Buying and selling nucs of bees

Guidelines

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 late 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.
Raising nucs for sale is not easy money. Buyers will expect good after-sales service.  Expect lots of phone calls!
Note:
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. Locally raised laying queen, may be marked blue for 2020 and white for 2021.
  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 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 offers to deliver the nuc and transfers 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.
  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?

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See Wally Shaw’s booklet  Simple methods of making increase

Compiled by Peter McFadden, updated June 2020

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