Re using old nuc box

Hello … new to bee keeping … our hive is very full … so to spilt the hive can I use the nuc box that we purchased Queen Bonnie and her fellow bees in … or will she want to leave her beautiful home to go back to the old nuc box … Thanks Mary

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You can do a split and put it in the previously used nuc with out a problem, but remember in Spring weather the nuc will soon be too small as the colony grows.

A welcome to the forum where you will find lots of reading and people to help with advise.

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you can definitely re-use the Nuc box. I have one that is 30 years old and must have housed many, many different colonies.

What type of split do you plan to do? there are many different way to go about it. If you do a ‘walk away’ split there is no chance of any bees going back- let alone the queen.

what @Peter48 said is absolutey right: I caught a swarm 3 weeks ago and put it in a Nuc. Just this afternoon I transferred the colony to an 8 frame box as the bees had built out the entire Nuc box and it was already crowded with bees with many in the lid clustering and every frame covered. All frames were covered in brood emerging or about to emerge. I expect at this rate in three weeks the 8 frame box will be full- and I will add a super to give them more space.


Thank you so much for the information … will reread and make decisions then have a go …

Thanks Peter48 … have read lots of your advice over the last days … thank you for sharing

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Thank you Semaphore … after tea will read the link … have to make a decision … as to which split we will do … again thank you

Is your nuc a timber one or another material?

Plastic like core flute board …

Ok. Maybe we should re ask some more experienced people.
The reason I asked was my bees came in a core flute box and the supplier emphasised that it was only temporary (1or 2 days max)

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I think the previous responses assumed it was ply or wood.

Ok … so yep plastic …

yep mine are wood- I have no experience with the coreflute plastic ones. I would have thought they’d be OK for a week or three if the weather is decent? but I don’t know.


So I think I transfer some of the full frames to the plastic nuc … and some empty… place fresh frames into the brood … keep the nuc for a couple of days than it will go up to a neighbour’s to eventually over the next week ? …be placed into her new brood box … I hope this is the way that I do it … feel a bit stupid cause have been filling confident up until last Sat when they did a huge beard and I got worried about what to do … we have taken 8.5kg of honey from the super and today the super frames are filling fast …

In that case, I would say it is fine as a temporary solution, but those boxes do tend to warp pretty quickly. So I would order a wood nuc box, and assemble and paint it ASAP after you have it. Then move the bees from the coreflute (plastic) box into the wood one. :blush:

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Ok I will thanks Dawn … ok this will sound really dumb … would it just be easier to put it into Jo and Daves new brood box and transfer that up the hill in a couple of days?

Not dumb at all. It would have been dumb not to ask about it! :blush:

I wouldn’t do that if this is a split from an established hive (not a swarm, in other words). Here are my reasons:

  1. You will only have 5 frames in a standard split, or maybe even only 4 if your hives donating the split are 8 frame boxes.
  2. An 8 or 10 frame brood box is a lot of space for 4 or 5 frames of bees to heat, cool and defend.
  3. Assuming you do a queenless split, it will be 3 or 4 weeks minimum before the new colony has a laying queen, unless you introduce a purchased, mated queen at the time of splitting.
  4. During that 3 or 4 week period, bees will be dying of natural causes, given that they only live about 6 weeks at this time of year. The population of the nucleus will drop relentlessly during that period. This will add further challenge for the colony to heat and defend the box, and a big box may be very detrimental for them. Sometimes it can even be necessary to give the nuc another frame of emerging brood if the new queen is slow to start.

Hope that helps. Please ask any more questions if you want clarification. :wink:


Thank you so much that really makes sense … I will work tomorrow than gather the gear and do a nuc box. Make sure it is strong and then we will transfer. So much to learn so … amazing things … love my bees … love that our place gives so much back to us …

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I guess the journey of bees that started for us in Jan 2018 … has been one of learning … thinking it will take a year to before needing to split … worries about drought … fun watching every afternoon the funny training flights … hoping they love the farm … believing that Queen Bonnie is the most amazing Queen ever … well she is our first … eating our first harvest … sharing with friends … freeking out when a beard grew … rejoicing in rain … loving that everywhere to walk you hear a bee … and then feeling so anxious about spliting a hive … thanks all for your comments . … In Appreciation … Mary and Steve


You are right Brad, I assumed it was made of ply or timber, but either way if it is still in reasonable condition a nuc box can re reused but a nuc box can only be regarded as a stop gap to a full sized hive in Spring with a growing colony.
I prefer to do my spits to full depth 8 frame hives as this time of year a nuc can be outgrown in a week with stores and brood.

The supplier was referring to the nuc box as temporary because of its size and not that it was made of corflute.

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I understand your excitement. Each Spring will be a busy time for you and your bees and in this time of year I wouldn’t consider even making up a nuc box, I do my splits into 8 frame full depth boxes. My thinking is that a healthy split will maybe need a reduced entrance to help defend the hive if robbing becomes an issue but that a full sized brood box will have frames drawn out and stores by the time a new queen is made.
Each Spring you will need to manage you hive by making at least one split but don’t be surprised if you have to do more. A bee hive is a saleable item or you can increase your own number of hives.
Doing your first split is daunting but the main thing is to know what you are going to do and keep it simple, work gently, and both you and the bees will survive :grin: