Introducing Two Large Nucs

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Currently, I have four large nucs (two deep hives!) for sale at $250 each.

These bees are located just a little north of Smith on the Noon Road. Please call or text me—for purchasing information or to set up an appointment to visit the apiary—at 360-354-3903 or send me an email. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Meantime, here’s some recent information about Nucs # 4 and #5 from my last post. The other two nucs for sale, #1 and #2 from my last post, are very similar to the two I’m describing below, and ready for sale.

Nuc #4 now has a second deep box. During the inspection yesterday morning, Saturday, June 5, the marked queen was present, and busy with her duties in the upper box. In the lower box, there were six frames of capped brood, as well as one full of eggs and nectar, and one side of another frame full of larvae. An orderly queen. The upper box has two frames of capped brood in the center two frames, as well as three more frames full of eggs and larvae on either side. That makes a total of eight frames with capped brood in this developing hive, which should become a decent team of honey-makers in the near future. As for food, the #4 nuc has two frames dedicated to nectar/honey, and one for pollen. There is also nectar/honey and pollen in the usual places on each of the brood frames, and a small pollen patty on top that they are paying attention to. I have fed this hive a couple gallons of 2:1 syrup in a frame feeder, which was removed during yesterday’s inspection. Currently, there are a total five empty frames counting the two I put in to replace the frame feeder space. The bees are working to fill them with comb, and should be ready for more brood and food as the season continues.

The Nuc #4 is one of six hives in a sunny apiary on Noon Road, Bellingham, WA.

#5 Nuc is also now a two-deep hive, and has six frames of capped brood (four centered in the lower box and two in the middle of the upper box). The food frames consist of 4.5 with nectar/honey, and one with pollen. This hive also is using a small pollen patty and was fed sugar syrup like #4. This hive also has 5 empty frames with the frame feeder removed, and the bees adding more comb as necessary. The marked queen was present and in the process of filling cells with eggs, just like the #4 Nuc.

Both nucs are growing at a steady pace.

All nucs are for sale at $250 each. I’d assess them to be very strong, and promising for this year’s honey harvest. They are hale and healthy, and will very likely be bringing in loads of nectar during the blackberry bloom, which is on the cusp of beginning here on Noon Road.

More information about the bees at Noon Road—

Last year, I purchased one hive at the end of April from Marie Eppens. The bees had been local to this region for at least four years. That hive swarmed about a month later. The swarm was captured, and made another good-sized healthy hive by fall. All the hives this year came from those two original hives. The first queen was marked 2020 blue. The second one is marked yellow because it is an easy color to spot, and was a decent reminder of which hive I was working with, as she is the 2020 daughter of the blue queen. In the fall, I gave them enough sugar syrup to get the hives ready for winter. I also gave them oxalic acid treatments in two sets. Ambient mite counts are still low to nothing. Both hives overwintered well on sugar boards. They also had access to pollen patties. So when March rolled around with its cool weather, I really wanted to do inspections, but I waited and waited for decent weather. Next year, I will inspect on the best of the weather forecasts in March, no matter how horrible (as long as it is not raining, snowing, or with high winds blowing). At the very end of March, I did an inspection. Both hives were healthy and active, and it didn’t seem like there was any need to rush into doing a Snelgrove split. But by April 12, there had been an amazing, and unexpected population explosion.

As I understand it, the Snelgrove Method is generally started toward the end of April in the Pacific Northwest. My two hives were split on April 12 and 14, but should have been split a week or two prior to that. Who knew? There were suddenly so many bees in both hives that, in addition to the two Snelgrove splits, side nucs were necessary for each. So my apiary went from two hives to six because of an overabundance of bees. Less than a month later, on Monday, May 10, there was a swarm. It collected on a fence line and hung to the ground from a metal post and a wooden post stapled to ancient barbed wire. Then again, on Wednesday, May 12, another swarm went straight into a blackberry patch. I now had eight hives, and a hands-on education about how to catch swarms successfully. These are Nucs #4 and #5.

The queens who produced these nucs are robust, quite large (even for queens), and are a beautiful beery amber color. I’ve marked five of this year’s queens pink for lack of a white pen, but I suppose it is a decent enough color for a new queen in one’s apiary. As I now have a blown glass queen catcher, and a one-handed queen catcher, and I took this year’s opportunity to learn how to mark queens.

