|Local Nucs and their advantage over packaged bees.|
For the health of our colonies I believe we need to decrease our dependence on imported bees. Many of the major pests and diseases we are dealing with are imported with packaged bees and our reliance on imported early spring packages prevents us from developing a strong, local, survivor stock bee population. A local bee production industry is important, as is the genetic diversity by introducing different breeds.
My issue with package bees is they often are mite ridden and may include all too many older forager bees as opposed to young nurse bees that a healthy nuc has. Economically, if you factor in the value of a was filled comb (ten dollars) you will find that most nucs are actually a better ‘buy’ than a package. You also have a queen already in egg laying mode and this fully functioning colony has a queen and brood pattern you can see. You also have bees in all stages of development from egg to forager. Most importantly the alternative packaged queen may sometimes be not accepted by these non related package worker bees.
The benefits of using a nucleus over a package are that you have a fully functioning colony with a laying queen and brood pattern you can see.
Most of all buying local nucs support the local economy not the box store.
Overview: Many backyard beekeepers will not have wax drawn frames to install their packages to so a lot of energy and feeding will be required to produce the wax to draw out the frames. Close attention will need to be spent to insure the survival and performance of the new queen.
Before choosing a nuc supplier it is important to know the history of the bee breeder; are the bee’s tested for hygienics?; have the bees had an IPM program before being put into the nucs? Have the bees have been employed in commercial pollination in CA? Agrichemicals used in the fields or even the chemicals used by the commercial beekeeper may be an issue if these are recycled bees.
Other questions to ask your supplier may include:
- How many frames and what size, standard deep frame (9 1/8”) or medium?
- The number of frames covered in bees?
- How many frames contain brood?
- Is the brood of all stages?
- What % of the frames of brood are covered in brood?
- Are the food resource frames amply filled?
- Is the queen local?
- Are the mating nucs in separate yards if the seller has more than one breed?
- Is the queen marked showing the year of mating? Queens should have a color code for that year.
- Is the nuc box included in the price? Or is it bring your own to transfer?
- What type of nuc box is it? (cardboard, plastic or wood)
- Has the seller inspected the nucs for disease and varroa levels?
- When are the nucs available?
- If you still want to go with a package like one chain farm store offers make sure they come with a feeding can. Often they do not and the bees will die. 220.00 down the tube.
Woods Bees in 919 W. Reynolds Ave. Centralia WA 98531 (360) 623-3359 has many options for buying bees including nucs and queens. They also have all the hardware you might need to get a hive going. Alan Wood is a Master Beekeeper that has years of experience in keeping bees in the Pacific Northwest. Carnica bees seem to be the singular breed choice. https://woodsbeeco.com/
Stanwood Bees – Stanwood, WA 98292- The business is at 18524 Swanson Lane. 1 (425) 681 5793 They have the hardware you need and the bees. Carniolan, Saskatraz and Italian and something they call ‘Ankle biters.’ Aside from the normal nuc they also offer ONE brood frame with bees that can be mailed along with the locally raised Queen. Tim Welsh is the owner. Brood frame with Bees https://stanwoodbeeco.com/
Olympic Wilderness Apiary – Pacific Northwest Bees Suppliers of Queens and sometimes nucs
Our queens are predominantly Wild Survivors of the Olympic Peninsula of WA. State
Dan & Judy Harvey Phone: 360 928-3125 HWY 112 Port Angeles, WA 98363
Packaged Bees The Snohomish Bee Co. We are authorized resellers of MannLake, Dadant & Sons, GloryBee & BetterBee.
For Hardware Suppliers I usually deal with the following: and before purchasing check out this other blog for what the beginner should buy.
|For those of you on the Olympic Peninsula I also have bee hardware. Basically the same prices as above, but if you need a hive body yesterday or frames 3 kinds/ and foundation, drop on by. You will have the chance to compare double coated wax foundation with what Amazon or cheaper outlets sell. The cost difference is so minimal. SKYLINE Nursery or Honey Thyme Apiary at 1080 W. Hendrickson Rd, Sequim. If you are a NOPBA club member I have the clubs books to lend out.|