&   SEARCH
David A. Cushman logo
Making up a Nucleus

Some useful tips

A nucleus is a very important part of an apiary and I encourage all beekeepers to make good use of them. The use of an existing nuc, or the making of a new one, can often overcome problems with honey producing colonies.

There are probably more things that can go wrong with a nuc than a full colony, but don't let that put you off. Many of the problems are avoidable and the more experienced the beekeeper gets, the less problems they will have.

Making a nucleus.

In making a nucleus we must understand three things......

  1. Bees from two colonies will often fight, but those from three or more won't.
  2. If a nuc is made up and kept in the same apiary the flying bees will usually go back to their original site, possibly leaving the nuc short of bees to look after the brood. The usual method is to ensure that many of the adult bees haven't flown before.
  3. The normal rules of queen or queencell introduction apply.

On a personal level there is a fourth thing you need to understand. Even after over 50 years of beekeeping I still enjoy making up nucs, seeing them develop and using them for a number of reasons. I hope you will too. I think you will also learn a lot, probably more than by observing full colonies.

We should see that the nucleus has the means to survive and prosper by ensuring...

A nucleus can easily be made by either splitting a single colony, or by taking bees and/or frames from several colonies, and giving it either a queen in a cage or queen cell.

This page has been created for general guidance. For more detailed methods of making a nucleus use the buttons at the top left.

Roger Patterson.