Buying bees, packages or nucs?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by R Dewhurst, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. R Dewhurst

    R Dewhurst New Member

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    I was wondering what the best approach would be in you alls eyes. Plus where is a local source for bees in indiana? Prepping the grounds for them now. getting ready to put clover, vetch, and goldenrod in the ground. Lacy phacelia next spring.
     
  2. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I don't have a lot of experience but if my swarm from this year and the nuc I bought last may are any indication of the difference in a nuc and a package. A nuc is the only way to go for me. From everythign I have read it seems to me a package woudl be a step down from the swarm and this swarm did not do much of anything this year. I am not sure if it is the bees or that this is their first year. But they just will not do much of anything. It seems to me that by the time they got it all together to start working their was nothing left to work on. The nuc set to work as soon as the entrance was opened and never looked back. It is now 8 times it's original size.
     

  3. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    A 4 frame nuc has approx 8000 bees a 2 lb package also has 8000 bees and a 3lb has 12000 bees.
    The advantage with a nuc especial for a new beekeeper is with a nuc you get 4 or 5 drawn comb with brood in all stages. every frame of brood when the bees emerge cover 2 frames. So your 4 frame nuc goes from 4 frames of bees to 10 frames in the first 3 weeks thats 8000 to 20,000 bees. You will have lots of bees to draw foundation so the queen has more frames to lay in.
    With a package you will be starting out with foundation, the bees will have to draw out the comb before the queen can lay in it. It will be 4 weeks before the first of the brood emerges, the bees will only raise brood in the area that the bees can cover to keep warm. so in 4 weeks 8000 bees in 7 weeks 10 frames of bees less die off of old bees so most likely only 8 frames or 16,000 bees.
    if you have all drawn comb then the queen can have the frames laid in a few days and you will have a mass emergence of bee in the 3rd to 4th week and steady growth after that.

    Restocking drawn supers for the savings you could do alright with packages. Having to draw out comb definitely nuc, it gives you a 4 drawn comb head start on getting comb drawm and bees emerging.
     
  4. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    The quickest way to get started is to purchase an already established hive. Of course-this is also the most expensive, and you should beware that you are not inheriting someone elses problems i.e. SHB, heavy varroa infestation, etc. Whenever I see someone trying to sell an established hive the first thought that pops into my mind is "why is this beek getting rid of it?"
    The second quickest, and your best bet is to buy a 4 or 5 frame nuc. This way, you already have brood at all stages, including emerging. Not sure in Indiana where you are, but there are several producers-check out the Indiana State Beekeepers Association site at hoosierbuzz.com.
    Since you will be starting out with new equipment, the slowest-but cheapest-way for you to get started is to install a package. As Apisbees stated, the bees have to draw out comb on new foundation before the queen can even start laying. Me, and most other folks here on the forum advocate starting with 2 (or more) hives for various reasons. You can compare the performance and sometimes this will alert you to potential problems, also you can use a strong hive to sort of prop up a weaker hive.
    Good luck.
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    a nuc has a head start on a package.:thumbsup:
     
  6. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    As gunsmith said check Indiana State Beekeeper. They will have a list where you can buy bees. Also, ask around if the one you are looking into has good, strong bees. I bought 2 nucs this year and they are doing poorly.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Gunny says "Of course-this is also the most expensive,"

    You can buy a 10 frame hive full of bees, brood and comb for 200 or less. Can you buy a new setup and a 10 frame nuc with queen for that? Even a 5 frame nuc? Heck, even a package?
     
  8. R Dewhurst

    R Dewhurst New Member

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    Well, we did get one of dad's hives home tonight. ran out of time for me. The guy had a bar to block the entrance and it was a bit too long. It looked like the bees hit the fire alarm pouring out of that hive. Needless to say, I got my first 3 stings as officially working with bees. Very agressive hives this guy has. He says that they are all feral bees, he just can't do the work anymore for health reasons.
     
  9. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    So are you still looking for an answer to your original post? If so, the nearest supplier may be Graham's in Morgantown:
    http://www.grahamsbeeworks.com/
    Besides selling bees/queens, they sell equipment and are distributors for both Mann Lake and Kelley.
     
  10. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    BeeWeaver Apiaries in Texas sells a hive for $300.00. That sounds high, but is it. You get a 10 frame deep hive with all the frames full of honey, brood and bees, complete with bottom board, inner cover and telescoping outer cover. This is a hive that has over-wintered. It's time to install another super. A Mann Lakes started kit of this size is north of a hundred bucks. This hive will make honey and/or splits very quickly. So, is it too high?
     
  11. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    Kind of to high, a guy in our club is getting out of beekeeping because his doc told him too and selling his for $200 each and has 2 super on them, if it had been in the spring I would have grab all 4 he had. In fact he is selling everything he has for $1400. I may should have gotten every thing from him, may regret it later.

    kebee
     
  12. Sundance

    Sundance New Member

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    Buying an established hive is the best option, especially if you
    are aware of the methods used (chemical free, hygienic, etc).

    The second option would be a Nuc, again from a beekeeper you
    know the pedigree of the bees.

    Good luck
     
  13. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    A food healthy over-wintered nuc would be a good purchase. I bought three nucs this year, but they had been hastily assembled, and one of the queens was rejected. Get a nuc that has an established laying queen or a hive.
     
  14. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Who/where did you get your nucs from?
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I was wondering what the best approach would be in you alls eyes.

    tecumseh:
    there is no such thing as best..... if there was everyone would drive a Dodge.

    each choice has it + and - aspects and everyone should consider this and make some decision as to which choice would be 'the best for you'.

    I myself think every new bee keeper should attempt a packages of bees first simply because there is something almost magical about seeing a package of 10000 bees and 1 queen grow into a full scale hive. There are obvious and not so obvious benefits to a package which may include (ie the short list) limited initial disease problems and a package will encourage the new bee keepers to discover some feeding system that will work for them.

    ps.... I myself sell nucs and not packages.
     
  16. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have never bought a package. I bought a hive, then I bought nucs. They have been great nucs.
     
  17. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    I agree. If you are just starting out I would do both a package and a nuc if possible. You will learn much installing both. Packages can take off extremely quickly catching up with a nuc by late spring. A package acts like a swarm meaning they build comb quickly. If it comes down to money, I would choose the nuc over the package only because I can buy a nuc for less than a package. But if you can swing two hives, I would do both for the education. I've never been disappointed with a package but will go with a nuc from now on if I need more bees.
     
  18. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    One thing is for sure: I am not planning on buying any bees next spring. I just keep catching my swarms. Need to work on swarm prevention but I gather that is dodgy at best.

    I have never bought a package - didn't hear good things about them, and really don't have a lot of time to bee-sit in the spring.
     
  19. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Yep, I agree with that too :thumbsup:
     
  20. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Gypsi, I am thinking about a plan for next spring that splits the hive and gives the split a new queen. I will let both colonies build up for the summer then combine them back together in the fall with the best of the two queens. I hope to beat the swarm urge this way by basically producing an artificial swarm. I got the basic idea from teh video I mentioned about varroa treatment by splitting the hive. I am going to skip the tratment part but still like the double queen during the summer idea.

    I may just have a hive that swarms like crazy after the combine though.