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Installing a nuc in a community garden


I’m going to be installing a nuc this Saturday in my Flow hive with probably 10-30 observers. How should I keep them safe?

These are the ideas I’ve come up with, and I’d love your feedback and suggestions

  1. Keep them a certain distance away from the hive
  2. Construct a mesh fence around the hive, forcing the bees to go up and over the mesh while allowing people to see in. Imagine this with the top cut out to allow the bees to escape.
  3. Give everyone a cheap mask


We installed a nucleus in a Community Garden last weekend, so I have some personal experience of this. Generally, I would discourage having an audience, unless you are very experienced, and extremely confident of the demeanor of the bees you are installing. It is just inviting potential problems. However, let’s say that you want to go ahead anyway.

Unless they are experienced or fully suited up, I would suggest at least 20 feet away. Also tell them not to swat! They usually will not get stung if they don’t swat. Bees may land on them and explore, but they usually won’t sting. Tell people to wear light colored clothing (including sock color etc) to minimize issues. New nucs will have a lot of bees orientating and also they just seem to be curious about the surroundings for at least a few days, so spectators can expect to have bees landing on them.

Looks decent. We built a vinyl galvanized wire mesh fence with garage door insect screen attached to it to enclose our apiary. I don’t have a good photo right now, I will have to pester my hubby for one later. It is 6 feet tall (local reg requirement), and 10 x 10’ around. We can grow plants up the mesh in due course. When we installed the bees though, there were thousands outside the mesh, orientating. They spent a good hour bumping into the mesh before they got the message and worked out how to get home again.

Excellent idea. I would also keep a first aid kit with a sting scraper (those fake offer credit cards you get in the mail work well), toothpaste (takes the acid out of the sting), tylenol/motrin/alleve and some antihistamine syrup, just in case somebody makes a big fuss about a sting. If they get stung, just get it out fast any way you can - squeezing the sac doesn’t matter, it has been studied - speed matters more than squeezing.

Good luck, have fun, get photos if you can and let us know how it goes!



There’s a link to video somewhere here of Michael Bush installing a package into a brood box. Everybody is suited up and there is a little person (a child?) in the line up who is standing rigid with hands firmly tucked into their sleeves. Looks terrified even suited,poor lamb. …So do take care.

Does that make sense?
Sorry, couldn’t resist.


Install your bees without an audience, have the interested parties come and inspect with you in a few days.


I bought a bunch of these for visitors:


Everything went super well! People wore little head nets, like the ones you recommended Michael, and the bees were mostly under control. I installed them two days ago, and they’ve already built 2/3 of a frame of comb. The queen has a textbook laying pattern.

I didn’t take many pictures, because that’s hard with a bee suit while handling bees, but a few others did, so pics might be coming soon.

Here’s a video of my bees navigating their tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LCiSiUdKA0


Great job, well done. Sounds like a great publicity and public relations event, you did well! :wink:


What size was the galvanized Wire Mesh that you used? What size were the openings? In all of the galvanized mesh I’ve seen - something like the welded stuff shown here: Wire Mesh - Belleville Wire Cloth the openings are large enough, and the wire small enough so that almost nothing could have trouble getting through it?

A photo would be greatly appreciated, because I just do not seen how they would be bumping into this fence for an HOUR! before they made it home.


Ah, but you didn’t notice the rest of what I wrote:

The mesh we used was this:

We suspended it from fencing T-posts with clips. The T-posts were 96" long

and are driven into the ground with a weighted fence post driver to an eventual height of 6 feet:

Then we suspended the garage door insect screen:
from the wire mesh with zip ties, using the grommets in the top of the screen, fixing it to the windward side and holding the bottom edge down with a really high tech method… bricks. :smile:

Here is a photo:


By the way, this barrier caused me more sleepless nights than any other aspect of putting bees in the Community Garden. I had to design something that could be removed if they hate the bees (you never know!). It had to have access, without the complexity of a gate. It had to be affordable but rugged. It probably took me 4 months to think it out, but perhaps I am a slow thinker! :smile:


We have a little community garden near where I live. I have been contemplating approaching them with the idea of having a bee hive. There is a back area where back stocked supplies(dirt compost etc) live and it would potentially be a very good place that is out of traffic zone to put a hive. I love this idea of the screen too. Ingenious.


That is exactly where this hive is. You can see the compost bins to the right of our enclosure. The closest one is empty at the moment.


ooh that is a super smart way to do the fencing!