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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cornell University Master Beekeeping Program and Nuc Boxes

Recently we inspected our beehive after a mild winter and to our delight we have healthy and strong hives.  So we decided to make Nuc boxes.

A nuc box, is a smaller version of a normal beehive, designed to hold fewer frames. It is smaller because it is intended to contain a smaller number of honeybees, and a smaller space makes it easier for the bees to control the temperature and humidity of the colony, which is vital for brood (offspring) rearing. A nuc is created by pulling two to five frames from an existing colony of bees. Let's just say it is a nursery for starting new hives and raising a new queen.

A nuc may or may not be given a queen at the time it is created. If the nuc does not contain a queen or queen-cell, but does contain eggs, the workers will create a new queen from one of the eggs. 

If the nuc is to be given a new queen, the queen will be introduced to the colony in her queen cage either at the time the nuc is split from the main colony, or after a period of queenlessness that increases the likelihood that the new queen will be accepted.  The queens cage is placed between the frames and contains sugar candy, which the worker bees will eat to release her.

Nucs are often used to prevent swarming in a larger colony, by removing frames with queen-cells from a larger colony and using them to provide the basis for a new colony. The removal of queen cells and reduction in population in the donor colony diminish the urge to swarm. 

 Inspecting the hive takes time and patience.  

 Healthy hives will contain brood, eggs, pollen, honey, worker bees, drones and a queen.

 In the middle you can just see a bee emerging out of its cell. 
We set up the hives in another locations away from the exciting colony.  We will check them in 10 days to see if the new queen has been excepted.

To further my education on being a beekeeper I attended Cornell University Master Beekeeping classes last weekend.  

Their was much discussion about what color to paint the Super boxes.  Because bees don't see the color red.  Their favorite color...violet!

 Their extracting equipment.

 Students learning how to start a smoker.

 Inspecting the hives.

 Looking for mites, American Foulbrood, how healthy is the hive, is the queen there and is she laying eggs.

Can you spot the queen?  She is the one with the long abdomen in the middle of the picture with her tail in the air.

 It was two long days of classes and I will be back in the fall.  So worth it!

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