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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Roseville, CA
    Posts
    109

    Default Nucs versus Packages?

    I know, an age old question and it certainly depends upon the person and the goals of their apiary.

    I am growing my beeyard from 3 to 20 this year and I wanted to get some opinions on one versus the other.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,839

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Nucs will have drawn comb, which is a big plus for some that do not have a store of drawn combs to start a package out on.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    I'd go with a Nuc as well. Established queen, easier to deal with, ready to go.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,071

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Try to find a supplier who supplies true nucs. That is a nuc with a queen that has been resident with those bees in that nuc.
    If you can find "over-wintered" nucs that is the best.

    Some make up nucs on Monday with some bees and drop a queen in. On Friday they sell it as a nuc. These are rip offs because the queen will be superceded just like most packages.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater,TN
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    I agree with nucs are an easier and better way to start because of drawn comb and what should be established, acquainted bees. But if numbers are all you are wanting to increase and you are worried about getting honey this first year you can get more packages for the money. My first couple of years all I did was packages and I didn't have a very high survival rate but that could have been rookie mistakes. One plus of packages over nucs is you are starting fresh on new comb. Most honeybee disease is in the comb and when you buy nucs you are hoping they are disease free but ask questions because you don't want to introduce something bad into your bee yard. Maybe that sounds like I am pro package I'm not I like nucs but just giving you something to think about with fresh wax and clean slate.
    Major

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,241

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    How much do you want to spend? You should be able to expand from 3-20 just by expanding those overwintered hives, taking splits from them and adding queens.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,057

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Try a few of each and split the hives you have you should learn a lot that way.
    I bought packages just to try them they do build fast if you pour the feed to them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,541

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Nucs are best because there's brood in all stages and young bees are emerging. No crisis caused by a shortage of nurse bees, which is one of the major hurdles that package bees have to overcome.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    I agree with Michael P. Nucs are ahead of the ball game. They have drawn comb (which takes resources to build), brood in all stages (which require resources to raise), and honey and pollen stores(which take time and energy to gather.) They cost a bit more, but are superior.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    763

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Packages seem to have gone down hill some in the last few years, now they seem to almost always supercede , which sets them back that much farther behind a Nuc. A well established nuc will out perform a nuc-age (a thrown together nuc )
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    split your 3 hives. there you have 6. buy 6 nucs and you have 12. buy 6 packages you will have 18. and im pretty sure you will get at least 2 swarms. CATCH THEM. shazam you have 20 and coverd all bases. and then you can tell us whats best. i caught a swarm thats how i started. then i bought a nuc. this year i want to buy some packages ,just to find out for myself.
    thats the way i roll.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Split and buy queens.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    I believe the saying that all beekeeping is local, which for my location means it makes great sense to buy overwintered nucs from a reputable breeder. Mike's point about various growth phases and nurse bees proves true to me as the nucs tend to explode about a month after hiving them. To minimize swarming, I then take frames, add a queen and make another nuc for the next season. Now I have a hive AND a nuc–all with bees proven to overwinter. Makes economical sense plus I know some of the production and treatment history, as well.

    John
    7 yrs, 6 hives, TF for 6 years, small cell, moved to OAV this fall.
    www.honeymeadowfarm.com, www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Bozeman, Montana
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by Major View Post
    I agree with nucs are an easier and better way to start because of drawn comb and what should be established, acquainted bees. But if numbers are all you are wanting to increase and you are worried about getting honey this first year you can get more packages for the money. My first couple of years all I did was packages and I didn't have a very high survival rate but that could have been rookie mistakes. One plus of packages over nucs is you are starting fresh on new comb. Most honeybee disease is in the comb and when you buy nucs you are hoping they are disease free but ask questions because you don't want to introduce something bad into your bee yard. Maybe that sounds like I am pro package I'm not I like nucs but just giving you something to think about with fresh wax and clean slate.
    Major
    You also have control over the type and condition of the frames involved.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    728

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    In 1962, I was in your situation. I ordered what is probably called Old World Carniolans nowadays, NOT the modern New World Carniolans, the former swarmed more than any other race at the time, very hard to control them. The New World Carniolans no longer have that prodigious swarming tendency. I was able to increase in one summer from 3 hives to 18 just by splitting and their natural swarming tendency. Am suggesting that since there are some queen breeders that seem to be offering lately that old Carniolan stock, (not sure if they still have that "awful" swarming tendency) that you might try them. You can always switch back to the New World Carniolans or some other race when you no longer need the swarms. OMTCW

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Nucs are a more "secure" way to start - less chance of absconding, supercedure, faster buildup due to presence of brood, etc. That said, large packages hived into drawn comb can expand almost as fast. Nucs seem to have a bit of inertia to overcome - they have adapted to life on five frames, and it takes them a while to realize they have more space and start expanding. Packages, with enough feed, draw comb like gangbusters.

    Packages are also a bit more standardized than nucs. A 3# package will have three pounds of bees. A five-frame nuc will have five frames, but might be jammed with bees or have only enough to cover two frames.

    My choice would be to use packages to repopulate deadouts (or any hive with drawn comb) and nucs/splits to establish new hives on foundation.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    GOOD LORD there you have it. almost 50 ways to have bees. and we are just getting started.
    thats the way i roll.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    17 Packages $1615.00
    17 Nucs $ 2210.00

    $600.00 difference to end up with the exact same thing....enough said.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Farmington, NM
    Posts
    736

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    17 Packages $1615.00
    17 Nucs $ 2210.00

    $600.00 difference to end up with the exact same thing....enough said.
    Plant Hardiness Zone 6B, 5300 ft., Bee Zone A/B, Proverbs 24:13
    https://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/2RBeeFarm

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: Nucs versus Packages?

    Actually 1 5 frame nuc can be split into 2 hives so you would only need 10 nucs to make 20 new hives. Also I WOULDN'T by all the nucs from the same yard. Better to get a mix of genetics up in there.

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