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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Bawden

What makes our Nucs so great?

Updated: Feb 7

We have Wisconsin nucs born and bred in Wisconsin and sold only in Wisconsin. Why is this important? We are unique here at Lloyd St. Bees due to the fact that our bees do not leave Wisconsin. That means that our bees stay in Wisconsin 365 days a year. When bees don’t travel, this reduces the amount of new viruses and parasites being brought into the

Honey Bees in Wisconsin winter
Inspecting our nucs after a long WI winter outside

apiary and also allows the bees to adapt and reach a level of homeostasis with their environment. Our queens/nucs are born and mated in our Wisconsin yards, which allows us to manage our nucs process from beginning to end. When you pick up your nuc from us, we will go through them frame by frame with you if you like. We want you to be comfortable with your purchase and understand what your buying. We suggest feeding your nuc a few gallons of syrup and pollen substitute in the spring even if you do have honey frames and pollen available. Feeding is the most important part of the equation. Remember this:

  • Syrup = drawn frames

  • Pollen = more bees

How long will it take for my nuc to build up? Nuc build up is dependent on three things: resources, population and temperature. Resources- Your nuc will need help getting up to speed. They don’t have a strong foraging force yet so giving them resources will help dramatically. This means feeding sugar syrup and pollen. Syrup will be especially useful if you are putting this nuc into new undrawn frames. It takes A LOT of resources for the bees to draw wax. That means feeding your nuc gallons of syrup, not just a pint or quart. You also need to be consistent. That means that when your colony runs out of syrup, you fill it up right away. Don’t forget the pollen patties either. Remember that pollen creates healthier bees and allows increased brood production due to the protein content. Your colonies cannot survive on the forage in your backyard; they need acres of resources to build a strong colony!

honey bee nuc
What to expect when you open your nuc box

Population- Every time a full frame of capped brood emerges, that is about 2# of bees or two frames of bees. In order for the bees to draw more frames, they need a high enough population to extend forward. Also, while the queen has the capacity to lay 1,200-2,000 eggs a day, your queen will not reach full potential until your colony reaches ten seams of bees. Temperature-If the temperature is below 50 degrees, the bees will stop taking feed because their bodies cannot handle the cooling affect the cold syrup has on them. Bees will also struggle to draw wax at this temperature, even if they are in desperate need of it. The last issue temperature creates is that the cluster contracts in size when ambient temperature drops below 55 degrees. This focuses the bees energy on staying warm instead of other tasks. The tightening of the cluster also reduces the amount of brood that can be produced.

Overwintered nucs vs Spring nucs We sell a limited amount of overwintered nucs that are survivors from the previous year. These nucs are ideal for individuals who want to add colonies to their apiary that would be used for mating queens, honey production and making splits. If you intend on

Local VSH spring nuc in WI
Eve showing off a frame from one of the spring nucs

purchasing one of these, we recommend you have access to drawn frames because these colonies will swarm if they aren’t allowed space to grow rapidly. These queens are survivors and make a great addition to your apiary stock. Spring nucs are sold in June (weather dependent) till the end of July. These nucs contain a queen and brood that has been raised in the current year. Not only will they be easier to manage due to a lower swarming tendency, but they will lay longer going into fall because of the young age and vitality of the queen. These are great nucs for individuals just getting into bees, making up for winter loses or those looking to expand their apiary rapidly.

What will your nuc look like? You should expect to see the following in your 5 frame deep nuc from us:

  • Three frames of brood and bees at various stages (eggs, larvae and capped)

  • One frame of feed (honey, syrup, pollen)

  • One miscellaneous frame (sugar frame, drawn frame, brood, feed frame or foundation)

  • One marked and mated Lloyd St bees queen

Thanks for supporting local beekeeping,

Trevor Bawden

Lloyd St. Bees

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Apr 18, 2022

Lots of good info here. Thanks Trevor! 🐝

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