Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have a fixed amount of money to spend on bees so I don't get carried away. :) So I can get more packages, or fewer Nucs/singles. What do you reccomend?

My options seem to be singles at $86 (with equipment), nucs at $58 (frames only), and 2# packages at $47. The packages are Carniolans, which I'd prefer, and will get here about three weeks earlier. The nucs & singles are Italians, which I'm not as crazy about but am willing to try. All are from reliable breeders - I don't think I want to mess with Uncle Denny's discount mystery bees this time around.

I'm driving all my aquaintances batty with my agonizing over this, so I thought I'd consult here. I'm thinking that ideally I'd like three or four hives.

The packages are smaller than the standard 3 lb, but carniolans are supposed to build up faster (?). Packages are supposed to have a higher failure rate than nucs and singles. All my equipment is mediums, so if I buy a single, than I don't have to worry about buying an extra deep box and frames - it comes with that. If I got singles, I suppose I could divide if they were vigorous, and so get to my desired number of hives.

The local bee professor tells me I want packages, everyone else tells me I want nucs.

Aaarrgh. Too many variables! Please give me more advice to agonize over! More imput from the notoriously opinionated bee people would, actually, be realy helpful - everything else here is!

Thanks~

-Laura
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
848 Posts
I'd be looking close at the single's.how many frames & how strong are they? $28.00 diff- between them & the nuc's,couldn't buy the eq- for that.also if they are strong you can make split's from them. You could requeen the Italians if you don't like them. JMO.Mark
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
It will all work out to about the same thing in the long run. Don't worry so much. If you get the singles it's more likely you can do a split possibly on every hive if you want more hives. If you get the nucs you'll probably be able to do some splits, but not as many. If you get the packages you'll probably be able to do some splits but not as many as with the nucs.

If you really want to run all mediums then get the packages. I wouldn't buy a deep box at all, myself. They are TOO HEAVY. A deep full of honey is 90 pounds. A medium full of honey is 60 pounds. An eight frame medium full of honey is 48 pounds.

Don't worry. Be happy. They all work fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
711 Posts
Only down side to packages is the slow start. I doubt you will be able to split a package the first year(some will but most won't). My 3 medium frame nucs I made up out did what my packages did by far. So if these are 5 deep frames they will build up even faster. But like MB I never want another deep box. The singles you listed are the best amount of bees for the price. You can leave the deeps on the bottom and in a couple years when you get the number of hives you want you can sell the deeps off as singles to another beekeeper or someone starting out. A deep full of bees can be split the day you get them. Timing would help if you had queens ready to put int the splits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
>Don't worry so much.

But the worrying can be kinda fun too... :)

See, I knew you all would be really helpful! It looks like two singles would be best - the most stable and the best chance at getting some honey this year - the main problem being the equipment issue. I do want, in the long run, to have all mediums. My husband is supportive, but definately hands-off, and the toddler won't be much help either, so I better be able to handle things myself.

>You can leave the deeps on the bottom and in a >couple years when you get the number of hives you >want you can sell the deeps off as singles to >another beekeeper or someone starting out.

That sounds like a good plan. This website also has lots of really good ideas for phasing out the deeps.

>A deep full of bees can be split the day you get them.

Really! I don't know if I could manage that; the singles are two hours south and the queens I want are two hours north, but I could probably manage to do it within a couple weeks. And you never know the weather in April anyway.

So, if a single is ready to split, I probably ought to give it an extra box as soon as I put it in the beeyard, right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,368 Posts
I'd go with the packages.

1 You get the type of bees you want.

2 You get the size boxes you want.

3 You get the number of hives you want for $16 more. (4x47=188) vs. (2x86=172) I don't think you can split the singles for $16.

4 You won't be buying comb from someone. Even if it doesn't have foulbrood, it will probably have been treated with Checkmite, which builds up in the wax.

5 A package started three weeks earlier should be close to nuc strength around the time the nucs would arrive.

This is assuming you have drawn comb, then a 2# package has a decent chance of producing SOME honey the first year. If you don't have drawn comb of your own, then the nucs or singles get more attractive.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>So, if a single is ready to split, I probably ought to give it an extra box as soon as I put it in the beeyard, right?

If all the frames are drawn and mostly full, yes, you'll need a second box.

Another way to convert to mediums more quickly would be to split them and put medium frames in the remaining spots. Later you can cut the comb off the bottom of the medium frames and put them into a medium box. Or you can put the deeps in a nuc box on top of a medium box.

I think it will all work out fine anyway you go. But dcross covered the advantages to the packages.

Another issue for me is where are the packages coming from? Are you picking them up? If so they will probably be in pretty good shape. Are they being mailed? If so, then it's more unpredictable. They might show up in good shape or they might show up entirely dead or anything in between. I've seen them all. If I have to get the packages through the mail, I prefer the nucs or singles just because they are more of a sure thing.

But if you are picking the packages up, I think the packages on all mediums will keep things simpler for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
>Almost forgot: Feed, feed, feed!

Check!

>Are you picking them up?

Yep, my options are all pick-ups from nearby companies - I've heard enough stories about the things that can go wrong with packages through the mails. And I like all the Postal Service people around here, and since our business is really helped by the friendly postal folks, I don't really want to tick them off!

Issue - I have no drawn comb whatsoever. And I'm working with plastic frames, to boot. I suppose I ought to try to beg some drawn comb from somebody at the beekeeper's meeting? Then again, the disease issue comes up.

If I could get them around the same time (it looks like the nucs/singles may be arriving earlier than I thought) I suppose I could get one single and borrow from that to build up packages...

Thanks for all your input! I love the idea of getting _some_ honey the first year with a single, but dcross has made a convincing argument for packages as well. I bet I'll end up getting a combination, just for the fun of it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Isaberg,

I'm starting bees this year and I'm going with packages on foundation in mediums. My back just won't handle the weight of the deeps anymore and I like having all the same size equipment for interchangability.

Ron
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
581 Posts
Don't worry about not having drawn comb. You may not get a crop this year but if you feed until they won't take anymore the bees will be fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
I take whatever I can get!

I had some old 6" fence boards, so I made shallows. I got some used equip that was a mix of shallows, mediums, and deeps, bottom boards, and outer covers. I'll have to be making inner covers, though, as the previous beekeeper didn't use them. I'll also experiment with some migratory covers. Super size really doesn't matter, as mediums and shallows are all for honey anyway, and the deeps for brood. I don't want to be mixing brood frames with honey frames, hence the NEED for different sizes there. I don't want to be labeling every brood frame to avoid mixups. And as I said, if I can get free wood, like old fence boards, who cares what size the boxes are? Mediums are easier just because I have to make and extract fewer frames per lb of honey harvested. Deeps are just too heavy for honey supers. Plus the wood gets harder to find free and is more expensive to buy in that width.

I'll be getting four nucs this spring, and will be splitting these and my three existing hives - if all live through the winter - to get up to a projected 15 hives by years' end. Then, I'll plan on selling nucs for spring pickup and replenishing my hive numbers after winter. I'll overwinter nucs over a double-screen board over established hives to repopulate winter losses and spring splits will be for sale.

justgojumpit

justgojumpit
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
Thats a really reasonable price for a single this time of year.Id just buy one single and a couple queens and divide,if you feed heavy,treat for mites,etc.there should be no problem.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top