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Bee-Ginner's Guide

Welcome to the Bee-ginner's Guide Blog. Here we will go over topics and tips you might need as you go through your first year as a beekeeper.

When it comes to acquiring bees the most common and effective way to get bees is from an Apiary or a reputable supplier. When you do receive bees from an Apiary, they come in two different formats; a Package or Nucleus Hive (NUC). Both are very different and have their advantages and disadvantages.

A PACKAGE comes in a shoebox size container with two screen walls full of bees. They usually weigh 3-4 lbs. and can hold thousands of bees. This is a great option if you are wishing to start a hive from scratch. Packages also come with a queen, but she will be within her own box with a handful of worker bees. The queen is temporarily seperated from the bees until they have become acustom to her pheramones. As you install the package into the hive, you the queen will gradually be released.

NUCLEUS HIVES (NUCs) are already established colonies in a 4-5 frame NUC. The queen has already been accepted by the colony and they are hard at work with all frames full of every stage of brood, pollen nectar. Once you receive the NUC, you remove the frames and place them into an empty 8 or 10 frame Hive Body. Fill the remaining space in the hive body with empty frames and your new colony is ready to go!

One of the most obvious differences between Packages and NUCs is the prep work to get the hive ready. Packages require more attention when installing into a hive and can take a couple weeks before the hives are completely settled and self-sufficient, while with NUCs, since the colony is already established, all you need to do is transplant the NUC frames into a hive.

When working with a package you may notice a drop in population shortly after installing it into a hive. This is a natural occurrence with packages. This occurs as the older bees in the package start to die off before the new queen can begin to lay new brood.

The second biggest difference between Packages and NUCs are the prices. NUCs tend to cost much more than Packages because of their advanced state as you are also purchasing frames and NUC supplies as well as bees.

Click here to learn more about ordering Packages and NUCs from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.