Nuc Box: A Budding Beekeeper’s Best Friend And Lifesaver

bees nuc box

If you're looking for a fruitful hobby, there are few things more rewarding than having your own beehive. Beekeeping isn't for everyone, so, if you're afraid of insects, you probably won't enjoy checking up on a whole hive. But if you are someone who loves nature, organic food, and buzzing creepy-crawly's, then chances are you could be a great beekeeper. There are no prerequisite conditions or qualifications necessary in order to become a good beekeeper. And overall, beekeeping is not extremely labor intensive, after all the bees do most of the hard work! If you do take on this environmentally friendly hobby, there are some things to keep in mind, one of them being a nuc box.

As a budding beekeeper, you might have heard the term nuc box and have wondered what it is and what it's used for. The best and most basic thing every starting beekeeper needs is a nuc box, which is why it is important to do your research on them. As you begin your journey into the fascinating world of bees, you should take every detail into consideration, starting with the understanding of what makes a good box.

The box is essentially a bee nursery designed to help small hives get started on building their colony. A nuc hive is centered on a queen bee, who is the nucleus of the colony.

Honeybees are usually purchased in one of two ways, a package, or a nuc. Bee packages have been the go-to solution, but nucs are becoming more popular. A bee package is a man-made swarm consisting of two to four pounds of bees. The beekeeper will use that swarm as the starting point to grow his hive. Bee packages can often be purchased through USPS and UPS, though a responsible beekeeper should consult with the seller on an appropriate month for the order, to ensure that the temperature will be favorable for shipping.

The difference between a package and a nuc is that in a package the queen is kept separately, in a screened box, and the package must be eventually moved to a hive. While a nuc is already its own established colony with a freed queen. A nuc does not have to be moved to a hive right away.

So, what's a novice beekeeper to do when faced with this choice? Both options have their pros and cons. But for beginners, having an established colony with a proven queen is the way to go.

nuc box for beekeeping

What Exactly Is A Nuc Box?

The name "nuc" stands for nucleus colony. When a beekeeper first gets his bees, he will place them in a nuc box so that they can work on building their home and growing their hive. A nucleus colony typically consists of a few thousand bees and their queen.

The box is extremely helpful to bees as well as the beekeeper. Because a beginning hive is lower in numbers than an established hive, the bees benefit enormously from having a smaller space to manage. Think about it in terms of buying a house. A 21-year-old will have an easier time managing a one-bedroom apartment, than a huge villa estate. A nuc box is a small apartment in which the bees can get acclimated and start thriving. This is where they build up their resources and increase their numbers.

Most beekeepers use the box for that reason, but there are also other motives for using this great technology. The box is a good tool for splitting. Splitting takes place when you remove a number of bees from an established hive and start a new hive in a nuc box. Splits are done in order to decrease a swiftly growing hive.

Another important reason for keeping nucs is that if one of your hives loses its queen bee, you have another queen lined up and ready to go. You can also use the nuc to help increase the numbers of a weak hive by transferring some of the frames from the nuc into your hive.

Product Specs

A nuc hive has all the same features as a standard 10 frame Langstroth hive except that it has a reduced width. Bee Nucs are typically 2 or 3 frames of brood and 2 or 3 frames of honey/pollen. A nuc box is a smaller hive box, which usually holds up to five frames, instead of the standard eight to ten that conventional hives use. The boxes can be made out of wood or even cardboard. The cardboard nuc boxes are excellent for selling bees or catching swarms of bees. The downside is that you can't let it get too wet.

The structures of nuc boxes come in a colorful variety of different shapes and sizes. The most common one is a five-frame deep box. But some are also designed to hold medium frames. You can decide how you want to divide up your nuc depending on what you want to achieve.

a hive of bees in a nuc box

Pricing

The pricing on nuc boxes vary. A decent box can cost anywhere from $90 to around $190.

Here are great websites where you can purchase nuc box's online:

How it Compares

We picked a couple of similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • Apimaye Insulated 7 Frame Langstroth Nucleus Bee Hive Nuc
  • Complete Bee Hive Kit, Painted, Assembled, 10-Frame, Made In The USA
  • Honey Keeper Beehive 10 Frame Kit Super Box and 10 Deep Frames with Foundations for Langstroth Beekeeping
  • SummerHawk Ranch Backyard Bee Hive, 3-YEAR Warranty - Durable Wooden Bee House with Quick-Check Super, 8 frames, Beekeeping Equipment for Honeybees, Honey Harvesting

Apimaye Insulated 7 Frame Langstroth Nucleus Bee Hive Nuc
  • Best rated beehives on Amazon and 1st place winner in Beehive Innovations Award in Apimondia International Apicultural...
  • Easiest bee hive to work with for both beginners and professional beekeepers. Assembled and doesn't need to be painted....
  • Insulated to withstand extreme weather, and designed to prevent moisture buildup inside the beehive. Bees can survive...

This insulated 7 frame bee hive is perfect for beginners as well as seasoned beekeepers. It's light and easy to lift and open up. It is one of the best-rated nuc boxes on Amazon and 1st place winner in Beehive Innovations Award in Apimondia International Apicultural Congress. It comes already painted and assembled. It is insulated so that it can withstand extreme weather conditions, and prevent any moisture buildup. It features a screen bottom and split hive entrance as well as two top feeders. It comes with 7 handy plastic frames.

