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Well, it doesn't seem that buying nucs is as simple as I'd hoped. After some discussion with a couple of fellows who know what they're doing, it's clear that one size does not fit all. I've been counciled to check on several things such as how well established the nucs are, how long the queen has been installed, whether the brood is hers or has just been pulled from a hive and plunked into a box with bees, how many frames are in the nuc and full, how many bees are in the nuc, etc. For someone who has only purchased packages and captured swarms it's a bit intimidating. I'd really like some nucs, but don't want to buy a pig in a poke. Anyone have any more advice on how to be an informed buyer?
 

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Ask the actual size of the nuc. This is normally in terms of frames but a few like me make medium size frame nucs. Ask if they raised the queen or purchased the queen and about strain. I would want the nuc established with the new queen and all brood being hers so I know she is doing good. I also want small cell and no treatments but that is me.
 

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How much are you paying and how many frames of brood and what type of queen your getting would be all Id worry about.A frame of brood equals awhole lot of young bees.
 

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Two or three years ago I bought four nucs from an experianced beekeeper here in the city. My idea of a nuc was three frames of brood and two of honey and pollen. It turned out that his idea was three frames of brood, honey and pollen.

The deal was $38 each plus my queens. One went queenless, two superceeded, and one preformed like an overwintered hive. As a matter of fact, that one is one of my strongest hives right now. Last weekend I pulled a frame out for a queenless hive, and I saw the original marked queen.

I think I would have done better if I had just split my own hives.

As far as being an informed buyer, go to the yard, pull the covers and the frames and inspect before you seal them up to take home. don't accept anything that you hadn't agreeded upon before hand. Spell it out very clear what you expect.
 

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I agree that you need to agree on just what you are getting, but, at least for me, I don't worry about inspecting each nuc. I just limit the people I buy from to folks that are expirienced bee keepers and have a reputation for honesty. Maybe I'll get burned someday, but so far, so good.

BubbaBob
 
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