It is important when you are buying bees that you get good quality bees from a known source. The Scottish Beekeepers Association gives the following advice:
“This is a warning to be extra careful if you are offered bees by someone you don’t know. There are unfortunately unscrupulous people out there who will rip off new beekeepers so don’t part with any cash until you have taken some precautions.
One of our members has just bought 5 nucs off a guy north of Inverness way. 2 of the nucs had no queen but sealed queen cells, no eggs or larvae and few bees. The other 3 had a laying queen but as little as 2 frames of bees. I inspected them but only after they had been paid for. They cost £120 each!”
A nuc should have:
- A laying queen of this or the current year
- brood of all stages, i.e. eggs, larvae and sealed brood
- be of 4 to 6 frames with at least one good frame of stores
- be disease free
If you don’t know the seller, ask to see inside the nucs before you buy.
Ask to see the queen and the brood etc. if you are inexperienced try and get an experienced beekeeper to check the bees out before you buy.
“Any reputable seller of bees will be happy for a pre-inspection visit.”
The South of Scotland Beekeepers Association has started to offer its members nucs of bees. These bees come in 6 frame polystyrene nuc boxs and have laying queens of this year. The SSBKA members creating these nucs ensure that the bees are at peak strength before selling them so you can be sure you are getting the basic of a strong hive. See Where to buy bees for further details.