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Moved Nucs to New Location After Less than 24 in Previous

Hi folks

Hope you are all keeping well.

I received two nucs from a supplier on Monday, placed them in a retirement community (as they wanted bees in the area). Then the next day, I was asked if I could move the nucs to a different location within the grounds. The move was successful, I think! Had to place an empty nuc to help those that went back to the old location, then took them back to the new spot.

Branches were placed at the entrance to the nucs to help with reorientation. How long do you think I should leave the branches in front of the entrance before removing them? And how long do I wait before transferring them into an actual hive?

Thanks a bunch!

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Hi Brian, I believe the branches only need to stay for the first day. The foraging bees should have orientated on that day due to the branches.
The nuc frames should be heavily populated say 80% coverage before moving into a new brood box.
In our location they expand so rapidly in the warmer months that we tend to start them straight off in an 8 frame box.
Good luck.


@Gaz, thanks for your response. In that case I’ll remove the branches this afternoon. I haven’t yet opened up the nucs but I might do that when there this afternoon :+1:

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Give the nuc at least a few days before you open it up, the least you disrupt the nuc the better it is for the bees.
@Gaz has given you great advice. I don’t use nuc boxes, the bees out grown them so quickly I start them off in a full 8 frame brood box. Monitor the nucs and have a full brood box on standby, if they out grown the nuc box the bees might decide to abscond to a more roomy location.
Cheers Brian

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So here’s an update: when I moved them, I closed them up for around 24hrs, then let them out with the branches at the entrances. By evening, there were a few bees flying around the old location. I put an empty box the collect them and placed them in the new location.

This afternoon, though, I transferred the bees into the brood boxes as the nucs seemed to be quite full already. Fed them 1:1 sugar syrup and intend to leave them undisturbed for around 7-10 days.

As of this evening, I received a call that there were still around 50-60 bees flying around the old spot. At this point I am tempted to accept this as collateral damage from the move as 90% of the bees are oriented to the new location :sweat:

Further thoughts are welcome.

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You might find the bees at the old location will find the nucs and be welcomed in so there will be less at the old location.
You have done everything right Brian except for locking the bees in for 24 hours. When I move a hive in my apiary I just add foliage cluttering the entrance minimizing the disturbance to the colony.