Why overwinter nucs?

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


New Bee
Jul 6, 2009
Reaction score
Isle of Mull
Hive Type
Number of Hives
There is much chat at the moment about overwintering nucs and types of nuc boxes.

Why does overwintering of nucs happen? Where are these nucs coming from at this time or how are they created? I thought any weak colony should be combined with another.

You can probably tell I am a real newbie!
Nucs are backup if you lose a colony or have a colony come through winter queenless.
They are also like gold dust in April and if you have any extra they will sell very quickly.
At the moment I am making nucs from any queen cells or supersedure cells which appear in my better colonies. You only need a frame or two of bees with the queen cell, and some decent weather a fortnight after the cell hatches.
Jon, I understand that in early - mid season, but are queen cells being developed Aug/sept and how do they have time to build up to survive the winter?
I am still finding queen cells and supersedure cells in some of my colonies although it has definitely slowed down.
It was easier a few weeks back.

If/when the queen gets mated, I add emerging brood from a strong colony to build up the nuc.
A 5 frame nuc overwinters well.
If/when the queen gets mated, I add emerging brood from a strong colony to build up the nuc.
A 5 frame nuc overwinters well.

So, if in August/Sept you find a queen cell developing, what is the process from then on?
In the first place, only use queen cells from good queens.
If you get one of these, lift out the frame with adhering bees and place it in a nuc.
In an ideal world you would move it 3 miles away so that flyers can't return to the parent colony.
Make sure to feed as nucs can starve quickly.
When the queen cell hatches, just leave it alone and check for eggs after a fortnight if the weather has been good enough for mating flights.
When you find eggs, give the nuc a frame of emerging brood to help it build up quickly.
Thanks Jon. There is so much fascinating stuff to learn regarding looking after the wee beasties.

Had a bit of a moment 2 days ago. Going through my one and only slowly expanding nuc, a little darling managed to pay me a very personal visit by getting inside my veil!! Not sure what to do with this little beastie trapped and crawling around in front of my face. Having stood absolutely motionles for what seemed ages rather aware that my eyes were in very close proximity to beastie, I realised that I had to do something! So slowly tried to get smock off - everything including my glasses got totally fangled up. Eventually did manage but poor wee beastie got stuck on my very bald head and left me with a deserved bump.

It should have been videoed - much laughter from all round. But still have no idea how she managed to get in.
I realised that I had to do something!

You turn towards the light and she will almost certainly try to get out through the veil.


Dead anyway after stinging you? Might as well be dead before!

Regards, RAB

Latest posts