Kutik's Honey Farm

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Making Nucs in South Carolina (2001)
For 2002, click here
(Click on the thumbnail to see the photograph. Some are large and will load slowly, but are worth the wait. Use the return button on your browser to come back. All images: Copyright 2001, by David Green; use without permission is theft.)

Are we ready to make nucs?
As soon as there is adequate pollen and nectar, and the hives are strong, we can "deliver."
Each good hive is like a pregnant cow, ready to give birth to a calf.
Extra feeding can sometimes cause the cow to produce twins.

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Tag alder is in bloom. That is a good sign that the bees will be ready. Alder is an important srping flower. The male blossom is on the left; female ones on the right. Wisteria, more showy than alder, is another good bee plant, a sign that a nectar flow is starting. The bees look ready. In fact we have got "bee power." Boxes that boil over with bees are the kind we want. They are also hauling pollen. Here a worker looks for a cell to dump the pollen, which is the protein for the bees' feed. A pallet of nuc boxes is ready to go. Nuc boxes only hold four or five frames instead of the normal ten, in a full sized hive.

  Getting Underway
Hives are opened and checked; frames of brood are shaken and placed above an excluder

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Dave checks frames of brood  for disease and to see how good the queen is from the brood pattern. An experienced eye will quickly judge the best course of action, whether to use the brood for nucs or to replace a failing queen. A very nice brood frame with only a few missing baby bees, shows that an excellent queen is present. High quality queens are one of the most important aspects of good bee management. Healthy bees will also pack away a lot of pollen in the spring. Note the variable colors. Most of the bees have been shaken off. A daub of honey is in the upper left Chuck is putting brood frames together in a box to go above a queen excluder. The bees have been shaken off, so the queen will not be included. The worker bees will come back up thru the excluder to cover the brood. Mama, the queen bee is laying eggs as fast as she can. She is surrounded by young bees that care for her every need. We seek to keep very high quality queens in all our own hives, and in nucs that we sell.

Moving them to their new location
Bees are creatures of habit. If the nucs are not moved,
many of the workers would fly back to the original location.

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Frames of brood, with adhering worker bees are put into nuc boxes, along with empty comb and a frame of honey to feed the nuc. The new queens are ready, in their battery box, all covered with attendant workers. Each queen is protected by the cage, so workers can feed them thru the mesh, but not hurt them. Piping* The queen, in her cage, is installed between two frames. In about three days, the bees will eat out the candy plug at the entrance of the cage. By that time she is familiar to them, and they will not hurt her. Barrett is loading the finished nucs onto a pallet to be moved into the shade. He is a young beekeeper, but he has already learned that gloves make you clumsy and can spread disease. Soon Chuck will move them to a new spot, which the flying bees will not recognize. Modern tools like the forklift make it possible to move large numbers of hives quickly to pollination or honey producing locations.

Three Weeks Later: Heading North

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Near the end of April, the nucs are checked for health and queenrightness. A good nectar flow is underway, and the bees are too busy to pay attention. The nucs are gathered for the trip north. The spray painted patterne are to aid flying bees to locate their own hive. Nucs are distributed in the loading yard, a helpful farmer's hayfield. They are still spread a bit,  so they can fly a couple more days. On the morning of the loading, they are palletized, so they can be loaded by forklift.

   The nucs become part of a tractor trailer load of bees headed back north in the spring. For a continuation of their story, see: Loading for the trip north

Would you like to purchase our nucs?

Other Bee Stuff:
*Hear the Piping of the Young Queens
Watch a short movie clip of dancing swarm scouts
   The dance is so fast that the bee is a blur! (Note: You must have software that can open MPG files)

All images: Copyright 2001-2012, by David Green; use without permission is theft.

Kutik's Honey Farm
285 Lyon Brook Rd. Norwich, NY  13815   607-336-4105, Fax: 607-336-4199
(February through May, we are usually in South Carolina 803-473-4205)

This page was last updated on February 4, 2012.