About Our Stock
We have been providing honeybees in the form of nucleus colonies (“nucs”) to local folks who need bees since 2011. People continue to report that the nucs they purchased from us were their only colonies that survived the winter, or became their strongest most productive hives.
We believe that the beekeeping industry will never break free from dependence on pesticides if we continue using them. Furthermore, we have a hunch that treating for mites tends to select for stronger, more aggressive mites and more susceptible bees over time. According to Bee Informed Partnership, it takes fewer mites to damage a colony now than it used to. Fed up with the treatment treadmill, we have been raising our bees naturally without antibiotics and using only organic mite treatments, going mostly without mite treatments altogether since 2009. After a little digging we found that over the last 7 years we have treated less than 4% of our colonies with any mite treatments whatsoever, and during the same time period our average winter losses have been below 30%. Tests have shown our colonies to be free of Nosema and we have never had chalkbrood or foulbrood in any of our colonies. Our hives are inspected by the WV Department of Agriculture annually.
We would like to use nutrition and genetics to do as much of the fight as possible. We have begun documenting the mite-biting trait (“ankle biters”) in our colonies and selecting for lower mite build-up in our colonies.
The vast majority of our colonies are led by queens that we raised ourselves from our gentlest, most productive, and most mite-free mother colonies. We regularly purchase mite-resistant stock, including Russian, VSH Italian, VSH Carniolan, or “ankle-biters” to help prevent in-breeding, as we have fewer than 100 hives at this point. All our queens are naturally open-mated and we use drone yards to maintain good control over the genetics in our valley.
We sell on a first come first served basis, so we can put you on our waiting list and let you know in March if we are able to supply you in 2017. Feel free to contact me if you need an emergency queen in the summer and can pick it up on site or meet me at an event.
I do not rush my queen rearing in the early spring. I wait until drones are flying before I graft to ensure super-abundant drones, nectar and pollen, and to maximize the chances of warm weather for flight and mating. This mimics the natural swarm cycle when bees reproduce during optimum conditions for optimum queen performance. I also identify capped worker brood before delivering your nuc so that you do not end up with a drone layer.
Typically our customers assemble and paint their equipment and then drop it off at my house on (or any time before) April 15. Include a ratchet strap and put your name on your box and/or lid. This way I can install the nuc straight into your boxes. I can also meet you and pick up your boxes at a 2016 North Central WV Beekeepers meeting – Contact us to make arrangements and get directions.
The hive can be any size (10-frame, 8-frame, 5-frame) and should be in good condition. Frames of foundation only, please no comb. Depending on what size nuc you order you can subtract that number of frames from your box. For instance, if you are purchasing a 5-frame nuc and installing it into an 8-frame box, bring your box with 3 frames of foundation. I typically make up nucs with deep frames, but I can make them with IL medium frames if you specify. I install the split into your boxes and raise a queen for you from our own local survivor stock, then notify you to come pick them up when the queen is laying a good worker brood pattern and they are “ready to explode” – usually early June. Please pick them up promptly so they do not swarm. 🙂
For 2016 the price per nuc is $25 per frame plus $30 for the queen. There is no price difference between deep and medium frames. It will be $3 for marking the queen, and an additional $10 if you would like to purchase them in a temporary (cardboard) nuc box rather than your own boxes. You can keep the box and this saves you a trip. Note: orders for these nucs in temporary boxes must be given to us by the end of February.
5-frame nuc with marked queen in your box: $158 (Unmarked queen $155)
5-frame nuc with marked queen in cardboard nuc box: $168 (Unmarked queen $165)
4-frame nuc with marked queen in your box: $133 (Unmarked queen $130)
4-frame nuc with marked queen in cardboard nuc box: $143 (Unmarked queen $140)
Call right away if you need any. I am not into shipping nucs by conventional postal services, but if you or your group would like to order 10 or more nucs, I am willing to drive them a limited distance for an additional fee. We take calls or e-mails if you have any questions. Contact us here! Note: There is a WVBA board meeting annually in central West Virginia on the first Saturday in June. Some have found it beneficial to meet me there to pick up their nucs at no additional cost. Just an option to consider, especially for those in the southern part of the state. Contact me to order your nucs for delivery to this meeting.
We have had very good reports from our customers so far. Of course we cannot guarantee any trait due to the natural open-mating of the queens. If you ever experience any problems with our service or products, please notify us first thing. We would like to do all we can to make you successful.