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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,304

    Default e) Buying nuc vs. package bees

    The pros and cons of nucs and package bees for first hive.
    Regards, Barry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,553

    Default

    packaged bees are mostly not related to each other and definately not related to the queen, and they have no brood for a boost in population.

    nuc has bees related to eachother and to the queen and has brood to give them a good boost in population and usually has a frame of stores to boot.

    nucs work better more often than packages.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default

    Packages won't have any sealed brood for at least 10 days allowing a great opportunity to impact mite population

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,331

    Default

    The first issue is that with a package you have your choice of equipment (mediums, small cell comb, top bar hives etc.) where with deep nucs you're limited to what you get.

    All other things (such as choice of equipment) aside, I think you get a couple of week head start with a package, but then you often get the nuc two weeks later anyway.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Fairfield, Virginia
    Posts
    1,002

    Default

    When I started beekeeping with packages I enjoyed watching and learning with bees as they started out the colony. Seeing the progression from nothing, and having new white wax and easily removable frames ( no propolis ) helped me being when I was a newbie. I think I would have missed some of this starting out with an established colony.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,552

    Default

    Depending on the part of the country you are in and when you get your bees, you might have to feed a great deal to get a package to the point of self sufficiency, especially if they are started on bare foundation. For someone who is not familiar or not yet too comfortable with bees, a nuc, which is a bit closer to autopilot, can be a good choice.
    In addition, the queen has been proven in a nuc; she is laying, not something always to be taken for granted in a package. The beginner can see all stages of bee development and see what "normal" actually means.
    Timing of the first major honey flow can also be a determinant. If the flow is early a nuc might better take advantage of it but if the flow is later in the season a package may do just fine.
    For those with experience, installing on drawn comb, the cheaper price of the package may well be the determining factor.
    We normally recommend nucs for beginners.
    Sheri

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Fairfield, Virginia
    Posts
    1,002

    Default

    I can see your point Sheri. Myself, I was eager to learn and I started out with two packages and went into them once a week the entire first season. Mainly so I could learn. They made plenty of stores and both made it through the winter. I have bought established hives and caught swarms and made splits since then.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Beecher Il
    Posts
    76

    Default Packages

    Packages can show up dead or half dead. I think about 5% abscond. You have more drift. You have to take the package back for deposit.
    Al

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,243

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by albee View Post
    I think about 5% abscond.
    And 30% supercede.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,243

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I think you get a couple of week head start with a package
    Really? Why? I would think it would be the other way around.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Beecher Il
    Posts
    76

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    And 30% supercede.
    I'm Glad you said it. 2 years ago I had that happen. Last year the packages had Hawaiian Queens and they were good.
    Al

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,331

    Default

    >I think you get a couple of week head start with a package
    >Really? Why? I would think it would be the other way around.

    Brain fart. Sorry.

    I think you get a couple of week head start with a nuc over a package. But you often get the nuc two weeks after the package.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

    Default

    There is nuc and nuc and then there is Overwintered nuc.
    Not all nucs are created equal.

    Gilman

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Fairfield, Connecticut
    Posts
    597

    Default

    I'll take one of your overwintered nucs over a 4 pound package- all day every day. Esp when they are local Northeast bees, slim chance of AHB.
    If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it. If you build it, they will fill it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,331

    Default

    My overwintered nucs usually make my strongest colonies.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Russellville, Alabama
    Posts
    112

    Default

    Can a Nuc be pushed hard enough to draw out 2 deeps and a med of honey in their first year?
    I'm purchasing a Nuc this spring. I'm dropping off a deep -4 frames. he will feed 6 qrt. of syrup while the queen cell is hatching. Then 6 qrt more while she breeds and proves herself. I should get the hive back by the first week in April if not a little before.
    Michael
    2nd year beek, 3 hives!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Townville, SC
    Posts
    151

    Default

    This from a new beekeep so take it for a grain of salt. My nuc this last year I got in late may early june. I fed and fed and until they filled up two deeps but they would never go into the medium after that. I think it depends on your flow. We are in an extreme drought here and flow this year was really bad at least that is what the beekeeps are saying around here.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,243

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Docking View Post
    Can a Nuc be pushed hard enough to draw out 2 deeps and a med of honey in their first year?
    I would think so, but I don't know Alabama. My over wintered nucs fill a broodnest of 2 deeps and a medium (drawn comb) and most make 100-120lbs of surplus...often including a super of cut comb.

    I guess it would matter how long before the main flow that new queen began laying, and how long the flow lasts.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    635

    Default

    I'd always go with a nuc.
    A regular type nuc usually has 4 frames of bees (of which usually has 2 of the frames has brood) and a laying queen. If the brood is in all stages and have a lot of emerging brood, it'll fill a single to good strength less then 5 weeks.
    With a package, 2 pounds of bees doesn't even cover a full 3 frames and for the time it takes to intro the queen and for the first brood to hatch, not to mention the stress and suseptability of disease, it's almost twice as long to get a single fill to strength.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    746

    Default

    Theres pros and cons with both, we recommend newbies start with packages to watch the growth. Here the packages seem to catch the nucs, not sure why.

    We also call the dumping of 4 frames together and a queen a ( nucage )

    Not even close to a wintered nuc in production.

    I've purchased nucs and found painted queens 2 years old, from a big seller.
    Also a few of the frames were and can be pretty scary, fazed them out right a way, into the wax melter.

    I just ordered a few packages, to stuff into my kenya and long hives. here comes spring
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

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