What is a nucleus for bees


The nucleus plays the same large role in beekeeping as simple beehives and is very widely used. But not all young beekeepers understand what a nucleus is, how it differs from a hive, how to use it, and why. This article is devoted to this issue.

What is a nucleus

The nucleus is, in fact, a reduced hive by several frames, or a small family with one barren or fertilized uterus. The term "nucleus" is translated as "core." In this case we mean the core (base) of the bee colony, from which a large, strong bee colony can grow. Nucleuses are built in such a way that a large family simply does not fit in them. They are collected from 700-1000 worker bees, not counting the uterus.

Internal organization is similar to a full-fledged family, but there are significant differences.

  • Bees are very few - labor is not enough. Such a family will not be able to provide themselves with honey for the winter.
  • Vulnerability to attacks of other bees.

But these shortcomings are an advantage, because knowing about their "shaky position" the bees in the nuclei develop much faster than in ordinary hives.

Bee honeycombs in the nucleus

Depending on the size of the nest, combs, nucleuses are of different types: large, for a whole nested frame, medium with reduced frames and micro-nucleuses.

How and why use nucleus in beekeeping

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The nucleus has several uses.

  1. Getting young queens.
  2. Fertilization of queens. Fertilizing queens in normal hives in a large apiary is not beneficial. This requires a lot of drones, but they do not bring much benefit. Therefore, several cores are usually made, where beekeepers receive new queens, including fertilized ones.
  3. The increase in the number of working bees. An increase in the number of families in a nucleus occurs several times faster than in a regular hive.
  4. In nuclei it is much easier to form new families. If you do it right in the hive, you need to constantly look at the bees, check their condition, where they are. And so the problem disappears. Nucleus greatly simplifies the work.

The formation of a bee colony in the nucleus

It is necessary to form families in the nucleus only from developed, large families in the period of the main collection of honey or swarming. All work must be done before the afternoon, when the hives are almost empty - there are only guards, broods and the bees of the wet-nurse in them.

Conclusion of the uterus in the nucleus

Depending on the climatic conditions, there are small differences in how to form a bee family.

  • In the southern, warm areas, 1 frame with brood seed and 2 with feed (prig and honey) are installed. There also need to lay about 300 worker bees.
  • In cold and temperate climates (central and northern regions) it is necessary to install 2 frames with brood and the same with feed. Working bees need at least 600.

The brood is taken sealed, and the food must be at least 2 kg. The nucleus is also placed in the nucleus. If the uterus is not fertilized, it is placed in a cage, determined in the hive, but released only after 3-5 days.

Important! When forming a nucleus, it is worthwhile to make sure that the uterus is not transferred from the main hive.

The empty place is basically a hive, from which the brood was taken, and the food is filled with fresh honeycombs with a wax basis. The nucleus must be well insulated, reduce the size of the notch so that only the bee can pass through it. And during the mating period of the uterus it is increased.

Honeycombs with wax

When the frame with the brood breeds becomes empty (young bees will come out and the honeycomb), the beekeeper needs to remove these honeycombs and install new ones with larvae in their place to load the young bees with work. But this is done only before the egg-laying of the uterus.

Interesting! After the young growth appears in the nucleus, the bees relocated to form a new family usually return to their old hive.

Core wintering

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The hibernation of bees in nuclei must undergo certain training.

  • The family should be as developed as possible. For the last time the uterus is hooked on July 25, no later. It is from her and go sowing.
  • If the honey collection is completed ahead of schedule, it is necessary to feed the bees with sugar syrup in a ratio of 1: 1.5. A day for a small nucleus takes 250-350 g of syrup. Sometimes feeding is done every 2 days, and not daily. In total, about 2 liters of syrup are fed.
  • For each small family prepare 3-4 half frames with honey. They are usually taken from large hives, where there is already a lot of honey.

Wintering bees in the nucleus

When cold weather sets in, the nucleus is moved to the beehive and is placed on the upper tiers of the shelves. It is there that heat from the families in the hives below will be directed and the bees in the core will not freeze.

How to make a nucleus with your own hands

You can buy a nucleus, but it is possible to do it yourself, especially since it is not difficult. First you need to make sketches of the future design or just find them (there are quite a lot of similar sketches in specialized magazines, books, the Internet). The drawing must indicate the exact dimensions, the places where the frames, feeders, tap-holes will be installed.

The size of the nucleus can be very diverse - it all depends on the type of nucleus (large, medium small). There is a mini-option and maxi - to accommodate several mini-families (separately, of course). The small core has a height of 175 mm, a width of 76 mm, and a length of 298 mm. Larger design: 315 mm in height, 405 mm in width and 600 mm in length. But these are only approximate figures, in each individual case they may differ.

Core drawing

The first thing to do is the case. It is made of wooden planks. The bottom is usually nailed, it can be made of plywood or something simpler (to save). After that, a tray is cut (up to 15 mm in diameter), a hole for ventilation. Now screw the legs (usually made of wood), mounting under the frame, feeders. It remains only to make the lid and the nucleus is completely ready. The last stage of work - coloring.

Important! For the manufacture of the nucleus is to use only good, durable material. Any connections are rechecked so that the structure does not “crumble” at the wrong time.