Switching boxes

Okay I’m such a newbee I know this is probably a crazy question but I’ll ask anyway.

Wanting to know if it would be foolish to start out using only the top super as my brood box. Receiving my NUC in March and was thinking of putting it inside the super to start out with so I would have the side view window to somewhat look inside the box. I do understand that the frames from the NUC should go in the exact same order that they came out of the NUC and should go towards the center of the box.

What I’m wanting is to be able to view from the side window.

When it is time to add the flow frames I would simply move all the frames to a brood box and then add the flow frames to the super.

If this question has been asked and answered please direct me to where, if it is totally stupid please let me know why

Ultimately I would really like to add and in view window into the end not side of the brood box. I would need to find a good carpenter in order to do it properly. Have not found one yet.

@Martydallas G’day Marty, you will need to grow the Nuc to sufficient size that it is bursting with bees, Brood and feed them if they need it.

Generally feeding Nucs is to help provide energy to build the wax to fill the frames.

Over in the UK if you buy a Nuc you expect to have a laying queen, stores and plenty of bees to nurse, clean, build and forage and possibly a few drones to go and befriend Queens from other hives as required and die or lack of food they will be kicked out.

When there is insufficient room to lay needed Brood the Frames are switched to the new hive - in the same order as the queen will have established a 3D ball of Brood across the frames.

Adding new frames to the outside - this is the simplest method - other methods are for more experienced Beeks so get help if you Chequerboard etc but transferring to a full box is adding frames to the outer edge so the hive grows.

When you come to do the transfer have a more experienced beek observe and help you.

Once the bees have filled the new hive and are bursting and the bees are bringing in Pollen, Nectar and sufficient bees are doing all the jobs, then is the time to add the super - For you in good weather possibly June by the time you have built up the Nuc transferred to a full hive and built up numbers to get 2 full layers of brood on the go.

When the numbers are Double brood you may start to see honey coming in.

But then you need to remember to leave sufficient stores for winter.

In all Honesty the first year unless the is brilliant weather and stores coming in you wont get any honey.

I had an over wintered Nuc and a Nuc that was created last May - we had such bad weather here not only did I just spend the summer building up the hives - I had to feed them come the Autumn.

Beekeeping depends entirely on the weather

Certainly do appreciate the reply, but I’m not sure if my question got answered

The box that is built with a view window on the side for the flow frames, is there reasons why I could not use it as my Brood box to start out with?.

I do realize that when I get my NUC it will require a lot of feeding and will need to grow substantially before adding a potential another brood box or the flow frame on top.

So let me describe my steps that I believe I would need to take.

  1. Place my NUC in my box with the side observation window
  2. At such time when it is full of bees
  3. Move the bees i.e. all the drawn frame/brood to an empty box sitting side-by-side the existing box
  4. Let that be for a period of time
  5. Then add an additional brood box or the flow frame and box on top

I am just wanting to watch the bees from the view window

I know i should not open the box everyday to look inside. so I thought if I had the view window that may help my OCD :slightly_smiling:

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Sorry was not simple to answer - the window in the hive you have plenty of time to observe your bees.

If you use the viewing window to observe the bees - it should be fine just don’t leave it open or they will propolise it over to shut out the light.

To make the hive double brood - you may need to buy another brood/or medium box for brood ie double brood or brood and 1/2 (ie 1 Brood box and 1 Meduim brood/super box)

I have bought an extra Super box (medium) for my hives so I can have Brood and 1/2 - your weather is better so you could probably do double Brood.

If you use Double brood - you could use the Flow Box with the window for observation while you build up the numbers.

Is that what you meant?

Sorry it was long winded it was easier to take you through the whole process - there will be other newbees in the same situation - so explaining in full was intentional - hope you don’t mind

LOL LOL LOVE you, thank you so much, This was perfect

yes, I did get another Brood box. I will post my video later today. WOW!! it looks so good. I am so happy to be apart of all this.

