Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I keep referring to “my NUC in the ten frame hive body”. When a beekeeper refers to a NUC (Nucleus hive), we are usually talking about a hive composed of 5 frames that are house in a hive big enough to just hold those five frames. A colony is usually placed in a NUC when is a new colony, and they are attempting to re-queen themselves or if their numbers are down for what ever reason.

In a five frame Nuc a weak colony can easily control the environmental temperature, and guard it against pests. Frees up bees from those duties to forage and raise brood. Not that a weak colony can’t make it in a ten frame hive.

Here is a good picture of my Nuc that is housed in the 10 frame body. From Left to right are 3 empty frames, then the next five frames the NUC, the last two frames on the right again are empty. I bought two NUCs late last year. This colony went into this ten frame hive because I was out of five frame NUCs.

The following video is a great demonstration of orientation flights by the bees. The 1st time I ever saw this I though the bees were getting ready to swarm away, when I came to the conclusion they weren’t leaving I though they were under attack by some other colony. The first 45 seconds of the video are of the entrance of my NUC in the ten frame hive. They are working hard and going about their business. Then I focused the camera on my eager NUC and the bees can be seen performing orientation flights. The tell tales of an orientation flight are simple to spot. First, there is no fighting at the entrance, so they are not under attack. Second, the bees are not swarming away. They are just coming out and flying while facing the hive a few feet above it. These are new bees and they are getting acquainted with their surroundings. Making a mental picture of what their home and the surroundings will look like when they go out on longer foraging flights. For some it may just be a bathroom break too. In the middle of this madness are the guards at the entrance checking for friend or foe, the workers returning from their foraging trips, and the workers on their way to forage.

The rear of a hive is the safest place to be, except for right now. Every single bee doing orientation will simply be facing you. There are always one or two bees with a chip on their shoulder. They don’t want to sting, they just want you to stop blocking the view. Anyone notice the five frame supper on top of the Nuc? Two of those medium frames are full and capped. If I have to feed anyone thsi year, is not going to be this Nuc.

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