I'm giving away an overwintered poly nuc to a friend, who is now waiting to receive them. When the bees are relocated, they'll stay in their polynuc for a few weeks to acclimatise and all the usual relocation things. My question is whether, given seasonal forage levels etc., there is a best/worst time to relocate, and particular whether now (late Feb) is too early and if we should wait until... when? We're in Cheshire. Any advice gratefully received.
Welcome to the Forum rjt88
Lucky friend. We have several Forumites closer to you who will give better local advice on timings than me from down in the South West.
How far away is your friend going to keep them? As long as it is over, say, a couple of miles and they are not going to be tempted to "fly home", I would disperse overwintered nucs from say mid March onwards. I wouldn't leave it in the nuc too many weeks tbh, but aim to move them into a full hive as soon as weather allows.
Assuming the beekeeper is a beginner, a thing to watch for with over wintered nucs is suddenly exploding in numbers or the combs becoming clogged with an unexpected early flow, leading to sudden early congestion swarm as soon as you get a warm weather spell. This can also be caused by the laudable wish to feed your new bees. Better to hive an overwintered nuc a bit too early than a bit too late !