Buy Bees & about our stock

Honey Bee, Aster_10-04-07_7203Availability Status: August 18, 2017 we are taking orders for spring 2018! I suggest having your equipment assembled and painted for next spring before the weather gets cold in the fall.

About Our Stock
We have been providing honeybees in the form of nucleus colonies (“nucs”) to local folks who need bees since 2011. We have always raised our own queens rather than ordering them in from out of state. People continue to report great success, productivity, and gentleness from our stock.

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, the threshold at which mites destroy a colony has been getting lower; in other words it takes fewer mites to damage a colony now than in the past. 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 mite-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.

The process:
1. Contact us at any time to reserve a nuc next spring
2. Drop off your box by March 15.
3. Wait for a call that your nuc is ready for pick-up (probably around late may or early June).

We sell on a first come first served basis, so we can put you on our waiting list at any time and let you know in March if we are able to supply you. Also 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.

10-frame boxes with ratchet strap and 5 frames of foundation to receive 5-frame nucs.

Typically our customers assemble and paint their equipment and then drop it off at my house on (or any time before) March 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. 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. Bring frames of foundation only, please no comb. 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. 🙂

Prices:
For 2018 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)

Overwintered nucs:
Sometimes we may have overwintered nucs available with potential to produce honey the same year – it’s like you bought the hive last year without having to grow and overwinter it. These are likely available some time in April depending on the weather.

Overwintered nucs (5-frame with queen in your box): $200. (Contact us about availability)
Overwintered nucs (5-frame with queen in cardboard nuc box): $220. (Contact us about availability)

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!

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.