As I was readily preparing for the bees to come in another few weeks/month I get an email notification, essentially saying, “Surprise! Nucs are here two weeks ahead of schedule!”. Nuc! I thought I was getting a package. What’s the difference? Well- a lot. I stopped reading about hiving a package of bees in Beekeeping for Dummies and started a YouTube search for hiving a nuc, aka nucleus, which looks as such: https://www.instagram.com/p/BTVLRXqDJ9E/?taken-by=mark.blakeslee
The Nucs I purchased were 5 frames with the colony’s original queen, as opposed to a package that needed to have a queen bee adapt and be accepted by the bees provided. The Nuc option seems like a much more natural process.
The fact that my time table had been turned on its head and that I was reading, and re-reading, about the wrong installation process made me a huge ball of nerves (just ask Mark). Talk about anxiety! I had no idea what I was doing, in fact I had less of an idea about what I was doing because I was reading a completely different hiving process. Did I mention that I am a hands-on learner??? Yes. Ok. I reached out to fellow parishioners who are also part of the Southern Tier Beekeepers Association. Advice I have heard on all fronts is to have a mentor when beekeeping. Thankfully, Albright Apiaries volunteered and kept Mark and me in the loop as we worked to find the pick-up spot, as well as, expressed a million concerns and questions.
The email for pick-up mentioned we would be getting the Nucs from Kutik’s Honey Farm. So when inserting their name into Google Maps it took me to where they harvest the honey, as opposed to the yard to get the Nucs. On top of my nerves, I was lost. (This makes great fun for being stuck in a pickup truck with your spouse- more on that later). There was also no cell service at my location. Thankfully, David from Albright Apiaries dropped a location pin, after he did some searching, for me to follow once in service range. We were only a few miles off.
I was getting two Nucs- recommended so that if the bees do not do well for some reason I could split the colony and introduce a new queen. I brought a sheet, to cover the Nucs while transporting, which was rendered useless because it started raining. Luckily, the rain held off until after getting the bees.
The pick-up message also stated to bring bee suits. I don’t have one because I am too cheap to purchase one, which my husband would beg to differ since I started this hobby. As a true Suburban Beekeeper, I wore my white Hind ski sweater and jeans to get the Nucs and bring them to their new home. I did however purchase a veil, and found it very important to wear due to the bees having no clue where their new home was going to be, and they were just trucked in from South Carolina. Lots of travel for a new colony. David stated that bees were much like humans in that if they are fed, have water, and sunshine they are happy. Upstate New York weather was making happiness a tough feat for the bees the night of pick-up, so I geared up. While getting the bees a woman was stung on the head- such a sensitive spot! I want to learn from others’ mistakes and hope people can learn from mine as well. While most people were experienced veteran beekeepers and did not wear any protective gear, I am going to stick with my veil for the time being.
We picked up the Nucs around 7pm on Tuesday and arrived at their new home about 9pm. Everyone
at the yard was so supportive. I was thankful for that. It’s nice when people root you on. After opening the entrance of their temporary Kutik residence, so they could be their industrious selves, we left the Nucs on top of their future hive in order for the bees to get used to the new location, as well as, if any of the bees flew off they could find their colony when Mark and I got to hiving them the next day.