The term nuc, a shortened version of the term nucleus colony, more correctly refers to a small-sized hive in which a small colony of bees resides, but can also be used to describe the small bee colony itself. There are two types of nuclei, a standard core and a baby or mating nucleus. Kernels, or core colonies, are small colonies of honey bees created from larger captured colonies, bundles, or swarms. A core hive focuses on a queen bee, the core of the honey bee colony.
A core box is a small hive box for housing a core colony. These boxes contain fewer frames than standard 8- and 10-frame hive boxes. A core typically consists of 4 established frameworks. It will contain two honey frames for feeding and two breeding frames for expanding the hive.
It will also have a laying queen. Most commonly, a core hive consists of 3-5 frames, rather than a full hive size of 8-10 frames. These are typically deep sized frames that fit a standard Langstroth hive. A nuc is a 3-5 square hive with an accepted and mated queen.
In a core of five frames, at least three frames must already be drawn and filled with young and honey. The “nuc box” also houses your new bee colony. We will seal all openings in the box as best we can before collection. The term “nuc” is short for colony of the nucleus.
A core colony is just a very small colony of a few thousand bees and a queen. A beekeeper can find many ways to use a core. Here's the thing: when I make my cores, I place them at most 5-10 feet from the original hive because I don't have the luxury of taking them any further. Inspection and certification of cores is not required for sale and, depending on how they were handled prior to sale, disease may occur in some core colonies after purchase.
I've been making cores for a few years without taking the queen out of the mother hive, just a frame with and without a lid, a nectar frame, a pollen frame and an empty frame. Since core bees are predominantly nurse bees, they do not leave the nucleus and a new queen develops. On the other hand, if I need to make a core with one of my hives that is currently half buried in freezing snow, I think I can do it. A purchased core must be populated enough for the beekeeper to install it in a full-size hive as soon as it gets home.
Once you pick up your core box (s), head straight to your apiary, making sure the bees don't overheat in the car. Starting from one side of the box, gently lift each frame of the nuc box and place it on the body of the hive. Move bees from the core to a full-size hive when there are enough bees to cover 80% of the core frames. Sales of nucs have increased tremendously in recent years and are making inroads into the well-established packaged bee businesses.
Varroa and hive beetles are treatable, but if a nucleus has the initial onset of some disease such as evil, that's bad. While a nucleus can have several different uses, a division more often refers to dividing a colony for the purpose of making eliminated bees a full-size colony again. The strength of the nuclei varies greatly from one source to another depending on the number of frames, the stock of bees, and the environmental conditions during the time the nucleus was formed. Whether you buy a bee core to start a new hive or a couple of boxes of bees to use in your apiary, they really have a place in beekeeping.
However, while you can't always get rid of EXACTLY ALL the forages, I have been making my cores with the bees that cling to the frames, which presumably would be most nurse bees that have theoretically never left the hive, never oriented to the location of the hive, never oriented to the location of the hive. .