top bar beehive

Honey Bees; How to Install a Nuc into a Top Bar Hive – EASY

Time to Install a Nuc

This spring, we ordered a new Nuc of bees. Now, I used to keep bees, but this year is a little different. Previously, I’ve always used Langstroth hives in the past but this year I decided to make a change. I wanted to go with a top bar hive this time. Therefore, I thought I would go over how to install a nuc into a top bar hive.

The New Top Bar

My husband is a wonderful craftsman and all I had to do is show him my preferred design and he jumped in and took over. The hive turned out beautifully. The next problem, however, was transferring the nuc into the new top bar hive.

When I picked up the new hive, we had to decide how we wanted to transition them into the top bar. Since the frames inside the nuc were regular rectangular frames, they would not work with our top bar. We decided to put the five frames inside the top bar, sideways, temporarily, to help them assimilate.

Install a Nuc, Temporary Transition

The following photos show the process that we used to install a nuc. We smoked them to keep them docile. We then moved the frames into the top bar, sideways. The last step was to shake out the additional bees from the nuc.

Install a Nuc, Completing the Transition

About 5 days later, we went back to check on our bees and to change up the frames. We had to transfer the rectangular frames to top bar frames. I’ll stop here and tell you that I hate the plastic frames. Especially for this purpose. It was necessary for us to cut the original frame, moving what we could of the brood to a top bar. Cutting the plastic frames proved to be impossible without ruining the brood. Therefore, there were only three of the frames that we could actually transfer. The other two were basically lost.

We were able to use a sharp knife to cut away the portion of the non-plastic brood filled frames that we could work with to transfer to top bars. Once we cut them away, we used twine to tie them onto the top bars.

Despite the loss of some of their brood, the hive was able to sustain itself and continue to prosper. In fact, the hive has really taken off! They built their comb back up and continued building more very quickly. I’ve been completely impressed by their behavior.

All in all, our first attempt to install a nuc into a top bar hive was a success. I look forward to watching their progress. If you would like to see some of our other farmyard projects you can check them out or have a look at our other site, A Life on the Farm, for some of our other projects! And don’t forget to go subscribe to the Two Oaks Farmstead Youtube Channel for all kinds of terrific content!!!

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