Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

My New Bees Are Here


The reverberating theme around here " Ask 2 bee-keepers a question and you will get 3 answers is now haunting me.
Today I drove 230 Km there to pick up my nuk. The arrangement was I bring my Brood box and transfer the frames from the nuk to it. The beekeeper spread the nuk frames evenly between empty frames. I said I want the NUK frames in the middle and my frames on the outside of them. THAT will not work. He asked where are my waxed frames. When I said my frames have the starter strip provided and I wanted the bees to build from this. THAT will not work was the stern reply.

Having lived the good life with my beautiful wife for more years than I can remember I agreed with him, shook his hand bid him farewell and now am going to do what I think is right.

In the morning I will put all the NUK frames (5) into the centre of the hive and put the the blank frames with the " Cedar starter strip" outside of them. 8 frames in a 8 frame Lang box evenly distributed.

What I did not appreciate was the side comment to his mates as I left, which went like " Why do I get all these looses thinking they can keep bees as a hobby, They will not do anything but kill my bees."

Well that’s not me. I an a 74 yr old retired engineer who, with all modesty, does not fail lightly.

I have a beautiful box of bees and I will do justice to them…in my way.

I am open to comment.


@busso Did you take pictures of the transfer??
You will need to feed the Bees, they need extra energy to build out the combs

1:1 Sugar to Water
Boil the water and stir the sugar in


You will get used to it…as a new beekeeper…more established beekeepers always want to help. They are not always up to date with new ideas and sometimes stuck in their ways BUT remember that what they do works for them…and what you do…you will find out for your self what works. That is why you get lots of conflicting advice.
I have found that it’s best to ignore the derogatory comments and only listen to the advice. That way you will have a big store of information…especially from beekeepers local to you and to your climate.


That sounds perfect to me. I think that the nucleus seller was a small-minded, over controlling ignoramus!

I agree with Valli - feed the bees until they have drawn out most of the comb, and as you may be nearing the end of nectar flow (don’t know about your area of the world, but I am assuming Australia for seasons), you may need to feed into the Autumn too. Australia has such variable climates and forage, you might want to consider asking some local advice on that, assuming you can find someone more constructive than the seller.

As you are an engineer, I am sure that you have read most of the posts on this forum, plus a lot of book info on beekeeping. Most engineers that I know are extremely thorough about everything. However, as we have the mind-set on this forum that there is no such thing as a stupid question, please ask any question that comes to mind, and we will try to give you a supportive and helpful answer! :wink:

Good luck with your bees, and please keep us updated. Meanwhile, I am blowing a long distance “raspberry” at the guy who sold you the nucleus. :smile:



Respectfully disagree with feeding them unless you bought a weak or sick nuc. If you bought a good nuc, one that was ready for sale and produced locally, then there should be stuff blooming for the bees to forage. Stored sugar winds up in the honey super; don’t ask me how I know :frowning: I’ve never fed a nuc.
If the nuc came with 5 drawn frames, the 2 outside ones are usually food frames, I would place an empty frame between the outer most frames and the brood nest or else you run the risk of them building cross comb. As they start building comb the right way, insert another empty between 2 drawn. Sometimes they’ll take a food frame and make it super fat instead of starting the comb next to it. Keep an eye on that.


Yes I think you have to balance things quite finely. Nucs do swarm and the usual reason is that the bees pile the sugar syrup into all the cells and the queen has nowhere to lay.
Give them a litre or two then let them get on with it.


While I totally see what @Red_Hot_Chilipepper is saying, my perspective is slightly different based on helping out some friends last year. This (2015) was their first year of keeping bees, ever…

They picked up 2 nucs late season - end of June, both 5 frames. They installed them in 10 frame Langs with 5 frames of wax foundation. The seller told them that the nucs were strong, no need to feed. In fact he told them that they may need another brood box very soon. They didn’t really know what they were doing, and they didn’t mention the bees to us until mid August. We offered to go and inspect the hives with them.

We were concerned with what we found. They had put another brood box on top of the nuc box. Some of the foundation was drawn, but there was no honey. The lower boxes both had some brood, with a decent pattern, scant pollen and very little honey. Most of the foundation was at least partially drawn, but a lot of it was empty comb. We immediately recommended feeding, but they had no feeders and didn’t want to go against their nuc seller’s advice. We recommended removing the second box, as the lower box had so much space. They didn’t do that. They started feeding (with Boardman entrance feeders, ugh) in late September.

