What is the difference between a package, started package and a nuc?

Typically there are a few ways to buy your bee’s. Packages, started packages or Nuc’s.
Packages – Come in various sizes, typically 2# or 3# and will include a queen and a feeder for their trip. They are made by shaking bee’s off of frames into a funnel down into a box with screen (package).

    -Pro’s – Package bee’s can be put into any type of hive, Top Bar, Lang, Warre etc… They include a young mated queen. Studies indicate that because there is no brood, this can break the mite cycle. They are easy to ship, and they are less expensive.
    -Con’s – Take longer to get established and get brood rearing and new foragers started. Need to be fed (sugar water, or known origin honey) to get started drawing comb. The bee’s themselves will all be from different hives and the queen may also be from yet a different hive. There is a chance they may abscond (leave the hive) if they do not like the hive box, or feel it is not a suitable home. There is a chance for chilled brood in early spring due to the weather. This may in turn slow things down considerably. There is also a chance that if you do not release the queen properly, that the bee’s may kill the queen.

Started Packages – Is special offering from us.  If you have heard that packages can be difficult, this option is for you.  We take a package like the above, and put them into a 5 frame box.    We take all the risk, of absconding, chilled brood, queen being accepted and queen laying.  You get bee’s that are ready to go, and nearly ready to hatch brood as well as pollen /nectar frames.  You get a 5 frame box that will have egg’s and brood at various stages and you take the whole box home.

    -Pro’s – We take all the risks that are involved (absconding, chilled brood & queen acceptance). We make sure the queen is accepted and is laying for you and that there are no issues. It allows the bee’s to draw out comb and foragers to bring back nectar and pollen.
    -Con’s – Takes 2 weeks longer than just getting a package before you take it home.

Nuc – (Nucleus) Typically come in 5 frames (sometimes 10 frames) of drawn comb of a laying queen, bee’s, brood, honey and pollen.

    -Pro’s – They are an established colony and allow for faster buildup. Less likely to absconding, starving than a package.
    -Con’s – Made for Lang hives, unless you want to cut and manipulate frames. Shipping cost’s significantly more and overall the cost of a Nuc is more expensive.

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