Ok here's a slight twist on the nuc vs. package issue.
I'm getting started in queen rearing, I did a little grafting last year, and managed to raise about 15 queens. I'm aiming for 100 this year.
I'll probably have 8 hives come spring, and I've ordered 4 nucs to replace some fall losses due to bears, so twelve altogether, not really enough to fill mating nucs without seriously depleting the population.
So this is the question, I want to buy some bees to fill mating nucs. I'm figuring about 30 nucs, and I had planned to get 6 packages of italians the first week of april, let them build up in single deeps until late May and then toss the italian queens and divide the deeps up into mating nucs (2 frames each).
Or, I could spring for local overwintered nucs which are probably available the first week May, but then I wouldn't want to throw out the queens.