Questions for Nuc Suppliers

Questions you might want to ask your Nuc supplier

Nucs or nucleus hives are small starter hives typically 3, 4 or 5 frames and a common way to initiate a bee colony.

The BCBBA encourages beekeepers to define the following parameters when purchasing a nuc. There are a variety of types of nucs available for sale.

For example the Ontario Bee Breeder’s Association defines a standard 4 frame nuc as the following “queen bee, 2 frames of brood (1/2 to 2/3s capped with adhering bees), 1 frame of feed with adhering bees, 1 frame of foundation or empty comb and extra bees to ensure the brood will be kept warm.”  Whereas typically here in BC, a four frame nuc will have 3 frames with brood and one frame of honey and pollen.

So here is a list of questions you may want to ask your supplier to be clear on what you will be getting:

  • How many frames and what size, standard deep frame (9 1/8”) or shallow frames?
  • How many frames are covered in bees?
  • How many frames contain brood?
  • Is the brood of all stages?
  • What % of the frames of brood are covered in brood?
  • Is the queen local?
  • What age is the queen?
  • Will the nuc be transported and / or delivered?
  • Is the nuc box included in the price?
  • What type of nuc box is it? (cardboard, plastic or wood)
  • Have the nucs been inspected for disease and varroa levels by a government inspector?
  • When are the nucs available?

We advise you to make inquires and orders early (previous fall to the spring you need them). This helps ensure you are getting nucs from the supplier you desire and you are getting the dates you want them. Often you will be asked for a deposit to hold your order.

The BCBBA Members List has an “N” designating which members sell nucs.

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