Nuc vs. Package and Local Providers of Bees
We think it's best to buy bees most local to your area. You are probably well-aware of all the big bee providers already, but this page provides a local list of providers. Keep in mind that package bees are often shipped in. So, even though you are buying them from a local provider, they may not be local bees. We believe the providers below who sell packages will be honest with you if you ask. So, what's the difference between a nuc and a package of bees?
Package bees exist to get those wanting bees, some bees. They are cheaper than nucs. They usually come with a queen isolated in a queen cage along with 3 or 4 pounds of bees. The weight/amount of bees will affect the cost of the package.
The queen was most likely added to the package of bees (introduced) before being provided to you. The package will also have a can with sugar syrup allowing the bees to drink since there are no frames of honey and it's possible the package traveled a distance. You have to install the package into a hive with frames in your apiary. It's best if you have a drawn frame or two available. The queen is likely still a virgin, and will need to go out and get mated before she returns to the hive to begin laying eggs. As a result, it takes a package a while to get going and build up. You should not expect a honey harvest the first year, but there are things you can do (such as feeding) to bolster the success of the colony.
Nucleus Colony (or nuc,) is more likely to have been overwintered locally in a local beekeepers yard. A nuc could have been overwintered as a larger hive and then split off into a smaller one... or, some producers will overwinter actual nucs taking precautions to protect the smaller colony over the winter.
Nucs are more expensive because typically, the queen has already been mated and is laying in a series of frames that have already been drawn out. You are buying a small, working, further-progressed colony of bees along with drawn frames filled with eggs, honey and pollen. Bees and the frames are usually transferred from the nuc box to a hive body and they get right to work. It's common to pay a small fee for the box or equipment that you get your bees in and then get a refund when you return it.
Please be sure to ask your questions to each provider for details. Each provider is usually different and the ones below will be honest with you answering your questions.
We hope you'll look into these people who work hard to provide a quality, local product. Tell them SIBA sent you. Do you want to be added to this list? Just send us your information.
This page was last updated March 2018.
|Tim Hess||Buckfast bees. Comes in white cardboard nuc box. $180.00 each. 5-Frame nucs available around June 6 - Tebbes Ave. in Greendale||812-584-0196 or Email|
|IndyBeeSupply||Nucs & Packages||Visit website|
|Tyson Hermes||5-Fr. nucs with mated marked queen in a painted wooden box for $190. Return the box for $20 refund. Nucs are available for pickup in Florence KY.||859-992-2470 or Email|
|Bastin Honey Bee Farm||5-Fr nuc with either queen choice is $185. 3 lb California packages. We are currently taking $50 deposits and price is to be set in January but expected to be $135. We try to get our packages around the second week of April. We will also have easy season queens from California for $38 and Indiana queens when available for $40. All details available on website||Visit website|
|Graham's Bee Works||Now taking orders for 2018 packages and NUC’s Early dates fill up fast so order soon! Package Pick up dates are March 26th - April 15th - May 14th. 3lb. Packages $120 ea. 5-fr. Nucs $185 ea. More details here||812-597-2000 or Email|
|Clint Bohman||Will have 100 5-Fr. nucs available for purchase mid to late May in Batesville IN. $150 each.||812-340-0920|