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

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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.
 

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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. :)
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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>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. :)
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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 :)
 
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