By November, their hives were empty - they didn’t tell us until yesterday, so we didn’t get a chance to do a proper post-mortem. Either the bees absconded, or they died out from starvation or disease.

My point is, if you are starting a hive from a nuc late in your honey flow, or in a nectar dearth (drought counts too), you need to watch the brood box food levels very carefully. Great, if you are awash with honey and pollen, don’t feed. Personally, I consider starting a nuc in late June/July in the northern hemisphere, or late January in the southern is probably a precarious time. Your local beekeepers will know better than I, but I really hate to see bees starve. Just my experience, your mileage can and will vary! :blush:

All the best to all of our bees,



I think the BIG mistake was putting that extra brood box on.
I think that when you install a nuc you should be keeping an eye on how those frames are being drawn and on the bee’s natural income. A rule I try to follow is to give the bees as small a space as they need. Keep them cosy to draw that wax and go at their own pace.

If you are starting a really late nuc then you should give some consideration to overwintering it as one. This is where poly boxes are so so handy. I always have at least one nuc overwintered to give me a spare early queen if I need one.

I’m not blaming your friend, Dawn. they didn’t know any better


True, but they do now. Hopefully they listen more if they try again this year…



Hi Valli we are just coming into one of the most prolific flowering in SW West Aust We are adjacent to a state forest of Jarrah and Marri and the Marri which has just started will go for at least 2 months. The Marri has so much nectar (as kids we would grab a branch and lick the nectar from the flowers) I don’t think I will need to feed them. But will keep an eye on them.


The Nuc was extremely strong with all frames having about 80% brood or honey and full of bees. The keeper said that I would not get such a strong hive next time as he just didn’t have the time to weaken it down.


Weaken it? What a cheapskate. The stronger the better. :slight_smile:


Wow, your bees are REALLY lucky, you know what you are starting with, from nucleus to climate and forage. I have high hopes. Please tell us how it goes.



Hi Busso, I think your doing the right thing by keeping the brood together in the center with the empty frames on the outside. I hear that closing comment often (second hand). Mainly by one particular bloke. Blokes like that are everywhere. You must have struck one of them.

He must have the idea that your putting your bees right in the middle of a decent honey/pollen flow. If that was the case, checkerboarding the frames would be a good idea. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

He probably doesn’t think that foundationless frames are such a good idea.


A bit more than that Jeff, he said foundationless frames will not work and I will finish up with a mess of cross linked frames with comb going every which way.
And yes I am confident things will go well.


This morning at pretty well first light I went to open the hive and found bees crowding around the closed entrance. There seemed to be more and more arriving as I stood there contemplating what to do. Interestingly the bee out front had loads of pollen. . I must have put the roof on incorrectly as there quite a few bees in the top around the meshed hole.

I opened the entrance with the card I have but quickly closed it a bit more to help my bees better protect the entrance. Then it started to rain so I left.
On return it seemed a bit more orderly. However there were brief periods of lots of bees at the entrance. I was able to brush the bees from the top and put the roof on correctly. Started to rain so I left again.
I am going to leave the frames alone till we get back to summer weather. Yesterday was a very warm 35C ( 95 F) with the air con on all the way home to keep the bees cool. And yes the road on the back seat with their seat belt on and all nicely levelled. Today it is coolish and raining and tomorrow predicted to be the same.
Question. Would bees from a wild hive somewhere, bring pollen to the hive? Wow I can’t believe how quickly they found the hive.


Same here Busso, all the bees need is a straight comb to start with & you’ll be right, just make sure you keep the foundationless frames up tight.
The bees will build more drone comb with foundationless frames, which is not entirely ideal, especially if SHB is in your area.
If the bloke was trying to talk you into using wax foundation, I’d be inclined to agree with him. I’d send him a bouquet for that & a raspberry for his attitude:)

It would be interesting if someone set up 2 hives: One with all wax foundation & one with all starter strips just to see what the outcome is, say after 3 months. It wouldn’t be entirely accurate seeing as not any 2 colonies are going perform the same.


This I just picked.

E calophylla as I have always known it but there has been a name change to Corymbia calophylla. A great number of Eucalyptus’s have been re categorized just to make it hard for us.


To answer you question, no. They’ll take it back to their own hive. It’s your bees with the pollen. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the bees find pollen directly after a lot of rain.


Thanks Horsehillhoney I have learnt over the years to be a very good listener, taking the bits I think will work and filing the rest. I try never to dismiss anything I have been given as advice, first up.