How to transfer bees

How to transfer your bees from a 5-frame nucleus hive

Welcome to beekeeping! You’ve got your bees. Here is what you will need to transfer the bees into a beehive.

  • Hive floor and entrance block.
  • Brood box
  • Six DN4 Hoffman deep frames and foundation, or five if using a WBC hive.
  • Crown board.
  • Empty super to hold feeder
  • Feeder
  • Roof
  1. Collect your nucleus hive of bees in the evening, when the bees have stopped flying.
  2. Place nuc hive in position on the hive stand.
  3. Open the entrance.
  4. Leave the bees to fly and to settle down for a few days.

Decision: Do you want to run your hive warm way or cold way?
Warm way, with the frames parallel to the entrance allows you to work the hive easily from behind. Cold way requires you to twist if working from behind. I only use warm way.

  1. Choose a warm sunny day when the bees are flying well.
  2. Move nuc hive to one side and place your new hive on the stand, with the entrance block in place to reduce the entrance.
  3. Place three frames of foundation in brood box at back.
  4. Open nuc hive and gently smoke your bees.
  5. Lift out first frame of bees and place in hive.
  6. Continue to transfer frames of bees, making sure that they are the same way round as in the nuc hive.
  7. Add the last three frames of foundation.
  8. Shake any bees still in the nuc hive into the new hive.
  9. Fit crown board and empty super.
  10. Fill in new hive record card.
  11. Fit roof.
  12. The same evening, give the bees a feeder full of syrup, 2 x 1kg sugar mixed with 1½ litres of water. If you feed when the bees are flying you may cause other bees to rob the hive.
  13. Continue feeding until the bees have drawn out all the frames of foundation.

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Peter McFadden, Conwy BKA.
June 2010

These notes are also available to download.

4 Responses to How to transfer bees

  1. john waceke says:

    This a good publicity I have learnt alot from your work .Am located in Nairobi Kenya
    would like to know how you can assit in marketing of honey and wax.

  2. Cate Evans says:

    Thanks for the advice. A great site.I’m still learning after a year with three hives. Have just collected two new nucs and needed to check before installing. Love seeing how things are done in Wales and learning the new vocab. I only know it in French having learned here in South Western France.

    • secretary says:

      Thanks for your message Cate. Glad you like our website. I’m still learning after 37 years with bees! Every year is different. How are you coping with Asian hornets? We don’t have them in the UK yet.

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