This is a cause of celebration. Each year we offer to the public a limited number of nucleus hives, four frames of brood, bees and a laying queen. The underlying reason for our doing this is to keep our hives from swarming. By removing several frames of bees and brood from a donor hive we can limit the number of hives that swarm each year. It also does not hurt to get new beekeepers started on their journey.
Selling nucleus hives is not without troubles: unexpected hard freezes causes brood death, workers abscond, queens fail to return from their mating flights or return to the wrong hive. It is just hard work. I sometimes wonder if they are more trouble than they are worth.
The trick is getting the hives up to the necessary strength at the same time, and every year it is a trial. It is done however, the new and not so new beekeepers have picked up their hives and we wish them every success.