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Why You Need a Nuc Box (or 10)

Updated: Apr 30

Yes you. You with dreams of doubling your hive numbers. You with dreams of raising your own queens. Yes, even you with one or two backyard hives and every intention of keeping it that way!

Here's Why

Nuc boxes are perfect for raising 'rogue' queens. We call any queen that is formed unintentionally (ie. we didn't graft it) a rogue. Collecting and raising rogues is a simple and inexpensive way to start raising your own queens. We hate to waste queen cells, so anytime we have a cell in a hive that we don't want there (supercedure or swarm cell), we stick it in a nuc box. We move that whole frame (which usually has lots of brood on it) plus one more brood frame and a honey frame* into the nuc box and let them build up over the summer.

*Make sure you always find your queen before moving any frames out of a hive!

If you're looking to grow

This is the cheapest DIY way to grow your apiary because it doesn't require buying bees or queens. Of course, you may also choose to make some splits and buy queens for them, but using nuc boxes to raise roque queens is a great strategy to keep on growing all summer long without any detriment to your other hives.

If you don't want to expand

Even if you aren't looking to expand your apiary, it's handy to have a nuc on hand. If you lose a queen, you can quickly combine your nuc to the queenless hive. Or, if they build up all summer, they can be moved into a full-size hive and allowed to overwinter to replace any losses the next spring. And if you have a successful winter, you might have a nuc to sell!

I will post a review of the different types of nuc boxes that we have experience with in the next few days. But for now, make sure you add a nuc set-up to your spring gear list!

Looking for more?

Looking for more beekeeping education? You can find my virtual, on-demand beginner and intermediate courses at

Or if you'd prefer a more tailored experience, you can join my mentorship group at

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