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Have you ordered a Nuc or Ball of Bees? Now is the time to do it - come the season they may be harder to come by. Generally they may ask for a deposit, you may be asked to pay for the Nuc if it is wooden they are cheaper if they are cardboard and OK during the build up of bees but not for overwintering unless it is Polly.

Try to get bees bred locally as they will do better than queen reared down south and transporters to where you are. Mind you, you probably have bees breed by you as you are in a good local.

Go for naturally bred over inseminated as they will have a better diversity of genes

The down side is they need to be well mated - and inseminated bees are assured.

Which ever you take your chances but if they come in a Nuc the Queen should be laying.

A ball of bees is less certain you don’t know if she is laying and hopefully the hive don’t reject her. She may have had a load of bees shaken into the box and she needs to be accepted

I have a NUC coming the week of March 15. I have paid for it in full already. It’s coming from a well reputable beekeeping company in Austin Texas which is about 200 miles south of my home. The bees will be delivered in a group with a lot of other people receiving NUC’s to downtown Dallas where I will pick them up and take them to my house.

I will immediately transfer them to their new home.

I am getting everything ready at the house in preparation for that day :slight_smile:

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No this is where you need the brood to build up first.

You need to inspect the bees to:

  • Find the queen if possible
  • See what stores and Brood are
  • Only when they are bursting with Stores and Brood do you move to the new Hive

The Queen, mark her when you find her - They like to hide. She may come marked for you - Ask

Okay now I am really confused. I’ll need to do a lot more reading to fully understand

I’m replying before going to the website of where I’m getting maybes from to read so bear with me please.

The bees are coming in a box, a paper cardboard box, I think. I assumed and we know what that spells that the box would simply be that, with no entrance or exit’s therefore the bees would have to be transferred.

I know it is coming with a marked queen, brewed, pollen and hopefully some stored honey. It will come with a feeder frame as well. From what I thought I remember reading, the box would be full of bees and need to be transferred. I will do some more reading and reply unless there is some really clear indications from what I’m writing here of what I need to do differently.

I am certainly open to learning and understanding what I need to do

And everything I do will be as environmentally sound as possible without using any chemicals.

So the below is from their website, it appears that there suggesting I transfer the bees upon getting them home. Again a bit confused I may try to call them today

Have your hive ready to go before the nuc arrives. Be sure to have prepared sugar syrup for feed. The entrance of the hive should be reduced to a width of about an inch or two by stuffing grass or newspaper into the entrance slot. Do not close the entrance completely because the bees might smother. There is brood inside the nuc, (unlike a package) so the bees will need to thermoregulate the interior of the colony to 91-92 degrees Farenheit right after the introduction.
Remove 4 frames of foundation or combs from the hive body (you need to make room for four frames from the nuc). Put syrup in the feeder. Wear a hat and veil and light your smoker. Take the lid off of the nuc. Carefully place the 4 frames of brood, bees, and the queen into the hive body - one or two combs at a time. Be very careful to not smash the queen or leave her behind in the bottom or sides of the nuc box. The 4 frames of brood/bees should be no more than one comb away from the feeder if you are using an in-hive feeder.
If there are any bees left in the nuc, mist them with water or sugar water and bang them out of the box and into the hive. Close the hive.
In 3 days to one week, enlarge the entrance slightly (2-4 inches), add more feed, and check for eggs to make sure the queen was successfully transferred to the colony. The eggs look like a miniature grain of rice positioned vertically in the bottom of the cells. If you do not have any eggs please phone us immediately.

OK so the box they come in is not suitable:

You need to do as they said if there is no entrance from the box.

You would need to take the number of frames from the Hive you are setting up and replace with the frames from the Nuc - in the same order to maintain the Brood Ball - this way the nurse bees can feed and look after the brood when they emerge rather than then being spread about.

If there is and entrance in the box - go back to what I said about building up the numbers.

Do some reading on the life cycle of the bees this will help no end.

By understanding the brood cycle and what the bees are doing you will see all we are doing is providing for those needs.

