Northern Nucs

Spring 2021 nucs are sold out.

A nuc (Pronounced ‘nuke’) is short for nucleus colony, meaning the small core of a future colony. We make them up in mid summer with brood, comb and foundation. Each nuc is placed in our nuc yard surrounded by yards producing drones for mating. Each nuc is given a queen cell and then allowed to grow onto all four frames in its box. The nuc is wintered like this, and then in the spring is evaluated and either used in our production yards or sold to a customer. All queens used in the nucs are selected for winter hardiness, mite resistance, and honey production. See the ‘queens’ section for more information on our breeding program.

When available: Nucs are usually available for pickup the sometime towards the middle of May, but it varies with the weather. We need to let the nucs expand and have them inspected by the state apiary inspector to certify them free of disease before they can be picked up.

To order: email (andrew [at] lemonfairhoneyworks [dot] com) to get your name placed on the nuc list and inquire about current pricing.  We have always sold out so go ahead and email early. Sales priority is based on the order of the names on the list. We will start contacting customers in late April to inform them about pickup dates and times.

Advantages of a nuc: As compared with a package, a nuc is a much more vigorous way to start a colony. It contains an overwintered queen (from the North), brood in all stages,  and five frames of comb. It is basically a hive in miniature. When placed into full size equipment, they expand rapidly and often produce a substantial honey crop the first year. We have produced 80# crops with first year nucs drawing foundation with no feeding. Packages are a loose group of bees thrown in with an unrelated, newly mated (unproven) queen from the South. By the time they establish and start to hatch out new bees, the old bees are already dying. Queen failure or supersedure is common. Even if the queen survives the summer, the Southern queens winter poorly. These problems are avoided by starting with a nuc. Our nucs are inspected by the State of Vermont bee inspector prior to sale to ensure that no disease is contained in the nuc.

Spring 2021 nucs are sold out.

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