Price

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • Super easy to work with for beginners as well as professionals.
  • This Nuc comes already assembled, and doesn't need to be painted.
  • Very easy to open and inspect.
  • Check Circle
    Light in weight.
  • Check Circle
    Best rated on Amazon.
  • Check Circle
    Insulated so it can withstand extreme weather conditions.
  • Check Circle
    Includes a screened bottom board.

Cons

  • This model does not include a foundation for the handy frames.
  • There are no honey supers, so it will not produce a lot of honey.
  • There are only 7 frames.

Complete Bee Hive Kit, Painted, Assembled, 10-Frame, Made In The USA
  • Made in the USA with quality pine
  • Completely assembled and ready for bees
  • Kit includes one painted 10 frame 9-5/8-inch assembled hive body, ten 9-1/8-assembled wood frames with yellow waxed...

This high caliber bee hive kit is made in the USA with quality pine. It comes completely assembled and ready for bees. The kit includes one painted 10 frame 9-5/8-inch assembled hive body, ten 9-1/8-assembled wood frames with yellow waxed RiteCell foundation. It has a solid painted bottom board with an unpainted entrance reducer and a painted telescoping cover with an inner cover. It measures 22-inch length by 18-1/2-inch width by 13-1/7-inch height.

Price

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • Comes completely assembled and ready for bees.
  • High-quality wood.
  • Already painted.
  • Check Circle
    Easy to use.

Cons

  • There is no feeder on top.
  • There is no queen excluder.
  • The bottom is not a screen.

Honey Keeper Beehive 10 Frame Kit Super Box and 10 Deep Frames with...
  • 10-Deep Frames and Super
  • Complete kit that is easy to assemble
  • Deep super frame with foundations

This simple and plain Honey Keeper beehive is definitely a keeper! The foundation is built with high-quality premium fir wood, and the frames are made out of white pine wood. It has 10-Deep Frames and Super. The kit is complete and easy to assemble.

Price

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • Complete kit.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • Deep super frame with foundations.
  • Check Circle
    Simple look.

Cons

  • You have to assemble the frames.
  • No cover or lower lid.
  • Plastic foundation.

SummerHawk Ranch Backyard Bee Hive, 3-YEAR Warranty - Durable Wooden...
  • Ideal for any location from rural to suburban backyards, and even rooftops - this beehive is great for beginners who...
  • Built from sustainably sourced Canadian Hemlock wood with finger-joint construction
  • Includes Quick-Check super & a full set of (8) high-visibility Quick-Check frames with pre-waxed plastic honeycomb...

Great product for beginners. Perfect build for the backyard. Product dimensions: 26.77 in x 19.69 in x 17.88 in/ 68 cm x 50 cm x 45.42 cm. This hive is perfect for any location, from a backyard to a rooftop. It is built from sustainably sourced Canadian Hemlock wood with finger-joint construction. It includes Quick-Check super & a full set of (8) high-visibility Quick-Check frames with pre-waxed plastic honeycomb foundation.

Price

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • Great for beginners.
  • Built from sustainably sourced Canadian Hemlock wood with finger-joint construction.
  • Quick-check super.
  • Check Circle
    Has 8 frames.
  • Check Circle
    Looks good in any location.
  • Check Circle
    Full 3-year warranty.
  • Check Circle
    Has a quick-check viewing window.

Cons

  • Somewhat heavy.

Conclusion

Beekeeping is a fun and very rewarding hobby, and its rewards extend far beyond getting honey. Bees produce a multitude of products, such as beeswax, propolis, and royal jelly. Of course, harvesting your own honey is a very attractive prospect, but many beekeepers have other reasons for keeping hives, such as improving pollination, boosting their health (many beekeepers believe that bees help to reduce stress), and helping the planet.

However, few people are natural-born beekeepers. Usually, it takes a bit of work, studying and commitment to get into the groove of it. There are a lot of elements at play when it comes to beekeeping, from environmental to logistical. Do you have the time, space, and the physical strength to commit? Beekeeping is not super time consuming, but it does require very regular check-ins. You also need a good space with close by nectar sources. As for physical strength, a box filled with honey can weigh more than 50 pounds.

Do you know your local agricultural regulations? Because some towns have restrictions, or completely prohibit hives. Are your neighbors cool with it? Many people might have issues with a beehive located anywhere close to their place of living. Some people are simply afraid, while others have serious allergies. This is important to take into consideration before jumping into the beekeeping world.

Do you have a decent pain tolerance? Because there will be times when you get stung. Protective gear and learning your way about your hive will help out, but don't think you will avoid being stung entirely. That just goes with the territory of beekeeping.

Then there is also the financial aspect of it. Beekeeping is not as cheap as some believe it to be, because you will need all the proper gear and equipment, such as a bee suit, bee hives, a smoker, and a hive tool. You might think that catching a swarm of bees could be a nice and cheap way of cutting down your costs and starting your hive, but if you are a beginner we really highly recommend that you purchase a nuc.

Nucs are extremely valuable to novice beekeepers. For beginning beekeepers, there is a wide variety of options in terms of nuc boxes. Most beginners should focus on getting something simple and light to start with, so as not to overwhelm themselves. Preferably a nuc box that comes already assembled, leaving them one less thing to worry about.

Beekeeping is a fun activity, but it takes a lot to learn the intricacies of this hobby. That's why we recommend purchasing a nuc box that goes along with your skill level.

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