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Nuc box with bees in it still


Hi everyone! I left my nuc boxes out for a day after transferring my bees to their hives and one of the nuc boxes has a bunch of bees in it!! I removed the empty nuc box but left the one with bees…Any ideas why this might be? Suggestions on what to do??



I’m guessing the queen is still in there? This might be a silly question…but if she’s been in the nuc box for 1 1/2 days can she still go into the hive or are they already getting a new queen ready?


Hi Jamie,
Your bees are confused, you need to open the hive where the rest of their family are residing and knock them into the top of the box, any stragglers just sweep them off the Nuc into the front of the hive, they will smell the colony and will walk inside. Then take the Nuc box far away to remove the smell.


I think you’re right Jamie, the queen is probably in the cluster. Just remove the lid of the hive & sit the nuc box upside down over it until all of the bees move down.

They could be making early preparations for a new queen, however they should cancel the idea once the queen moves down. Have a look in a weeks time, to be sure.


I had a similar issue the other week and found her on the bottom of the hive. Fortunately for me she simply walked onto my hand and I was able to direct her onto a brood frame… it will probably never happen again in my lifetime… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Hi Jamie, The rest have given you good information and when you have the stragglers safely in the hive move the empty nuc box right away so there is no lingering scent to confuse the bees when they are outside the hive.


Rod, I had the same thing happen when I did the cutout that started this whole crazy adventure of mine! I was starting to despair because I hadn’t seen the queen when she simply walked onto my hand and I put her straight into the box. It was like a miracle to me!


Good morning!

Thank you guys so much for responding! I’m going out there now :slight_smile: Great advice.

@Rodderick - I could only be so lucky for this to happen for me with the queen haha. Great pic…thanks for sharing!


Follows up -

All is well. I got them all out of the nuc box and removed it. They went back to business as usual. I tried to find the queen and did not see her. I am going to wait a few days and open their hive and see whats going on with the frames. I’ll take photos.

Thanks again everyone for your help. This bee stuff is absolutely fascinating to me. Every question that I look up in my books or google I am amazed at what I read.



Its a pretty cool thing to happen right? Usually she can’t get away fast enough.


Give them at least 3 days so that they can settle into their new home and the cent of the hive and the queen to get strong. It would be a good help to the colony if you gave then a 50/50 mix of water and white sugar in a bee feeder to help them make comb for a couple of weeks, it will also boost the hive along.
You have now started to become a bee keeper, use the forum for advise and tips, no question is stupid if you don;t know the answer to it, we all began learning and there is always even more to learn, lots of fun learning along the way.


@Peter48 thank you! I’ll look into getting a bee feeder. I was getting mixed reviews on feeding the bees. Some keepers seem to be totally against it…while other have encouraged it in the beginning for the reasons you mentioned!