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Live Bees



Packaged bees

“Packaged bees” and “5-frame nucleus colonies (nucs)” are two common ways to start a colony, each with its own advantages and considerations.

Packaged bees refer to a shipment of loose worker bees, typically accompanied by a queen bee in a separate cage. These bees are often shaken from different hives, collected in a package, and then shipped to beekeepers. Beekeepers install these packaged bees into an empty hive, containing frames, foundation, and food. While packaged bees offer flexibility in terms of choosing hive equipment and foundation type, they require a bit more effort to establish as the bees need to build comb from scratch and the colony might take some time to fully develop.  If you already have several frames with drawn comb, package bees may be a good option.


On the other hand, a 5-frame nucleus colony (nuc) consists of a small established colony with a laying queen, several frames of brood, worker bees, honey, and pollen. This provides a head start for the new hive as it already contains a functioning queen and a growing population. Nucs are often considered a more reliable way to start a colony since they have a better chance of survival and faster growth compared to packaged bees. They're especially useful for beginners who want a more assured start and are willing to invest a bit more upfront.  You get more for your money when buying nuc so they are often the clear choice when starting a new colony.


In essence, the difference between packaged bees and 5-frame nucs lies in the starting condition of the hive: packaged bees require more time and effort to establish, while nucs provide a more established and rapidly growing colony from the beginning. The choice between the two depends on the beekeeper's experience, goals, and willingness to manage the initial phases of colony development.

Why Buy Nucs from us?

We offer a quality guarantee. If your queen is not laying or if there is another issue right after pick up, contact us right away, and we will either replace it or make it right some other way. We are in this together, which is why we have the tagline “With Hidden Hollow Honey, You Aren’t Beekeeping Alone!”


Delivery & packaging details

Our 5 frame nucs are packaged in foldable and reusable Jester Nuc Boxes. 

Nucs are usually available in the first couple weeks of May depending on weather. We will send out an email when the delivery time is getting closer so that you can make sure you and your apiary are ready for your bees.

**We do not ship nucs or packages. These are for scheduled pick up only at:



Very pleased with this company! We had lost a queen immediately picking up our nuc and they were quick to respond and help remedy the problem! We love supporting our local beekeeping company!

Danielle D.

I purchased two nucs this spring. One of them has overproduced. I’ve harvested to full supers already this year with likely another. I’ve purchased all my hive equipment from them and it’s been really convenient to order online and swing by to pick my order up. Everyone is always friendly and always willing to ask how the hives are doing.

Tim A.

Our family purchased four nucs this spring. We have been extremely pleased. The nucs had plenty of eggs, larvae and resources and got off to a great start for us. Our queens have been very productive and set the tone for the hives to be gentle and easy to work. Thank you, Hidden Hollow Honey!

Regina G.

Awesome quality and perfect customer service, thank you!

Sergio M.