This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.
Uniting A Nucleus Of Bees To Another Hive
A manipulation in honey bee management that can be used to combine two honey bee colonies of unequal strength, sometimes performed as a method of introducing a new queen to an established stock.
The first method is due to Albert Knight of BIBBA, whose words I have used here.
Uniting the nucleus to a full colony
Go to the hive that is to be re-queened during the afternoon while the bees are flying. Find the queen and remove the frame she is on and two other frames. In fact, you take away a three frame nucleus. Have your new queen on the centre comb of her own three frame nucleus and place the nucleus into the hive in space created by the removal of the three frames.
In this way the new queen starts her new life surrounded by her own progeny and does not come into immediate contact with strange bees, she just carries on as though nothing had happened.
Note that this is uniting is done when the bees are flying, so that most of the bees in the brood chamber and in the nucleus are young bees, and such bees can be united without any fuss as they seldom fight.
Alternatively, the new nucleus can be united by the newspaper uniting method.
Always check a colony for queen cells in the weeks following the introduction of a new queen. Often a colony will raise supersedure cells in order to replace their new queen. Remove these queen cells and then continue to check until they stop building such cells.
Often the nuc is in a box that is much smaller than a normal hive, while special boards can be constructed to accommodate the size difference so that the newspaper method can be used, it is often a problem to support the hive roof. Another way is to use an empty brood box, placed directly over the newspaper that has been spread on the opened bottom colony, place the frames from the nuc in the centre of this extra box and fill the spaces with dummy frames, division boards or special queen rearing dummies.
Standard practice and very sound.