I’m very selective about who I sell bees to. Beekeeping is very complex and requires significant preparation and study. Without that, odds for success are very low. Which means it’s usually the bees that suffer. I want my bees to go to people who are well prepared to care for them knowledgeably and sustainably.
I try to be as candid as possible with my students and customers. It’s not always what people want to hear. Keeping bees is a wonderful experience, but it requires much more work and expense than people anticipate. If you’re good with challenges, you might be good with bees.
2021 Nucs: Depending on spring weather, nucleus hives will be ready for sale sometime around the middle of May 2021. These will be 5 & 10 frame true nucleus hives featuring queens from my 12-year long selection process for suitability in Whatcom County conditions.
All the brood in these nucs comes from the queens in my hives. The bees are all from my own mother queens. The combs have been drawn by my colonies. These are features you only get with true local nucleus hives.
My 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; i.e. a longer head-start on the season. There are usually more 10-framers than 5s.
Queen Option: New 2021 Queen or proven 2020 Queen. A 2020 queen, newly emerged last July, will have led her colony through a long Whatcom Winter and come out with flying colors in Spring 2021. A New 2021 queen will have emerged in April or May 2021 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. I don’t release nucs until they are operating robustly and the queens are proven layers.
Features: These are Carniolan-style bees, so any buyer should be familiar with effective swarm control methods. I select for good overwintering, gentleness and rapid spring build up. Carniolans are slightly more “swarmy” than the other subspecies, but 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 in the hive 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 beekeeping.
These are true local bees, available in May, carefully selected for Whatcom County conditions. That takes time and the right weather. It significantly delays availability by almost a month to May, not April.
The traditional and not very successful 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 cheaper nucleus hives with out-of-state queens 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 thrive in most conditions Whatcom County has to offer, produce reliable honey crops and over-winter well. Good beekeeping required, of course.
If you want to succeed at beekeeping, a thorough understanding of Varroa Mites and how to control them is imperative !
I have had very little problem with any of the common bee diseases, though I do treat for Varroa mites with great care several times every year. No bees are immune to mites, sadly. If you don’t have an effective method for controlling mites, pick another hobby.
My Deal: You bring me a complete 5 or 10-frame hive filled with new wooden frames with black plastic foundation. I transfer the bees, queen and frames into your equipment and keep the frames you brought. I don’t sell woodenware 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 usually inspect your nuc with you present so you know precisely what you’re buying, but coronavirus put an end to that. You’ll just have to trust me. Ask around.
Five-frame hives will be ready to graduate to ten-frame equipment soon, in a week or two. 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.
My 2021 Queens will be available mid-summer. I aim for queens to emerge July 1st and 2nd. It surprises me that sometimes this works! This is a good time to requeen to improve your stock or to reinvigorate spring nucs and packages that didn’t work out as hoped for.
These are Carniolan-ish queens from stock I’ve been refining for over ten years. The mother queen for this year’s selection came through the winter handily, produced a superior 10-frame nuc and will yield a fair amount of honey even as I’m using her to foster daughter queens.
In rearing queens I select for gentleness, overwintering success and rapid spring build up. These are Carniolan-style bees so slightly more swarm-prone than other mellifera subspecies. I don’t select against swarming as I’m able to prevent almost all swarms. Every beekeeper should strive to do this. Most swarms go uncaptured and turn into mite-bombs, jeopardizing the health of all bees within flying range.
Queens will come in JZBZ Queen cages inside brown paper bags. They are marked Yellow for high visibility on the frame. There will be attendant bees in the bag, but not in the cage. When you’re ready to install a queen, let the attendant bees fly out and install the queen cage using your preferred method. There will be a small piece of absorbent fabric soaked with syrup to keep the bees nourished in transit.
2021 Queens: $50 each.
Contact me if you’re interested in a quality local queen. Use the contact form on this website or text me at: (360) 483-9754.