While many people purchase packaged bees to start their hives, a NUC comes with about 3 pounds of bees already established in a 5 frame colony. This small colony consists of brood in all stages of development, pollen and honey; giving it everything it needs to grow. Package bees must build up wax frames for the queen to lay eggs and to store food, which will put a nuc nearly a month ahead of a package. In fact, new bees are actually hatching the first day you receive your NUC. This will allow the hive to build quickly because of the increased number of bees in the hive to collect pollen and nectar.
Since a package has to start from the ground up because there is no drawn comb for the queen to lay eggs, which can take up to 5-8 days before she has a place to lay. To make matters worse, it will take another 21 days after the queen lays before new worker bees start to hatch. Because the life expectancy of a worker bee is about a month and a half to two months the bees from the package will start to dwindle for about 26 to 28 days until the first bees are hatched.
The benefit of a NUC is that you receive an established small hive with the ability to grow faster, a queen that has been accepted by the hive and worker bees that are ready to work shortly after being installed. An added benefit is that these NUC's are raised in Washington and are acclimated to this area.
Again we are continuing with the German Carnica Queens which are a very hardy and gentle bee that adapted very well to this area.