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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Madill, Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default Nucs or Package Bees

    Can someone please explain to me what the difference is between ordering a "NUC" or Package Bees & a Queen? Which way would you recommend a Brand New Beginner go?
    Pamlar

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,037

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    Can I suggest you read a few books, or take a class prior to getting any bees.

    The difference is a nuc is like a mini hive, and a package is just bees and a queen.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,594

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamlar View Post
    Can someone please explain to me what the difference is between ordering a "NUC" or Package Bees & a Queen? Which way would you recommend a Brand New Beginner go?
    Pamlar

    You might want to read this thread:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=223116

    The Google search window on the home page allows for more complete searches... http://www.beesource.com/

    you might spend some time here as well:http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    A NUC is a small colony, it has a laying Queen brood in various stages and probably some stores. A package is a bunch of bees possibly from 2 or more hives with a caged Queen most likely newly bred and unproven.
    Most books will tell a newbe to start with package bees as they think you will learn more by watching a colony start from scratch and that is good.I however would recommend you start with one of each, then if the package queen is killed or not a good queen then you can pull a frame of brood from the NUC and let them raise their own queen. Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Lake County Illinois
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    I have read about both and am still on the fence. The guy I will be working with is buying two hives. I am buying a package, and he is buying one as well. I was able to get permission from him to start two others that will be moved when they are established (he only wants two on his property). I may do NUCS with the other two, just to see how it goes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,875

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    I am a nuc proponent - but I think it matters greatly where you are located. Where I am in Maine, packages are certainly available much earlier than nucs. But those packages come from the South and a reasonable argument can be made that Southern bees aren't the best stock to have in the North. But some of our nucs come from the South too.

    What I would do if I were you is try to find nucs that were over wintered in your area. That way you at least know the bees should do well in your area.

    The big disadvantage to nucs? You are getting comb from another operation and you potentially risk getting diseases along with the bees. The big advantage - 4 or 5 drawn frames with brood in all stages of development and a queen that has shown she can lay.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Goochland, VA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    I took a bee class this past spring and our state apiarist recommends local Nucs. If you look at the growth curve of both, a Nuc will put you ahead in the spring. With packages your hive must build foundation be before the queen can start laying, thus you lose about 2/3 of the hive before you start rebuilding workers, that brings a 12,000 bee package down to about 4,000 bees before they start hatching, and still have comb to be building. With a Nuc you have comb, eggs, larva, freshly hatched, and field bees. The growth even though gotten later is immediate.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    East S.F. Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    I've never started a package as our three hives are the result of a gift colony and two swarms. I remember reading many posts here through the spring when it was package season about hived packages absconding and queens being quickly superceded, setting the hive back by weeks. Given those, I personally would only use a package as a last resort.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    1,991

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    I agree with Andrew about locally overwintered nucs. That would be be my first choice. You will have a small working colony ready to explode at the first nectar flow.

    My second choice might be something I haven't tried, that is sort of what I call a "package nuc" where bees are shaken into a nuc box with frames of brood and honey and a caged queen is placed in the nuc for you to introduce when you set the frames in the hive. I don't know what the actual name of this type of nuc is or if it even has one. I was surprised last year when club members were discussing buying this type of nuc since I never heard of it. It doesn't seem like an actual nuc to me. Though it has all the components of a nuc, it lacks the "hive cohesiveness" that an actual working nuc would have

    Last choice, though the one I'll use again next spring because of the number I need, will be packages. Last year they were disappointing. I requeened the ones I kept here in Maine with northern-bred Carniolans. This year, I should have queens ready to requeen the new packages a lot earlier than last year. Live and learn. If you order packages from away, check around for a locally bred queen from a reputable local breeder and requeen your packaged hive early.

    Not one to waste anything, a couple of the stronger Italian queens from the southern packages spent the summer in nucs where the bees produced a nice quantity of comb until they were combined and given a new queen to overwinter.

    Wayne

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,724

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    There is a very good article in the latest edition of Bee Culture on exactly this topic.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Quapaw OK USA
    Posts
    262

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    I have had both and I would recomend the Nuc but the cost wil be a little more but I think it is worth the difference.but what ever you do I would recomend 2 of the same. This way you can compare with each other.Someone else might have a different idea tho. But also get envolved with a local bee club first. Check with your local County Ag agent and get ideas for your area

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,594

    Default Re: Nucs or Package Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamlar View Post
    Can someone please explain to me what the difference is between ordering a "NUC" or Package Bees & a Queen? Which way would you recommend a Brand New Beginner go?
    Pamlar

    Pamlar,

    Often, it is recommended that a "Brand New Beginner" start two hives when possible. That's what I had done... and I was glad, because one didn't make it to spring.

    With all the equipment to buy, it can be pricey, but you could start one from a nuc and one from a package, and experience both.

    The first decision you must make is what size boxes you want to be using.

    A good number of us are using all 8-frame mediums.

    When I first started, I was tempted to try "Small Cell", so I bought two sc nucs... (search "small cell" and do some reading). For me I don't make any claims about SC, and I don't enter any debates over it. I just use all SC frames and foundation. I won't mention "narrow frames"...




    Having said all of that, I regret somewhat, wanting what I had come to believe was the perfect setup: Small Cell, Russian bees, in all 8-frame equipment. Shipping/insurance issues and delays took a lot of fun out of my first year.

    Finding nucs of "local bees" in the frame size you want may be the best thing you could do.

    Click on the "Community" link on this page, than "Member List"... to the right you'll see "Search Members". Click that and then go to "Advanced Search". Entering "Oklahoma" in location returns the following results:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/memb...eld2=Oklahoma+

    An "OK" search returns:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/memb...rt=posts&pp=30

    Sorting by # of posts reveals the most active Beesource members... one of which is Velbert who appears to have some nice queens.

    http://www.vlwbeesantu.shopfactory.c.../en-us/d1.html

    I think you could send a Private Message or email to any member and they would be happy to help you get started.

    Good luck.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

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