Useful Places: Troll through here - lots of reading Website, forums etc

Michael Bush is on the forum, but this is his page here : http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

The design of the Flow super is for the flow frames. It’s not really designed for regular frames. The way the window on the end is it would not serve as a window with regular frames. It’s the flow frames that block access by the bees to the end. The flow frames are also designed to not be brood frames. The cells are too deep and too large in diameter. So you really need a regular box for the frames from your nuc. Different people sell nucs in different formats. Many have you bring your box and they transfer them to your box on site. That saves the cost of a cardboard nuc box. The cardboard won’t stand up to the weather, and if it’s a strong nuc, it will shortly need more room than that box anyway.

He can still used the side window to view though leaving the back Flow window sealed.

Sorry was thinking of the viewing window not the “Flow” window

Thank you Valli, did not know how to reply

since I am not using wax frames, (other than what come’s in the NUC) I should be able to see the BEE’s work.

Marty have you got plastic frames for the brood box? or are you letting them build their own foundation

other than what come’s in the Nuc, was planning on letting them build there own foundation

Hi Marty,

I agree with everything mentioned above, but I have a couple of things to add.

  1. I don’t see any reason not to use the Flow box, if you can fit 8 deep frames in there before you get your nuc. If you are going to run double deeps for brood (I imagine most in Texas do, as we do in southern California), then you have the possibility to transfer the frames to an empty deep later when they are busting out of the space, then put another non-Flow box of empty frames on top for them to move into, leaving your Flow box for honey collection when they are strong enough. When you start, only use one box, until it is bursting with bees, and all of the frames have drawn comb. If you give the bees too much space (a second box), they may have trouble defending it from pests and keeping the brood warm until they have built up their numbers.
  2. I know that Flow provide foundation-less frames, but my end frames will have foundation to discourage crazy wax cell patterns at the edge. This would block the side observation window. I am not sure that you can see much from the end window any way, but hey, whatever you want for your bees! :smile:
  3. I would transfer them the day you get home as the supplier recommends that, unless it is dark. Put the 4 frames in the middle of your box, and put 2 empty frames on each side of them. So if N is the nucleus frame, and E is a new empty frame, make it E E N N N N E E. For me, it will be F E N N N N E F, where F is a frame with foundation. Put them into the hive in the same left to right order that you took them out. This minimizes disruption to the bees. Do put the empty frames in from the start though, otherwise you will get creative (but undesirable) comb in all the big empty spaces.
  4. Newspaper and grass is a last resort to reduce the entrance size. Good entrance reducers are not expensive, and worth having. I use this one, which has both a 1/2 inch and a 2 inch opening - you choose which to use by rotating it:
  5. Choose a feeder and use it. A nuc will really need it - they have a lot of expanding to do, and a lot of wax to put down. They may not have a lot of foragers, depending on how the nuc was made. There is a lot of argument about feeders, many people like these:
    Personally, I use pails with a screened top, but if it looks like the syrup flow is too slow for the bees (the drinking area is quite small), then I will switch to the feeder above. The pails are here:
    To use the pail, you just put the inner cover on top of your first deep, with the nuc and empty frames, then invert the syrup-filled pail (with lid tightly in place) over the hole in the inner cover. I tape a square of #8 hardware cloth over the hole before putting the pail over it, so that when I change the syrup, the bees don’t waste time attacking me. Then you put a deep box on top of the inner cover (to give a big attic space for the pail to sit in) and put the roof over the whole thing. Sounds complicated, but it isn’t. It looks a bit like this if you take the roof off:
  6. The syrup you want to use is 1:1 granulated sugar to hot water. Let it cool before feeding the bees. Do not heat the water once you have added the sugar, as caramelized sugar can be problematic for bees.

OK, you probably knew all that. If you are still confused, or have some specific questions, please feel free to ask. We all love discussing bees, and when you ask a question, I get the chance to learn how other people do this stuff. Wonderful to have a great community! :grin: