buying nucs or established colonies?
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  1. #1
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    Sep 2017
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    Bowie, Texas , USA
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    Default buying nucs or established colonies?

    I am new to beekeeping I have been reading up some I have not purchased anything yet. I found a couple of people that sell bees around me one guy is selling nucs for $150 or there is another guy that is selling complete established colonies double brood boxes for $250 the established colonies are hybrid Italian bees and I don't know what type the nucs are which would be better for a beginner I am planning on buying in the spring. If I get the nuc I am going to order a brood and super combo which is 135 on Mann lake right now.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Ukraine, the edge
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Depends on your budget and woodworking skills/tools.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Bowie, Texas , USA
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Both of those are In my budget but at the top for a hive and bees because I still have to buy accessories. The hive from Mann lake is completely assembled and painted and free shipping. My woodworking skills are average with a decent amount of tools.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    4,646

    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Find out more about the bees and how they treat. Go take a look. If you can find TF/resistant bees you might be better off in the long run, even if need to treat.

  6. #5
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    May 2017
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    Traverse City, MI
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    I'm thinking if the established colony is a complete hive, with all frames drawn with comb, than the cost is worth it, not having to buy the hardware, plus you are not out the time it takes the bees to draw comb in the brood boxes. Seems like you would stack your supers on, and let them rip...Be sure to keep them closed up for at least 72 hours after relocation.

  7. #6
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    Sep 2017
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    Bowie, Texas , USA
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    If both places have healthy bees and things look well taken care of which would be better I think the guy selling the nucs is just starting selling bees and the guy selling the complete hive appears to know what he is doing and has been doing it awhile but that was just talking on the phone.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    "Be sure to keep them closed up for at least 72 hours after relocation. "

    ??????? WHAT ????

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Ukraine, the edge
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    blm, if both in your budget, go for a colony. You will have chance to "catch" spring flow. I hope you wouldn't take a risk to overwinter by yourself.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    2,491

    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    Go take a look.
    And I would add; find your local club and visit some of their hives. Bees look different the 3rd ,4th and 5th time you look at them up close and personal.

    It is tough to run a single hive, think about how and when you are going to get that second hive.
    One hive is like wearing one shoe.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jospehine County, Oregon
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    261

    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    You can pay 200 for a 5 frame nuc

    or

    250 for a 20 frame hive...if this is strong you can make 8 nucs, requeened for 250 for a total of 500+-
    vs 1600 for 8 nucs

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default

    I will give a little different perspective here. Both sound like good deals. Yes an established Colony will get you up and running quickly. However, if you want to learn about bees I think it is a very valuable experience to see how a colony develops. This knowledge will be invaluable to you in the future if you get more hives or do a split. I also second the motion to get two nucs if you can afford it. It will alert you to a potential problem if one colony is weaker than the other. It will also allow you to steal resources from a strong hive to help a struggling hive. Welcome to beekeeping. J

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Find out all you can about both colonies before making a decision. For instance, how old is the queen in the double? Is it a double deep? This seems like a REALLY good deal to me if the hardware is included. Don't wait till Spring to place your order or you might find them both sold out DO NOT keep them closed up for 72 hours, or you will open up a surprise.
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Well, because everybody has one, opinion that is. If I was starting over - order your protective gear and look in the Build It section of BS to see if building hive woodware is within your skill level. If so you have your winter project - build 3 hives; if not, order 2. Find a local bee club and mentor or at least a bee buddy; find and talk to a local beekeeper, most will allow you to tag along when they work their hives for a bit of "bee exposure."
    As said above, come spring go with the nuc, the education (worry and frustration comes with no additional charge) they provide you will return more bang for your buck. Take the other hive(s) you built/bought and set out some swarm traps.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  15. #14
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    May 2017
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    Traverse City, MI
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    I thought if you move a hive, you should keep it closed up, ventilated of course, for a period of time so the bees will re-orientate themselves to a new location...is this not true?

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Can't say it doesn't work but I dislike locking hives down without a really good reason, too easy to cook them.

    Obstructing the entrance "flight path" with a leafy branch or leaning an inner cover in front works for reorienting hives. You're still going to have some of the foragers returning to the old location, your choice on how you deal with them. I find obstructing the entrance to be less effective for reorienting/preventing foragers in splits from returning to the donor hive when you leave the split in the same yard.

    With the distance a purchased nuc is likely to be moved I wouldn't feel it necessary to "force reorientation." The foragers will know the location has changed the second they leave the hive and don't recognize any of the landmarks, they'll reorientate on their own..
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  17. #16
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    Sep 2017
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    Bowie, Texas , USA
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    Default

    Would a entrance reducer do the same thing as the grass?

  18. #17
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    May 2017
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    Traverse City, MI
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    I guess I got the 72 hour thing from From Mr. Bush.

    "Reorientation
    When bees fly out of the hive, normally, they pay no attention to where they are. They know where they live and don’t even consider it. When they fly back they look for familiar landmarks and follow them home. They orient when they first leave the hive but only certain conditions cause them to reorient after that. One is confinement. Any confinement will cause some. 72 hours causes about the maximum reorientation. After that it’s difficult to tell the difference. A blockage of the exit causes reorientation. People sometime stuff the entrance with grass. This combines the act of removing it, which sets off reorientation, with some confinement, which causes some reorientation. An obvious obstruction that causes them to deviate from their normal exit will set off reorientation. A branch or a board in front of the entrance that causes them to have to fly around it, will cause them to pay attention to where they are"

    http://bushfarms.com/beesmoving.htm

  19. #18
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    Jun 2012
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    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
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    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Again, the correct answer is D: It Depends.

    It depends on how far you move them, or if it's a new split.

    If not far, you need to do something to get the foragers' attention as they leave.

    I've always found that pulling up some grass and throwing it against the entrance is good, since the grass will dry out in a day or two and the wind will blow it away.

    As someone else said, a leafy branch or an inner cover leaned against the hive will cause the foragers notice that something is different.

    For a new split, I would definitely move it at least a half-mile plus do the above.

    and no, I don't think a reducer would do the job.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Clinton, Michigan, USA
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    452

    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    Quote Originally Posted by blm View Post
    I am new to beekeeping I have been reading up some I have not purchased anything yet. I found a couple of people that sell bees around me one guy is selling nucs for $150 or there is another guy that is selling complete established colonies double brood boxes for $250 the established colonies are hybrid Italian bees and I don't know what type the nucs are which would be better for a beginner I am planning on buying in the spring. If I get the nuc I am going to order a brood and super combo which is 135 on Mann lake right now.
    Both seem to be priced reasonably from what I've noticed lately. The double deep gives you 20 frames vs only 5 for only $100 more. However I think this is a poor idea for someone with no experience. Not only do you miss the experience gained from observing them grow for a season more importantly you will not have the experience to successfully maintain a full blown colony.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
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    907

    Default Re: buying nucs or established colonies?

    First and foremost, I would NOT buy in the fall. Buy in the Spring (which I think you said you would do).

    Next, I would be skeptical of a guy who sells two brood box hive (overwintered) for $250 in spring if the Spring Nucs (5 frame) are going for $150. Doesnt make sense.
    So pay extra attention.

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