Somehow there was a misprint in the flyer for my nuc pick-up date, so sadly I will not be getting my bees until next week:( On the bright side, this gives me more time to decorate my hive the way I want it and to read those chapters in my Backyard Beekeeper book that I haven’t gotten to yet! Also, I need to think a bit more about how we transport the bees next week. I’m a little nervous about the possibility of a few stray bees in the car. It’s about an hour-long trip I’ll be making with them. I’ll potentially need to wear my protective gear for the drive. Another factor is I have never been stung before. Because of that I requested a prescription from my doctor for an epi pen (just in case), so I’ll be bringing that along for the ride. Here’s some instructions that my nuc supplier gave me:
At the pick up location, please take the box or boxes with your name on the lid. You are welcome to inspect the frames before you take them. If you encounter any problems, let me know as soon as possible. We want you to be satisfied with your purchase. Please know that the bees may be agitated from the long ride, and it’s advisable to wear protective clothing for frame inspection and installation. We also suggest bringing a bee veil for your car ride, as accidents can and do happen.
The ideal way to transport nucs is in the bed of a pickup truck. This provides adequate air flow and cooling that the bees need. Every year, a number of people transport their bees in passenger cars without problems. In general, if you treat them as you would a small dog in a pet carrier, you should be fine. It is not advisable to put them into a car trunk, nor leave them in a hot car while you eat or do shopping. Do NOT place them in a plastic bag for transport. If any bees do escape from their cardboard nuc box during transport, DON’T PANIC. Honey bees will fly toward the windows and will try to get out. Simply unrolling the windows and letting her out will solve most bee-in-car problems.
When you arrive at your location, take your nuc of bees out to where you will be placing your full sized hive. Do not leave them in your car overnight. Installation is simple. Take the five frames out of the nuc box, and keeping them in the same order, place them in the center of your 10 frame box. Add two extra frames on one side of them, and three extra frames on the other. Replace your lids and feed.
Your bees will do better after the stress of traveling if you feed them a light 1:1 sugar syrup.
If you can’t hive your bees immediately, it’s advisable to place the nuc box where their permanent home will be and open the little door on the cardboard nuc box. This will allow free flight and orientation flights to begin. Your bees can remain in their nuc box for several days, however, it is possible that swarming may occur due to the strength of the nuc. Again, do not leave them in your car overnight. Please use common sense. Hive them as soon as possible. They ARE perishable livestock.
I love the advice about not panicking if a few bees go rogue in the car…whew, I’ll sure try! And you know the last two lines of this was spelled out because someone had actually left the bees in their vehicle and complained about the result. I am definitely planning on getting the bees into their forever home as soon as I get home with them. We’re planning on videotaping this once-in-a-lifetime event. The experience should be interesting so stay-tuned!