How to Install a nuc.

How to install a nuc

I. Picking up the NUC

A.  After picking up the NUC please take it to the location that you are going to install it. Do not stop or leave the NUC shut up in your vehicle as your bees can over heat and die. If you are traveling for a long distance, ensure that the nuc has adequate air flow (turn your AC to low if necessary).

B.  After arriving at the location where your hive is going to be located, place the nuc on a bottom board and your hive cover on the top of the nuc box to protect it from the elements. Open the front opening of the NUC boxes to allow the bees to exit the box.

C.  Leave the Nuc undisturbed for at least 30 minutes to an hour to allow them time to settle down after their trip.

II. When to Install the NUC

A.  When installing a NUC the Weather conditions is very important. Typically, you would wait until the outside temperature is at least 60 degrees and is not raining before installing the NUC.

B.  However, because we live in Washington State if it is wet and the temperature has not reached 60 degrees you can still install the NUC if you follow these precautions.

1.  If the temperature is below is above 50 but below 60 you can still install the NUC if you quickly remove and place the frames from the NUC box into the deep hive body.

2.  If it is raining you can use a temporary shelter or a large umbrella to install the NUC, again quickly remove and place the frames from the NUC box into the deep hive body.


III.  Install the NUC


A.  Remove the NUC from the bottom board and place the empty deep brood box on the bottom board placing the NUC as close as possible to the deep brood box to prevent bees from dropping on the ground during installation.


B.  Before installing the NUC, place two empty deep frames on each side of the deep brood box. Open the lid of the NUC lightly smoking it. Afterward shake the bees on the lid into the box.


C.  Starting from the one side of the NUC SLOWLY REMOVE the outside frame to prevent from rolling the queen or other bees. Place the first frame on the left side of the brood box keeping the frames in the same position that you remove them from.


D.  As you install the frames check for queen cell/s. If you see queen cell/s please do not remove before finding the queen. If you do not find the queen leave the queen cell/s but if you find her remove the queen cell/s at this time.

E.  Once you have place your last Nuc frame in the deep brood box gently slide the two empty frames on the right side of the box against the nuc frame. Try not to squish any bees and definitely not the queen.




F.  Place the last empty frame in the outside of the deep brood box slowly pushing all the other frames together and put the inner cover of the deep box.


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H.  Place your second empty Deep Brood box on top of the inner cover.

IV.   Feed the Bees



A.   Place your feeder over the hole in the inner cover and add your sugar water. If you do not have this type of feeder, it is important that you find a feeder to feed your bees. Whatever you decide to use, you need to feed, feed, and feed.




B.   Check the feeder but do move the frames for 7 to 10 days as the bees need this time to adjust to and build comb for their new home. Continue feeding until the first deep brood box has about 80 percent drawn comb with bees. After which time add the second deep brood box until it has 80 percent drawn comb covered with bees.

Congratulation you have just installed a nuc. Now it's time to become a Beekeeper, please take care of your bees.

18 Responses

  1. Cheryl

    How do I do this in the Long Langstroth hive? I have to admit I am a little nervous because everything I’ve learned from books and classes is geared toward the regular Langstroth boxes. I’m not exactly sure how to adapt.

    • Alan Woods

      Your box is like other long langstroth and can be used in the same way. When I deliver your box I will show you how. Plus if you are not sure about the long langstroth I still have regular hives, call me.

  2. Rick M.

    Hi Alan,
    Will the queen come in a small cage or will she be loose?

    • Alan Woods

      The Queens will be lose and laying. That is the great thing about nucs

  3. Dawn

    I have a lot of honey frames left over from my hives that died last winter. Everything is on medium frames. Can I just set a full medium box of honey frames on top of the deep to feed them (I am certain they did not die from chalk brood)? And then when they’ve drawn 80% of the deep, can I add another medium between the deep and the honey stores? Or I could pull a few honey frames from the middle and replace with brood frames to increase space.

    • Alan Woods

      Yes you can, in fact the bees will actually clean the mold from your frames as well

  4. Tom Fafard

    I am a new-bee (pun intended) but tend to lean more towards the Top Bar hive. Am I better off just getting your newbie kit instead? I am in Toutle and like the fact you are so close.

    • Alan Woods

      If you like the top bar hives we have a long Langstroth which gives you all the benefits of both the top bar and Langstroth hives without the lifting. To see one please go to

  5. dan.zman.1959

    I have a hive that died it was in its 5 th year and it has 10 deep frames full of honey and many others that are partial can I just put them in the new hives or what to do?

    • Alan Woods

      Sorry to hear that Dan. I would like to ask how old are the frames in the hive. I hope that they are not five years old. I would suggest changing out your frames at least once every three years. Yes you can reuse those frames if they are not too old or the wax is too dark, mixing them with the new frames to build new wax. However, I would not depose of the old one because they make the best frames for swarm traps.

  6. dan.zman.1959

    What are the benefits of the long Langstroth hive compared to the Langstroth hive stacking method?

    • Alan Woods

      The reason the long Langstroth hive is growing in popularity is because of the ease of use. There is very little of no lifting required to maintain these hives. In fact I’ve put hinges on some of the supers so that a person can simply tilt it on its side with little effort. However I would also argue that it is like a top hive but with the ability to spin the frames.

  7. Randy Johnson

    Alan –
    I’m getting a nuc from you guys this year (and REALLY looking forward to it….) are your queens normally marked ?
    This nuc will be the basis of a rebuilding year for me, as we were nearly cleaned out by yellow jackets this past summer /fall. As I’ll be pushing these bees to make splits, when do you anticipate mated queens to be available in 2020 (realizing it is VERY weather dependent…) ?

    Do you have any ‘regular’ hours for a shop visit ? I’d be coming from Tacoma, and dont want to intrude.
    Thanks !

    • Alan Woods

      The queens in the NUCs are not marked. We are trying to get early queens but will not know until further into the spring season. Our winter hours are Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12-5PM or by appointment. If these don’t work then just give us a call and we can schedule a time for you to visit, we never mind intrusions but just want to plan.

  8. Nate buske

    I am wondering if when I get my nuc should I feed pollen patties as well as sugar water?

    • Alan Woods

      If the bees are bringing in large mounts of Pollen I would not. The sugar syrup is only to help them make wax.

  9. david wilson

    my first time bee keeping ,transfered bees from nuc to hive, looked carefully did not locate queen. did i miss her or could she be missing. Not sure what to do.

  10. Theresa

    Hi Allen,
    I bought 3 NUCs and when I installed them the frames seemed very full already.should I put another box with frames on the top ?

    This is my first time and would love to take the next classes offered
    Thank you