Many thanks to Michael Jaross for teaching me many methods, details and routines for effective beekeeping. The bees continually teach me the specifics about how to care for them. The most important lesson they’ve taught me is that I will always be learning something from these surprising insects.

art-book

“Story of a First Year Hive”

Art

A HANDMADE ART-BOOK—

art-book

The front cover is made from two types of handmade paper embossed with beehive foundation.

“Story of a First Year Hive” is currently part of a virtual display titled NWCRAFT20, which is coordinated by, and in support of, the Bellevue Arts Museum and the artists of the Northwest Designer Craftsmen. You can visit this show at your leisure, or even right this minute, by clicking here.

I refer to this book as an art-book for two reasons:

  1. The book is handbound with papers made by the artist.
  2. The book is illustrated with collages of natural materials, lightly inked.

DETAILS ABOUT MAKING THE ART-BOOK

All the papers in this art-book are made by the artist from both natural and manmade materials. The interior pages are made from the fibers of retted iris and daylily leaves. The cover papers are made from cotton rags, and embossed onto the frame of foundation that was once inside a working hive. Some of the propolis the honeybees left behind is deposited onto the embossed papers, along with the honeycomb grid. The binding is made with a coptic stitch, and hand-sewn using waxed cotton thread. A coptic binding allows for the book to be flexible and to open up flat.

The pages are divided into six signatures (or sections), each joined together with a strip of strong paper made from a tan cotton rug yarn, which can be seen along the spine. This paper is actually made from the remnants cut from the looms of a local rug weaving company.

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On each of the right-hand pages (recto side), I pasted a small paper made from cotton bed sheets using the archival glue most often used for binding books. On each of these papers, I made a collage, that was created with a combination of all sorts of things, including sunflower and evergreen pollen; lichen; honeybee, hornet, and ladybug parts; birch and grass leaves; gold leaf, silk string, and old cloth electric-tape, as well as ink diagrams. The ink drawings are detailed and minuscule, perhaps as drawn by a honey bee. These collaged pages carry a story “as told” by honeybees, which has been “translated” through the artist’s collages.

INSPIRATION FOR THE ART-BOOK

2019 was the first year I kept honeybees. They are fascinating, miraculous, and surprising creatures in more ways than I can say. The creation of this art-book is a way of honoring the bees who kept me company, and taught me many things while they were here. I regret to say that, though I did care for them, treated them for mites, and protected them from other hazards, the hive died that September. Varroa mites bring with them a variety of viruses to honeybees. In a way, they have been fighting viruses like our novel coronavirus for several years, and beekeepers are making some headway, but there is still no real “cure” for this invasive species. Beekeepers currently protect their hives from the varroa mites and their viruses by testing often and treating with care and a thoughtful schedule in a similar way that we are approaching the Covid-19. There is no vaccine for the virulent varroa mites or the infectious Covid-19, so it is seriously important that testings and treatments are effective and timely. 

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In early March, 2020, this art-book had its debut at The Schack in Everett as part of a fabulous show called Northwest Designer Craftsmen 2020 Symposium. The exhibition was full of the artwork of over 100 NWDC members that hung from the walls and stood on pedestals on both floors of beautiful and spacious gallery space. The Covid-19 safety precautions were put in place not too long after the opening on March 5, so the show closed down after about ten days, leaving hardly anyone with the opportunity to see the show, and causing some hardship for The Schack and the artists. For a quick run-through of this show, follow this link to a YouTube video.

collage in art-book

Here is one of many small collages within the book. Each has tiny drawings meant as a kind of translation of what the bees said. The collages are made up of bee-related materials.

As I continue to create assemblages and hand-bound books, I tend to experiment and stretch what I do as I go. In the near future, I’ll be making more books with collages and printmaking, often using items I find in the natural world, juxtaposed with those from our manmade ones. I love making paper because of the hands-on process, and the variety generated in the results. Through experimentation and curiosity, I’ve discovered that failure is not an error, but an education.

—Anita K. Boyle
&Artist. &&Poet.