Nuc or package?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Matt NY, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

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    Is there any benifit to getting a nuc versus three pounds of bees and a queen? It seems that the nuc is a better idea to my ignorant way of thinking.

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Mike...a little new to beekeeping here also. What do you mean by getting a nuc as opposed to a package? I know what a package is as that is what I got last spring. What do you mean by "getting a nuc"?
     

  3. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would say you want A nuc. A nuc by the way is A small hive with 5 frames The queen and Brood plus workers. By getting A nuc you are About 6 weeks Ahead as the queen is able to start laying sooner as opposed to A package where the workers have to draw comb , And you loose quite A few workers before the new ones are able to forage.. I hope this helps to clarify..
     
  4. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Matt,

    If you can get a well built Nuc, I would go that route, we currently have 10 wood and metal ones that we use for all sorts of things. Here are the advantages:

    1) Because ours have a metal (over wood) top with a soldered in place mesh feeder opening we can close the bees (from packages once you have the Nuc) in and feed them as they get settled. One risk you have when placing a package of bees in a hive is that the queen decides new digs are in order. Once she has started laying they are much less likely to bolt. That's what closing them in the nuc for a week or so allows.

    2) You can use the Nuc as something to set frames in when you are working hives.

    3) You can use the Nuc when doing splits.

    Those are just off the top of my head. If the Nucs available to you aren't well made you could always make your own out of cardboard

    As usual, jsut my 2 cents. I'll take a look and see if I can come up with any pictures to post that show our nucs.

    Mike
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee Well-Known Member

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    Mike, I think in most circles a nuc is considered to be occupied. What you are saying is correct except most people refer to that as a "nuc box" rather than a nuc.
     
  6. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Yes Iddee...that is what was confusing me. I have not learned of any suppliers around our place that sells 'nucs'. I was wondering if this was a common way of starting hives in other areas.

    One thing I like about buying a package is that you are starting fresh with little or, more likely, no disease and mite problems. If you buy a 'nuc' wouldn't you have to purchase from another apiary? How do you know there aren't disease and mite problems attached to your nuc? Just trying to learn something new.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee Well-Known Member

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    Disease, mites, small hive beetles, ETC. can travel either way. A package can go through the post office, but you will have about 4 weeks before the first young bee emerges. You have no drawn comb with a package. A nuc must be picked up, it cannot be mailed, but you will have bees emerging immediately. You will also be starting with 5 frames of drawn comb with brood, honey, and pollen. There are pros and cons with both. The nuc is sort of like having a package that was installed 6 weeks prior to picking it up.

    I hope this helps. If you have more questions, ask away. Some of us here should be able to answer them for you.
     
  8. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

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    I would be picking these up at BetterBee. The Nuc with a Carniolan Queen is $74 and the package of 3 # comes with an Italian Queen and is $64. The will loan out their Nuc boxes with a small deposit. Another angle for consideration is that the Nucs can't be picked up until May 10, while the packages can be picked up on April 15. Any thoughts on that? Order taking begins today so I need to decide. Thanks for the comments.

    Matt
     
  9. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For $11.00 bucks difference GO With the Nuc, They are with stores and A laying Queen, No guess work, You are coming out Ahead with the Nucs.
     
  10. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Iddee,

    I understand I am extolling the virtues of the Nuc box. But if Matt is asking what the difference is (in deciding which to get) then all the points I made still apply. Matt could always get the Nuc box from one place and the package from another. Six of one half a dozen of another.

    Matt, waiting till may to pick up the Nuc works in your favor (all other things being equal). You are less likely to worry about sudden freezes, lack of forage, etc.

    Mike
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee Well-Known Member

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    MIKE, I agree.
     
  12. Haoleboy

    Haoleboy Active Member

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    The general concensus is to go with the nuc. Make sure that the seller gives you a new queen in the nuc, not the old one from when they split a hive to make them. I've heard of people buying splits and getting an iffy queen because the supplier didn't requeen them all in the spring. Better safer than sorry and worth the weird look one might get when asking the question.
     
  13. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some of the nuc guys also wait until they see eggs before giving you a call or shipping it off. Another plus for nucs over package bees.

    Nucs are a mini hive with the queen in there doing her queen thing with the colony. Package bees are a box of bees with a queen in a cage. The colony is not working in packages, the queen does not always get out of her cage, and isn't always accepted when she does.

    There'd have to be a very strong reason for me to buy packages over nucs.
     
  14. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    I bought two 3 pound packages of bees from Gorbs in Onstead Michigan in 2003. Both had to be killed off and equipemnt burned because they were sick with AFB. So don't think you will get clean bees from packages. At least with nukes you can look at the capped brood before buying.
    Also just because I had this one experance doesn't mean you can't get healthy bees in a package. the point was you CAN get sick bees in packages.

    :D Al
     
  15. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad that my thinking went along with those that posted on this. It seemed like a common sense thing, but being new to bees I know that there are plenty of things that I don't know and therefore could not factor in.

    So the difference in almost a month still outweighs the Nuc v. package, as I understand the consensus. Is this correct?

    Something about a swarm in May and a load of hay comes to mind.

    Thanks ever so much. You'll be hearing from me again before long as this is a totally new and exciting prospect for me.

    Matt
     
  16. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Well...this was very informative. I ordered my package from the local honey producer co-op. The package came all the way from New Zealand as I am told that the border is still closed between Canada and the U.S. for bee traffic. Bees were and are (I hope) still healthy. It is hard to tell because they are all wrapped up right now. Had a slow start due to freezing weather in spring...the nuc definately would have helped there. Good luck with your nuc this spring!!
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee Well-Known Member

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    A swarm in may is worth a load of hay.
    A swarm in june is worth a silver spoon.
    A swarm in july ain't worth a fly.

    Is this what you were referring too? ;)

    It's true, in most areas.
     
  18. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    I'd also go with a nuc. It's already 'settled in'.
    Here, for some reason a nuc is $125 and a package is $225, Canadian dollars. Not only do I want a nuc, but they are WAY cheaper. Rules are strict here, bees sold must be guaranteed pest free. Bees sold must be inspected by the province.
     
  19. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    If you have the chance, Nuc's are much better than packages. To save the deposit, take a box with you to pick them up (go down the night before if possible), and move their frames into your box. (put the frames in the middle of the hive). You can seal it then and take it back or have them seal it in the morning when you pick it up.

    It gives you a good chance to look over the frames (make sure you've got brood and some honey), and saves you moving them and returning the Nuc Box.

    Buying package is just like catching a swarm (except you know what the queen is)... catch a swarm, and requeen and you have the same thing (except the swarm is probably larger than 3 pounds). Only thing is being at the right place at the right time (or have some friends call about a swarm) to catch a swarm. All but 1 of the swarms I've got over the years were my own bees swarming.

    Pat
     
  20. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    In case your looking for any more Nukes from New York.

    Kutik's Honey Farm.
    http://kutikshoney.com/nucs/bees_for_sale.htm
    285 Lyon Brook Rd. Norwich, NY 13815 607-336-4105, Fax: 607-895-6298
    (In March and April we are usually in South Carolina: 843-558-0133)
    Four frame nucs are $53 and five frame nucs are $57 to be picked up in Norwich NY. There is a $10 deposit on the nuc boxes, returnable when the boxes are returned in good condition.

    We are searching for Northern Itialian queens and five frame nukes. We would like some thing closer to Michigasn than New York.

    :D Al