Buying and selling nucs of bees


These guidelines are not intended to be onerous. They rely on the goodwill of buyers and sellers.

Conwy Beekeepers’ role is to put buyers and sellers in touch, but not to set prices, and not to recommend particular suppliers.


  • The bees should be gentle to handle, suitable for a beginner.
  • We strongly recommend that buyers arrange to see the bees flying before buying, and agree with the seller that the nuc conforms to each item 1 to 5 before buying.

General specification for a 5-frame nucleus of bees

  1. British Standard deep Hoffman frames with wired combs, all in good condition. No excess of drone brood.
  2. Five combs, all fully drawn out, at least three with brood and two with adequate stores. No frames of undrawn foundation.
  3. Brood at all stages: eggs, larvae and sealed brood, and bees covering all the frames.
  4. All brood to have been laid by the queen provided.
  5. Locally raised laying queen, white for 2016 or yellow for 2017.
  6. Seller to advise buyer of any recent varroa treatment.
  7. Seller to advise buyer if queen has been clipped.
  8. Nuc to be inspected by Seasonal Bee Inspector before sale, or soon after if the inspector prefers.
  9. Nuc to be supplied in a returnable 5-frame or larger nuc hive, ready for moving. Supplier may wish to charge a returnable deposit on the nuc hive.
  10. Supplier to provide an up to date hive record card. See Conwy BKA Hive record card as an example, based on the BBKA record card.
  11. Buyer to collect nuc and transfer to their own hive a few days later when the bees have settled down. IMPORTANT: see Conwy BK information on how to transfer bees.
  12. Empty nuc hive to be returned to seller within an agreed time.
  13. We suggest that buyers arrange for an end of season inspection, to ensure the colony is OK for the winter.
  14. Any after-sales problems are to be resolved between buyer and seller. The BKA will not arbitrate.
  15. We suggest that the seller contacts the buyer a few weeks after the sale to check that all is well.
  16. Seller to keep a record of all sales, including a copy of the hive record card.

Who is my seasonal bee Inspector?

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Compiled by P. McFadden, Conwy BK, updated May 2016

One Response to Buying and selling nucs of bees

  1. neil hubbard says:

    Have recently purchased hive having been on Bee course with Jonathan Garrat from Busy Bees Bangor. Have completed membership form and the cheque and form are being posted today. Would like to purchase a nucleus this year when they become available. Shall intend to attend your evenings and courses as soon as I have membership. Hope you are able to help. Yours Neil Hubbard ( Soon to be a retired Vet )

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