not disturb the hive for at least 5-7 days. This allows them to settle in and establish pheromone levels as well as get used to their new surroundings. If you open the hive too soon there’s a chance they could kill the queen or the hive could abscond. Keep it to observing the landing board to ensure they are flying and foraging for the first week or so.

After 7 days you are ready for your first inspection.  This should be fairly minimal disturbance to the hive to ensure at this point that the queen is laying and check to see if the foragers are bringing in stores.  This is also a good time to fill up the syrup and give another patty if needed.

Refunds and the RnR Guarantee

When you order a nuc of honeybees from us we are working to hard build the best possible nucs for you and we guarantee that all nucs will be healthy and full of bees upon customer pickup; however, because of different apicultural techniques we cannot guarantee the survival or productivity of the hive that you may establish from the nuc. By placing the order with Rushing River Apiary, each customer agrees that you will not attempt to hold Rushing River Apiaries responsible for whatever may happen to your nuc after it has been picked up by the customer.

We aim to provide the strongest and healthiest nucs possible and provide the highest quality guarantee on each honeybee nuc when you pick them up. If not completely satisfied with the nuc at the time of pick up, the customer does not have to accept the nuc, and they can have a complete refund of their purchase price. The customer must accept the nuc OR the complete refund; we cannot allow anyone to have a complete refund AND keep the nuc(s). The highest quality guarantee ends when the customer leaves with the honeybee nuc(s); anything that happens with the bees after that time is totally the customer's responsibility.

If you change your mind about the nuc before May 1st then your full deposit will be refunded. If you change your mind at the last minute, on or after May 1st, we will only give a refund providing there’s someone else who will buy it. Generally, we have a waiting list and that’s not a problem, but it’s not a guarantee.

Please contact us at rushingriverapiaries@gmail.com if you have any questions.