Nucs /Packages/ Queens
We will start taking orders for the 2020 bee season December 1st!
You may place your orders online, in the store, or over the phone.
All bees are for LOCAL PICKUP ONLY, and arrive in the Spring (generally around April).
Payment in full required to reserve bees.
2020 Bee Information
A nucleus colony (“nuc” for short) is 5 drawn-out frames in a cardboard nuc box*, complete with an accepted laying queen, workers, honey and brood. A deep nuc will fit with deep Langstroth hive boxes. This apiary spends summers in New York and winters in South Carolina. We are expecting them to come in throughout the months of April and May.
*We are not asking for nuc boxes back this year. They are yours to keep! You can return them to the store if you have no use for them, however.
A package is a screened box* containing approximately 10,000 worker bees, with a queen in a cage. Packages can be installed into a Langstroth, Top Bar, or Warre Hive. Our packages come from Franklin NC starting in late March and throughout the month of April.
* Each package will be charged a $5 package box fee. This fee will be refunded upon return of the package box. *
Mated honeybee queen in a wooden cage with attendant bees and a candy cork. Choice of VSH Italian or Carniolan.
We have two different varieties of locally produced queens:
Old Sol: (from Oregon) This 3rd year queen was bred by continuously adding VSH and high end breeder queens and selecting the best daughters. They perform similarly to Carniolans in that they are more conservative with the food stores over winter and responsive to the incoming forage.
Appalachians: From our producer's favorite local caught swarm, these queens produce honey similar to Italians and brood up quicker in spring. They are darker than Italians and could be described as an Italian/Carniolan Hybrid.
HOW TO ORDER:
OPTION #1 - In person with full amount of cash, check or credit card at our Weaverville retail location (23 Merrimon Ave, Weaverville).
OPTION #2 - Call 828-484-9466 during business hours and pay in full via credit/debit card over the phone. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
OPTION #3 - Order via our website and pay in full via credit/debit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
We require payment in full on all orders. This is necessary to hold your reservation.
No Refunds. (These are live animals, and you are committing to their care!)
No specific queen requests in nucs and packages. Queen marking MAY be available for nucs.
Again, nucs must be picked up between 8-10am on the assigned date.
Please note that availability dates are highly variable. We will give you as much notice as we can, but please be flexible. Bees are wild animals and Mother Nature determines the timing here!
On a similar note, we cannot guarantee weekend pickups. The bees may arrive mid-week and it is up to you to adjust your schedule and/or make a backup plan.
Be ready with equipment and sugar water to feed.
P R O S a n d C O N S ?
Packages will have a more predictable pick-up date than nucs. Once we set a date, you can pretty much plan on it. Nucs are less predictable in this way - since beekeepers read the cues of their hives and split into nucs when the season is right, the date can vary drastically based on what our winter and spring looks like.
Nucs come with the head start of bees at all life stages and drawn-out comb. Because of this, they will frequently have a faster build-up after installation, instead of taking time to draw out wax and produce brood. But packages can quickly catch up to nucs with consistent feeding and have lower initial mite loads because of the break in the brood cycle. All in all, there is no incorrect option!
What should I understand when I buy bees?
Buying bees is like having a baby! They are live animals, and we are at the whims of the weather and their own life cycle. If we have a cold spring, your nuc or package may be late. If we have a warm spring, they may be early. Please understand that we set a due date for your estimation, but it is just that - an estimation.
If you order a package, you will generally have a 1-2 day window for pickup. The packages will survive for about that much time, inside of our store or outside, depending on the weather. The longer they sit, the more bee mortality you will see. Honey and the Hive does not assume liability for delayed pickups. We will give you as much notice as we possibly can, and from there it is in the hands of the beekeeper to move their package to safety.
If you order a nucleus colony, you may have shorter notice. The window for nuc pickup will always be in the morning, generally between 8-10am. Our staff wakes up before the sun and seals up the box to get your bees ready for transport. A nuc generates so much heat that honeybees will perish if they are not opened by the heat of the day - generally between 10-11am. If you do not make it to pick up by 10am, your nuc will be opened or given to somebody else, and your pickup will be bumped.
When you order bees, it is important to have everything ready in time to pick up your new hive. DO NOT PLAN TO TAKE TRIPS AROUND THE TIME OF DELIVERY. This usually means the months of April, May, and the first part of June.
Honey and the Hive does not claim responsibility for your education and preparation. We try our best to support beekeepers on their journeys, but we also sell over 1,500 colonies of bees each year! We STRONGLY recommend taking a class, joining your local bee club, and finding a mentor.