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Re: e) Buying nuc vs. package bees

Buzz

IMO the risk of disease is less with packages. Packages only come from commercial producers, it is very easy to research what sources people have good luck with and what sources to avoid. With a nuc it is more important to get a good recommendation for a supplier... Anybody can raise a nuc and they may be full of disease.

If I wanted to purchase a nuc as somebody who was new to beekeeping I would ask on here who to go with. Buy from the members who have a long history on the forum and frequent posts. It shows that they have a reputation with the forum which they value so they are less likely to sell a bad product that word of will resurface on the forum. Members with few posts and/or a short history can just as easily sell a bad product and then resurface under a new user name.

Avoid searching for random websites when looking for nucs... you never know what you will get. I know of one person selling "Northern Survivor" stock at a premium, but on their website it states that their mother queens come from a supplier in Southern California. There are all kinds of shady deals out there... which is why I would only go with good recommendations from either this site or your local bee association.
 

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Re: e) Buying nuc vs. package bees

The woman giving the presentation said they knew they were because they were not only very aggressive, but would follow people over 200 feet from the hive and not stop the attack. That is all I know....
I agree with Beyond the sidewalks. I have had bees that would follow for a lot farther than 200 ft and most certainly were not Africanized. Many hybrids are often that aggressive, 2nd and 3rd gen Buckfast are often un-manageable because they are so hot.
 

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Re: e) Buying nuc vs. package bees

I have dealt with Africanized genetics in the past, they were pretty unmanageable. I have also dealt with an occasional mean hive which often mimicked AHB pretty closely. I would mark them as a hive that needed requeened but often it would not even be noticeable the next time it was opened. A number of factors can trigger mean behavior in a hive such as skunks, weather, shade, how often they were opened or even how they were opened. The only way I know for sure if a hive has AHB genetics is a lab test but a pretty good guess can be made by observing a hive for a period of time taking into consideration the likelihood that AHB could be present in your area.
 

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Re: e) Buying nuc vs. package bees

My thoughts also as to who conducted the tests to confirm the AHB??
And how is it that package bees can not or could not have a queen mated with AHB drones?
 

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Re: e) Buying nuc vs. package bees

Over the years I've bought Nuc's and packages and I'm convinced a Nuc is the way to go. (just my personal opinion of course) Most of the packages I've bought have suffered a lot during shipping and are weakened coming out of the gate and have a lot to overcome just to get ready for winter.

However, I purchased a package of Carni's from CF Kohnen (sp?) and they are one of the best hives I've ever had. They built up the first year into a booming 2 deep colony and brought in plenty of stores for themselves and a little for me too. They are doing great this spring too and I'm planning a split of that hive soon.

I think one of the best bee deals is to contact the local bee keeping club. There is almost always someone in the group that sells Nucs and you get bees accustomed to your area and ready to work.
 

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Re: e) Buying nuc vs. package bees

Nucs are great because of fast buildup, and the good possibility of surplus honey the first year. The con(s): Possible harboring of diseases/mites, and can be a bit more expensive than a package.
Packages are great too. No brood, so little to no mites, and the likelyhood of disease is almost nothing. Lower prices than nucs most times. Con(s): Slower build up, and having to introduce the queen to these "strange" bees. :)
 

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Re: e) Buying nuc vs. package bees

All I can say is, in my two years, the hives started from nucs and splits have prospered, and the ones started from packages have dwindled. That's just my experience.
 

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One thing package buyers need is a drawn frame of comb to get the colony off to a good start. Putting a package into a hive with empty frames is a real stress producer. The package also needs syrup to feed them immediately.
 

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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

packages need at least one frame of drawn comb preferably 3. this will make all the difference between success and failure.
 
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