Introducing Two Large Nucs


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.