Nucleus colonies are small well-balanced colonies which can develop into a full sized colony over time.
The photo shows a 6 frame plywood nuc ready to go with brood of all ages laid by the queen in the hive although we sell 5 or 6 frame nucs depending on the time of year.
We often have overwintered nucs available for early spring and can also make them up with new queens in summer. Nucs are generally on BS Deep frames - contact us for other sizes.
These will have a queen from the previous year from a selected mother queen. The bees and brood in the nuc with be hers. Queens are bred for low swarming, good behaviour and good honey gathering abilities. Queens are marked - usually in the correct colour!* - and can be clipped if required. It's possible that a colony will produce some honey be August, but we cannot guarantee it of course. Colonies have been treated for varroa. Usually available in late March and April.
These have a current years queen and can build up to a viable colony to survive winter. Queens are bred for low swarming good behaviour and good honey gathering abilities. Queens are marked - usually in the correct colour! - and can be clipped if required. Usually available from late May to early July. Beginners may be better to wait for an overwintered colony the following spring if it gets too late in the season (after the end of June).
We often have spare queens available from May. Queens will be at least 3 weeks old so we know that they lay a good brood pattern. They are supplied in queen cages with food and attendant bees.
Starting off with a collected swarm is one way to start off beekeeping although they are variable in quality. Note that we do not sell swarms.
*Queen marking. We try to use the correct colour however occasionally the right marking pen might not be available or has run out and whatever comes to hand is used! (The queens don't seem to mind!). The mark is a dob of water-based paint on her thorax.