Nucleus or package
We supply 5 frame nucs of bees on all of the common frame types. All nucs are supplied in a ventilated transport box and all frames are less than 3 years old. Nucs come with a current year laying queen and 5 frames containing brood in all stages as well as honey and pollen stores. The main advantages of a nuc compared to a package is that there is less potential for things to go wrong with the installation of a nuc (especially for a new beekeeper). Having eggs and larvae present is a great safety net - if any queen problems develop as a result of transport or beekeeper error then a nucleus of bees is usually capable of requeening itself. A nucleus will also build up into a full sized colony faster than a package because the population of a package decreases for at least 3 weeks after hiving due to the 21 days it takes new eggs to emerge as a worker.
By the end of the year as long as all goes well there isn't usually much difference between a new package or new nuc. Both will build up into strong colonies and neither is likely to produce much crop in the first year unless you are lucky enough to live near some heather or the season is very good.
In the wild bees reproduce by swarming, this is a process that bees are perfectly adapted for and have used for millions of years. When you buy a package from us you are essentially buying a swarm of bees. Our 3lb packages of bees consist of approximately 12,000 bees complete with a current year laying queen.
A package is cheaper than a nuc because you aren't buying the 5 frames and combs that come with a nucleus. Package bees can also be placed into any type of hive. So if you have a non standard or less common variety of hive e.g. a warre or top bar hive then package bees are the easiest way of stocking your hive.
One advantage of package bees is that they are almost certain to be disease free. You don't have to worry about any of the bacterial or fungal diseases that are transmitted in combs and honey. Added to this a package can be sprayed with Api Bioxal (free of charge) before collection, this will kill approximately 95% of the varroa mites on the bees without doing the bees too much harm. Unfortunately Api Bioxal is ineffective on nucs because it can't kill the varroa mites in sealed brood (which is where most of them are located).
Hill House, Birchover, Nr. Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 2BN. Tel: 01629 650457 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org