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Should I feel slighted?


I picked up my two 5-frame Nucs this past Saturday and I’m not entirely pleased with them.

Let me explain my reasons why:

Yes, there were 5 frames in each nuc but two frames ea. were completely empty, Not even drawn comb. Just empty, black plastic frames. There was brood in multiple stages of development and some honey on the remaining 3 frames in each though.

And yes, each nuc had a queen - in a cage - that had the candy sealed over with electrical tape. I’m fairly certain the brood came from some other queens.

I only paid $140 per nuc which is relatively inexpensive but I didn’t expect 4 empty frames.

How common an experience is this and should I avoid this source next season if I require more bees?


Ring them and let them know - Ideally you should have Queen laying, BIAS (Brood In All Stages), a good quantity of bees and store of honey and nectar.

Hopefully they are in good condition and health as well, a marked queen would be useful


I’m not sure what state most Nucs come in but I paid $115 for a package, that won’t have frames or anything with it, so based on that I would say your price is still not terrible. It will all come down to the quality of the queen in the end is my guess. If she is laying full speed she should fill up those frames pretty quickly.


The Queens take a couple of months to build up to full laying and is dependent on Forage - Nectar and Pollen - Queenie needs both, and and as she steps p the number of New/Nurse bees the colony will grow - my new Queen took the whole of the summer to get into a good laying pattern


Doesn’t sound like a great deal to me. I bet @JeffH never does that - he would feel unprofessional about it, and that is how I see your supplier. We are buying our nuclei from a new (to us) supplier this year, but we know the guy pretty well, and I doubt that he will do that kind of trick. He has described our nuc as 5 frames, 2 being mainly food and 3 mainly brood. However, we are paying $175 per nucleus. Nevertheless, I think undrawn foundation in a nuc is cheating - that is essentially a 3 frame nuc. My supplier charges $145 for that. Oh, and the nuc box and a containing net for transport are included in the price.


Are your queens typically loose within the nuclei when you receive them @Dawn_SD?

I feel like I someone shook the equivalent of a package in to some brood frames, slapped some empty foundation in to round things out and called it a day.


I haven’t had nucs from BeeSafe before, so I will tell you next month. However, last time I got a nuc from a different supplier, the queen was caged - the supplier said that he preferred that method, as he could guarantee a well-mated queen producing gentle bees (he bought his queens in from a supplier), plus my clumsy transport and installation was less likely to snuff the queen. OK, he wasn’t quite that overt, but that was the message - more successful installations this way. Having said that, our friends bought 2 nuclei with queens already running loose in them (unmarked). So I think that practices vary a lot. Caveat emptor, I guess - ask lot of questions before you buy. Easy to be wise in retrospect, but I am in the same position as you, in that I am not absolutely certain about what I am getting. I trust the supplier, as he is a member of our bee club, and he is very supportive. We will see, and I will let you know.


Hi Bobby, that might very well be the case. However that doesn’t matter if the queen is a young mated queen & you have sufficient workers to get things moving for her. It’ll only take a couple of weeks for her to get into the swing of things.

When you take an empty frame out, is it covered in bee? or is there only enough bees to cover the 3 frames of brood?

I think your in Brisbane from memory. We still have lots of good weather ahead of us for the bees to build up to a good size colony.


Sounds like a 3 frame nuc…as you say a couple of frames of brood, one of stores and a couple of empty frames to grow into. You may be right that the nuc is made up with some bees and a queen. That is the way they are made…but usually the beekeeper will keep them and feed them so that they have expanded to fill the box and have become a small colony. It’s always a good idea to heft the box…if light you can be sure it needs more bees.
However, all is not lost…feed them with light syrup to help them build comb so the queen can lay them up. She can only lay if there are enough nurse bees to cover the brood so once the present bees emerge…she can get started. Forage…nectar and pollen need to be in plentiful supply…so feed if you are not sure.


I believe he is in Georgia, USA, so he has the whole season ahead of him. I still think they cheated :persevere:


Wow, that’s a big difference, lol, He’ll be right with the whole season in front of him as long as those queens are good ones.

I never see queens take very long to get into a good laying pattern, two weeks maybe.

Basically a queen, no matter how good she is can only be as good as her workforce. A poor workforce can make a potentially, really good queen appear mediocre.

So it’s always good to start a young queen off with a good workforce.


Thank you for the guidance. I called the seller and first, expressed my pleasure at the way they did business (they are super nice folks) and then second, shared my surprise at finding only three true frames in each nuc instead of 5.

All in all, I’m happy to have bees but as nice as those folks are, I won’t likely purchase from them again. I do realize that $140 is not very costly relative to what other suppliers are charging, in fact 3 pound packages are nearly that high so I’ll just chalk this up to experience.


Perhaps just go into the deal with an inspection and either refuse or ask for a refund of some of the price at that time next time.

One thing I found working in kitchens if you open all your produce boxes and weigh a few of them magically all the sudden all of your orders look beautiful and there are fewer and fewer errors. If it is important to you and you check it, then it will be important to them, they will likely short someone else to make sure yours is perfect.


My source is local and they denoted three frames with a wintered over queen. I think if your source didn’t specifically say ‘three frames with bees and queen’ and they sent you the other two frames for shipping purposes, you might feel slighted. I would go back and reread what they put in their sales pitch and them ask them for a clearer explanation.

I am paying $150 for mine.


My local source for nucs had full frames and a loose (not in a cage) queen, for the same price you paid. I would be pretty annoyed to find what you did!


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Hi Jape, I like what you said about 1 full frame of brood producing 3 frames of bees. I’ve never heard it said like that before, I’ll remember that.


Hi Bobby, If you work those bees properly, you could find yourself in the position of never dealing with that bloke ever again. Or anyone else for that matter (as far as bees are concerned anyway). I bought 4 colonies 28 years ago & that was the first & last time I ever bought bees.


@JeffH Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll do right by the girls.


At this stage now is a good time to deal with the mites that came with the nuc. This way you head into the big flow with a healthy population :slight_smile: