How to Install Your Own Nucleus of Bees


In today’s video, I’ll be sharing with you how to install your own nucleus of bees – a starter kit of bees that contains a queen, worker bees, brood, eggs, honey, and pollen. Plus, I’ll show you how to inspect your frames for eggs, larvae, and the queen, so you can keep your hive healthy and productive. Don’t miss out on this beekeeping tutorial!


0:00 DIY Beekeeping
1:47 Basics
5:59 Bartering Bees for Plants
7:29 Inspecting Hive
11:16 Join The Thrivers Community for Pt. 2


Hi everyone, my name is Lindsey. I’m here on the roof of the urban farm where we keep our beehives. Today I’m gonna be sharing with you a project inspiration about how to install your own nucleus of bees. So in the beekeeping world we call these boxes nukes and a nuke is five frames of a combination of a queen worker bees, brood, eggs, and then it also has their honey and their pollen and everything that they’ve started to do. So it is basically an essentially a starter kit of bees. We use nukes here on the farm to add to our hive population. This year I got more nukes than I normally would. I got four this year, two from one beekeeper and two from another. And the idea behind this is I want to have extra nukes and populations of bees so that when it comes time to take bees up to the bug out property, I’m able to either split hives or just take a whole box up there. A lot of times there are only certain periods of time in the year that you can get a nuke and that’s why it’s super important that we do this now that we cover all our bases so we’re not scurrying around to try to find bees later on in the season.

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What I have here is just a basic hive. This is a deep box. So we have deep and shallow boxes and then this is a base. So a base just has three sides and then your box will sit on top of it. And this gives you the opportunity to use one of these. And this is an entrance reducer and you can use it either like this where this is the only entrance or like this, you can use this as the entrance. I’m gonna be using this small entrance because this will reduce competition. So a lot of times when we start a new hive, they can be a little bit weaker. They’re still trying to get used to their surroundings. They’re not as strong as an established colony, so we want to give them a smaller area to protect. Bees will rob from one another, especially when they sense a weak hive.

So I had this issue a few months ago with one of my hives becoming really weak and the queen wasn’t reproducing enough so that hive was getting robbed by other bees. I used an entrance producer and some essential oils and things to try to just dissuade robber bees and it worked enough and I was able to combine it with another hive. But the population was severely dwindled. Bees will fight and kill each other for resources. So an entrance reducer is just a great way to give the bees in the hive less area they need to protect. So this just slides right under there.

You just let it sit on top. I have our hives sitting on cinder blocks. You can use something like this. I prefer to use wood pallets, but I didn’t have enough small pallets on me at the farm here. So I just used these cinder blocks and you can see inside the hive is completely empty right now besides this inbox feeder. And this is just a sugar water feeder that we use and you pour a sugar water into it and the bees can climb down this ladder. It allows them to have access to food without having to go out. And this is just a great way to get your bees established to show them that this is a nice place to live and just give them a little bit of a head start. This is something you can do during months that are, there’s a little bit less available food in their surrounding area or you can do this when they’re struggling. I also have some just empty frames that I cleaned up. And these are just gonna go in here because like I said, the nucleus of bees only comes with five frames and we still want a full box.

Another thing I’m gonna do is, oh, you can see he is, he already senses their sugar water. I’m just going to dab a little bit of sugar water on the frames. This just kind of entices them a little bit to like explore these frames and then they’ll be able to start drawing comb on them. I’m going to pour some sugar water in here. Try not to spill it. I’m not gonna do too much cause I don’t want them to become overreliant. And then they can produce, they can have just an uneven balance on your frames. So I’m just gonna do that much. And then when you are inserting your frames, you want to make sure that while you’re doing it, you’re taking a good look at your frames. We wanna make sure that we see eggs, we see larvae, we see brood, and that that we see the queen definitely.

So I was given these nukes by a local beekeeper friend and she was sweet enough to, I wasn’t able to get the amount I wanted from someone else. So she was sweet enough to basically make sure I had to, even though she was full for the season on orders. So one of these is going to be a tiny bit, she said there’s less bees in it. I’m gonna put that one in this hive, the one with less bees because I’m a little bit more worried about them struggling with robber bees. So they’re gonna go in this hive that’s separated from the other ones. Separating your hives doesn’t stop robber bees, of course they can fly but they’ll just be less in the vicinity and they’ll be away and it’ll just be easier for me to go back into this hive and check on them without interference from the other bees. So I’m just gonna double check and make sure this is the right box because I kind of lost track of them in the truck, which was which. Another really important thing to remember is that you want to put your frames in the same order. They are in this box. So I’m gonna find the front. This is the front, it has the little entrance hole. So if you were gonna leave these in here, if beekeepers pack them ahead of times, they’ll open up this hole so the bees can still do their thing, but I’m going to put them in entrance orientation to entrance orientation.

Gonna take off the lid, do a quick inspection to make sure the queen’s not in there. And then gently lift up the sides of each of these. They can get stuck a lot of times. Going to do a quick look. I see a queen cell, so I’m just gonna smush that. But on this one I see lots of brood, oh and you can see the queen. The queen is on this one. She has a red dot.

So I’m really pleased to see her right off the bat and I’m gonna put her in quickly just so there’s not too much disruption then they can focus on all finding her in there. So that’s great. That’s a great start. We have a queen, she looks good. There’s brood and she has a red dot flipping over again. Lots more. These will turn into baby bees, so that’s awesome. That’s what we want. Way more baby bees. You can see, I don’t know if you could see, but in the holes there’s larvae, they look like little white worms. So that’s great. That means we have different stages of bees. Okay, and I’m just gonna put this frame in. You wanna make sure that you, you put them in gently so you’re not harming the bees that you just put in. Okay, this frame is a tad empty. Make sure there’s nothing crazy going on over there. They have some honey. Okay, some more honey, some pollen. That looks good. Let’s see this one look.

Oh, this one is so heavy. So this one is packed with honey with capped honey. So that’s capped honey. And then over here, like in this middle portion where the bees are, you could see them drinking from it. That’s uncapped honey. So capped and uncapped honey. Okay. And then we just wanna make sure our frames are all evenly spaced out so we can have, so we make sure that our comb is drawn evenly And you will be able to fit less frames if you do an in hive feeder. So if you have an outside of the hive feeder, you can fit in more frames, but with this you can fit in eight and then the place of two is the frame feeder. Then you can see we have extra bees in here. So now that I know that the queen isn’t in here, I’m not as worried about these guys, they will find their way in. So I am just going to close this up. So this lid has a hole in it. So what I’m gonna do is just flip this box over.

And then the rest should kind of work their way in. And then in like 30 minutes when they settle down, I’m going to remove the box. If there’s still some left in there, I’ll just shake ’em on the ground and take the box away. I don’t want any of them still thinking like this box is their home. I want them all to kind of orient themselves into the hive and then they will all start to settle down and find their way into the hive and start figuring out where they are. So I’m just gonna put that off to the side. And then we will let this hive be for about 30 minutes to an hour and hopefully they will have settled down at that point. And then we can take this off, shake out any remaining bees and put the lid back on. And then we will leave this hive like this for about a week. Let them settle in and then we’ll do a weekly check-in.

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