2019 Nucs: Depending on spring weather, I plan to offer nucleus hives for sale during the first weeks of May 2019. These will be 5 & 10 frame true nucleus hives featuring queens from my 10-year long selection process for suitability in Whatcom County conditions. The capped and uncapped brood in these hives comes from the queens in these hives. The bees are all from my own mother queens. The combs have been drawn by my colonies.
Five-frame nucs consist of one frame of capped honey, one rich in pollen, an empty drawn brood comb for the queen to expand into, a frame of capped brood and a frame of mostly open brood. Ten-frame nucs simply offer more of the same.
Queen Option: Proven 2018 Queen or New 2019 Queen. A 2018 queen will have led her colony through a long Whatcom Winter and come out with flying colors in Spring 2019. A New 2019 queen will have emerged in April 2019 and is a daughter of one of my best queens. Both will be Carniolan-ish, dark bees, marked yellow for visibility and currently laying at a high rate.
Features: Since these are Carniolan-style bees, any buyer should be familiar with effective swarm control methods. I select for good overwintering, gentleness and good spring build up. I do not select for low swarming tendency as I’m perfectly able to control swarming as it is. Carniolans are just more “swarmy” than the other subspecies and that’s a small price to pay for their many other admirable qualities.
I keep bees for fun and Carniolans are pleasant to work with. They are polite, get out of the way when you are working and exist in reasonable sized colonies. I dislike working with Italian bees that are constantly under your fingers and make huge hives that often don’t survive Whatcom Winters. I like scrappy bees that reflect my goals of locally sustainable apiaries, provide reliable if modest honey harvests and predictable reproductive behavior.
These are local bees, available in May, carefully selected for local conditions. That takes time and significantly changes the time-frame by almost a month. The traditional and not very successful local beekeeping paradigm that’s based on cheap package bees arriving from California in April offers a faint chance of a first year honey harvest but low odds of survival into the next year. The same is true of nucleus hives with out-of-state queens bees and bees sourced from returning almond pollination hives. True local bees are known to produce better outcomes, have less exposure to agricultural toxins and are not subject to all the pressures experienced by large commercial operations. My nucleus colonies, cared for correctly in good equipment, will withstand most conditions Whatcom County has to offer, produce reliable honey crops and over-winter consistently. Good beekeeping required, of course.
I don’t generally lose hives over the winter. Every once in awhile I lose a queen or a hive or two but the vast majority overwinter strong and come out strong in the spring. I have had very little problem with any of the common bee diseases, though I do treat for varroa mites carefully several times every year. No bees are immune to mites, sadly.
My Deal: buyer gets the bees, queen and frames. I keep the nuc-box. I don’t sell equipment as I put a lot of time and effort into making it just right for my purposes. I like to think my bees are going to well prepared beekeepers who have gone to the trouble of preparing their own equipment. I will gladly inspect the hive with you so you know precisely what you’re buying. Then I transfer the five or ten frames into your equipment for later pickup. Five-frame hives will be ready to graduate to ten-frame equipment soon. 10-frame nucs will need a second super in a few weeks. These nucs will build up quickly on the blackerry nectar flow and be ready for successful over-wintering if cared for correctly.
Five-frame Nucs: $225. Ten-frames: $275
Phone/text: (360) 483-9754 or contact me on my website: Whatcom Bee Help