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Bee Nucs For Sale | Overwintered Nucleus Colony

Overwintered Nucleus Colony

Due to increasing demand we have now released pre-orders for the 2023 season overwintered nucleus colonies. Overwintered nucleus colonies always sell out quickly, so early pre-order is encouraged.

Overwintered nucs are provided on BS National Frames in a 5 frame format in a temporary correx box.

Please note, overwintered nucleus colonies are for collection only




Bee Nucs For Sale | Overwintered Nucleus Colony 2023 Season | BS National


Collection Time

Nucleus colonies of bees are for collection only. The collection dates to choose from are generally the earliest we can get the nucleus colonies ready for. Be wary of colonies that are for sale earlier in the season with new queens as these queens will likely be imported and not UK bred. In rare cases collection dates may be delayed due to weather conditions however we expect Overwintered Nucleus Colonies to be ready around mid/late April 2023.


Queen Type

We breed two different types of bee in different remote breeding apiaries.

You can put a preference on queen type, but as with overwintered nucs we will not know exactly how many bees of each type make it through winter until around April time, we will try to match your queen preference but this cannot be guaranteed.


Buckfast Queen

We breed a line of Northumberland Buckfasts, whose queen mothers have demonstrated Varroa Sensisitve / Hygienic traits. Both do very well in our climate and are locally bred by us in Northumberland, from two separate remote breeding stations.

Our work with VSH only currently extends to our Buckfast type strain as this is the first of our lines to demonstrate VSH behaviour. This is an important characteristic in the fight against varroa, as the bees with this trait are able to detect infected brood and uncap the cells, disrupting the varroa mites life cycle and utlising this as a natural defence mechanism, this is in the hope that treatment frequency can be reduced and any treatments used are more effective.

Black / Dark Queen

We are also testing and working on incorporating the VSH trait into our darker bees, as there is equally a demand for the dark strains too, but this work of breeding takes many years, and we are not quite at the VSH stage with the dark bees. But hope in the coming years to be able to offer open mated dark queens with the VSH trait too. These bees are from our own local stock and for those looking to breed from native dark bee stock these could be a good option.


Please note in order to buy bees you are required to – register with APHA / DEFRA on beebase

Please do this before purchasing if you are not already registered. Secondly in purchasing bees from us you are happy for us to share your details with NBU bee inspectors should we have to in future in the interest of tracing movement of bees.



Queens that head up overwintered nucleus colonies are all supplied marked, and clipped.



It takes bees around 8lb of syrup or honey to draw 1lb of wax. When you install your nucleus colony into your hive there is a lot of wax building for the bees to do, so we always suggest feeding is essential to a newly established nucleus colony.


Nucleus Box Type

5 frame nucs come as standard in a temporary correx nucleus box which is only suitable for travelling the bees.

If you would like any further information about starting to keep bees or transporting your bees home, please see our dedicated pages or call us for more information.


Arrangements following online booking/ payment.

Following placing the nucleus colony order online, you will be e-mailed to confirm receipt of the order. We will then keep in touch by e-mail or phone, so please ensure your details on the order are correct. Dates may be subject to change due to any significant events, weather etc but this is rare, if a date for collection needs to be modified we will be in touch in advance.


Transporting your bees home

Please note colonies will need to be collected either early in the morning or late evening to ensure they travel well.

Colonies will be readied for collection from our premises in Haltwhistle

Unit 6C, Haltwhistle Industrial Estate, Haltwhistle, Northumberland, NE49 9HA.

Please remember a beesuit, gloves, smoker and a ratchet strap or hive strap to secure the nucleus box in your vehicle, once you are transporting the bees they are entirely your responsibility.

A risky period of time is transporting bees, it is your responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is well ventilated and kept cool and you pick up at the designated time. In this way you can best avoid killing the bees or queen due to overheating. Please also ensure the mesh on the nuc boxes is not blocked when placing the boxes in your car. Frames should also run front to back in the direction of travel to avoid the frames moving back and forth when accelerating and braking as this would increase the risk of bees and importantly the queen being squashed between frames.


When you get home with your bees

When home, place the colony on the stand you wish to position it on, and open the door on the nuc. The bees will fly out and orientate. It would be fair to leave them to settle for a day or two and then transfer them to their permanent hive. There is no immediate rush or need to do this, especially if the bees are provided in a poly nuc box, this will have a feeder on and you can provide a steady syrup feed. If needed they will be fine waiting a few days so long as the entrance is open and the bees can fly freely when you get them home.

When transferring to their new hive ensure you are feeding invert syrup to allow the bees to draw out comb remembering it takes 8lb of honey to make 1lb of wax!! This is a very energy expensive process for the bees. Well fed bees will do well, unfed or sporadically fed bees will always suffer. We can provide invert syrup when you come to collect if needed there is an option to request this on the options list. Depending on the time of year, for example in June it is common to get a ‘nectar gap’ where there is little to nectar available for the bees, so feeding is strongly recommended to give the best conditions for the bees to thrive.


The weeks after getting your colony home and follow up inspections

Following on from previous years experience with these colonies, it would be useful to plan to run these colonies on double brood boxes (For BS National Colonies) as the queens laying patterns are quite extensive and they make strong colonies.

Usually customers have placed these colonies into the equivalent of double brood boxes within 3-4 weeks following the collection date.

We recommend inspecting the bees every 7-10 days in the active swarming season, in a hot productive summer the bees may make preparations for swarming, so you need to become proficient at spotting eggs in queen cups and queen cells and have a spare hive if you need to split or artificially swarm the colony (another good reason for taking the 6 frame poly nuc with the bees, it always can be used as a spare box for splits!)

It is also advised to plan to treat the bees for Varroa in the autumn and mid winter.  Our bees are bred from bees that have shown resistance to Varroa, but nonetheless to give the bees the best chance of survival we would recommend treating the bees for Varroa especially if an inexperienced beekeeper.



We are happy to provide advice on the phone or by e-mail on any of our bees.



Bees require knowledge and experience to look after and thrive. There is always a risk with swarming/ absconding, diseases and feeding issues.

We guarantee queens from being drone layers for the first 14 days during which time we would have expected the first inspection to have taken place. After this period of time has elapsed any problems will be assessed by us on a case by case basis. There will be no liability for beekeeping related issues but we will always help where we can.

Additional information

Weight 0.01 kg
Dimensions 10 × 1 × 1 cm
Queen Type Preference

Buckfast, Dark

Collection Date

Saturday 29th April 2023

I agree to sharing of my details with National Bee Unit Bee Inspectors

Yes, No


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