Packaged Bees vs Local Nuc purchase
Local Nuc purchase!
What's the difference? Lots! We feel it's important to understand why Local Nuc purchases are so valuable. If you're an experienced Beekeeper, then you have likely bought Packaged Bees before. Some Packages can work out great! Some do not. Same is said for Local Nuc purchases. However, there is a distinct advantage in buying Local Nucs; an established Queen~! In Packaged Bees,
the Queen is likely not the same Queen that originated with that Colony of Workers. The Queen must be accepted and released from her cage before she can begin laying. Sometimes, the colony will release her and let her lay a little while and then leave with her to parts unknown. (Been there, done that!) It can be frustrating. Buying packaged Bees can have it's positive advantages also.
You can order early in the year, from one of the larger Bee supply companies in the nation. Getting your bees established in the better part of Spring. On the other hand, if you where to buy a Local Nuc, with an established Queen who is already laying, this can be a huge advantage in Spring/Summer time build up. The disadvantage here is, that you will likely wait until the later part of Spring, into early Summer to get your Local Nuc. Why? Beekeepers will pull managed splits, and either add a Queen or let the Workers make a Queen. In either case, the Bees will be well on their way to establishing their OWN QUEEN for their efforts. This will take about 1 month and a week. The most attractive advantage here is that the Queen was CHOSEN by her Workers and is already mated and laying, a more stable scenario to be sure. But you'll have to be willing to wait a bit longer, versus buying a Package of Bees. Like most things in Beekeeping, there are TRADE OFFS. Please take the time to think through the advantages and disadvantages of both. Most folks are willing to wait a bit longer, in order to gain a more established and solid group of Bees. This is one reason our waiting list for Nuc purchases grows so long. Orders come in early! Mid January, for late May or early June pick up. Early bird gets the warm in this case. Also, if the worse happens, and you aren't able to get a Local Nuc from us, some folks understand and are willing to "leave a retainer" or their deposit, for Fall time Nucs possibly, or to even be placed at the top of the list FOR NEXT SPRING. This ensures the "position of purchase" for next years Bees. A little bit of "thinking ahead" can pay big dividends later.
The demand for Honey Bees is huge! It will likely stay this way for a very long time. You can certainly buy packaged Bees, a viable option. But if you want some solid, established Local Nucs, with a great laying Queen, you may have to wait until later May or into mid June. And this is if the weather doesn't set the Bees and Beekeeper back. Again, trade offs must be considered. Buying Local Nucs isn't like walking into Wal-Mart or the Dollar Store, and just pick them off the shelf. Much planning and timing goes into setting up some great Local Nucs, for the local Beekeepers to buy. If you're willing to wait, you can possibly see big dividends later.
We hope this helps in making a good decision. Above all, enjoy your Bees!