The Nucleus Hive
The nucleus, otherwise known as a NUC, is a five frame honeybee hive in a box, with a queen, drone cells and worker bees, used for starting new colonies.
Our neighbors, Tom and Jennifer D’Asto just became beekeepers. Tom drove to Jim Fraser’s Brushy Mountain Bee Farm this morning to pick-up his NUC, which he purchased earlier this spring. He also purchased all of his bee supplies from Brushy Mountain as well. First thing was to fire-up the smoker, a right of passage for all beginner beekeepers, and which helps to provide a sense of security, being around flying and potentially stinging bees.
Now to gown-up for the mission at hand. Tom being Italian, purchased Italian honeybees. I suggested that if he spoke to them in Italian, it would better calm the bees, and establish authority over the hive, solidifying the hierarchical beekeeper and master role.
Please don’t tell Tom that the new fancy one-piece suit make him look like he is on a hazardous waste site, or even worse, looking like the Stay-Puff marshmallow mascot, or better yet, the Michelin Man.
The smoker is cooking. No bare skin exposed on Tom. With his uniform on, its game time!
The nucleus (beekeepers starting kit) is the white box on the top middle.
Tom stood back in awe, like Darren McGavin in the Christmas Story, looking at his fragile Italian leg lamp.
Making room by removing five frames in the bottom hive body, Tom begins the inspection and transfer of the bees to the hive.
Lots of healthy bees and capped cells ready to hatch.
These guys have a great work ethic, and want to get to work building the hive and taking advantage of the honey flow, flowering season!
So where is the queen?
Here she is. Mr. Jim Fraser was kind enough to mark her, with this year’s 2015 queen color being Carolina blue. Note the slightly longer body and more robust build of the queen.
Tom is giddy with the idea of beekeeping, and his introduction to establishment has gone flawlessly.
Just about done. Tom is using a strap to hold the hive in place to reduce the chance that any mammal predator might attempt to maul the hive for its honey, as they may venture up through his wooded stream valley and into the farm.
The exterior Mason Jar feeder is stocked with a blend of one part sugar to one part water, a syrup mix that provides a ready food supply for the new, but slightly stressed hive, as they begin to acclimate to their new digs.
Jim Chassion and I look forward to assisting Tom and Jennifer as bee mentors, and we look forward to sharing our supplies, such as hot knife and extractor when it comes time for gathering honey.
Attached as an MS Word document are my templates for making labels for my glass, one-pound honey jars. I use AVERY I.D. Labels, Model #6578 (2″ x 2 5/8″), with Avery Template 6572 for Microsoft Word. This particular type of label is plastic and not paper, and are smudge-proof, waterproof and washable. The only requirement is that you use a color laser printer.