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. We do not set prices, and we do not recommend particular suppliers.
There is a good local demand for nucs, but it could easily become saturated.   Buyers will always look for a supplier with a good reputation.
You should aim to sell your nucs by early July or plan to over-winter them, and offer nucs for sale in the following May.  Demand will be at its highest before they start preparing to swarm.
We recommend that you buy over-wintered nucs, headed by a queen raised in the previous year.   These sell out very quickly. They should be available in May.  They should be bursting with brood and bees, and could make you a crop of honey in the first year.  You should expect an over-wintered nuc to make preparations to swarm.
Current year nucs headed by a young queen should be available in June.
Raising nucs for sale is not easy money. Buyers will expect good after-sales service.  Expect lots of phone calls!
The bees should be gentle to handle, suitable for a beginner.
We 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. Conwy Beekeepers Limited recommends that members use nucs headed by locally-raised marked laying queens.  
  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.
  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 or diary notes.
  11. Option 1. Buyer collects their nuc and transfers to their own hive a few days later, when the bees have settled down. IMPORTANT: See Conwy BK information on How to transfer bees.
    Option 2. Supplier may offer to deliver your nuc and transfer it into your hive.
  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.  Conwy Beekeepers 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 or diary notes, and details of varroa treatment.
  17. Seller should be willing to provide after-sale support.   Buyer and seller to agree how much support, before the deal is made.

Who is my Seasonal Bee Inspector?
Click here

Compiled by Peter McFadden, updated November 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.