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2016 Nucs for Sale

photo nucsNucs in their overwintering configuration

For 2016, I will have several kinds of nucs available, each consisting of five medium depth frames of adult bees, including three frames of brood of varied ages (all of which are offspring of your queen), as well as pollen and honey. You will take the nuc home in a waxed cardboard nuc box ($10 deposit), from which you can transfer them to an eight or ten frame medium depth box.

  • Overwintered nucs containing a locally raised 2015 queen, brood, pollen and honey. By definition “survivor” since it will have come through the 2015-2016 winter to Spring, the five frame medium nuc has a queen raised from my local survivor stock, the queen mother having survived one to four years in SE PA. These nucs are more expensive due to my work caring for them in late Summer, Fall and Winter. They will be available as soon as brood rearing is well underway and populations are increasing in Spring, which is weather dependent. These will be the earliest nucs I have available, likely the end of March. $350
  • Nucs with 2016 Carniolan queens from Hawaii. Five frame medium nucs with Carniolan queens purchased from Hawaiian Queen ( Three frames of her brood, as well as nectar and pollen. Likely availability is the end of April. $155
  • Nucs with 2016 New World Carniolan queens from Northern California. Five frame medium nucs with Carniolan queens purchased from Strachan Apiaries ( Three frames of her brood, as well as nectar and pollen. Likely availability is the end of May. $155
  • Nucs with locally raised 2016 queens bred from local survivor mothers. Queen mothers may be of Italian, Carni, VSH or other desirable stock; all queen mothers have survived one to multiple winters here in SE PA. Five frames of bees, three frames of your queen’s brood, as well as nectar and pollen. Likely availability is June-July. $155

See the following sites for a discussion of the pros and cons of starting a colony with a nuc versus a package:                                                                        

I am PA licensed (C2015-75, through September 22, 2016) to sell Queens and Nucleus colonies. As part of this program, my queen rearing apiaries are inspected by the PA Department of Agriculture twice a year, typically at the beginning and end of the active beekeeping season. I use no antibiotics in my beekeeping operations.

To get on my nuc list, email me via the “contact” tab above. I do not take advance deposits, as I cannot guarantee availability in advance. Requests are honored on a first come, first served basis. Thank you for your interest! ___________________________________________________

Varroa mites are the leading cause of colony mortality in Maryland.

January 2016

“Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD) is a term often misused. Many use the term to describe high rates of colony losses. CCD, in the strict sense, refers to a very peculiar set of symptoms, prevalent in the years 2006-2007 but uncommonly observed since.

Though CCD cases have declined, the rate of honey bee colony losses remained high in the US – about 30% over the last 9 winters (Lee et al., 2015) – and higher than what beekeepers judge economically sustainable.

High rates of colony losses are the result of many, sometimes interacting factors – including parasites, diseases, poor nutrition and pesticide poisoning. However, there is little doubt that the top reason for losses are varroa mites. While virtually all commercial beekeepers treat for mites, backyard beekeepers appear unaware or dismissive of this issue (Steinhauer et al., 2014; Lee et al., 2015). Most backyard beekeepers do not treat their colonies for varroa (BIP management survey 2013-2014, unpublished). The problem is particularly acute in Maryland, where mite levels in September have been 3 times the national average and 5 times greater than the economic treatment threshold of 3 mites per hundred bees for three years in a row. Untreated colonies will inevitably collapse as quickly as 6 months to a year after establishment. These collapses don’t just effect the colonies owner but also threaten neighboring colonies. There is growing evidence that beekeepers who treated colonies effectively often loose colonies to varroa because of mite invasion post-treatment. These mites likely came from untreated collapsing colonies within 3 miles of the treated colony. Every responsible beekeeper needs to monitor and manage mite populations. Mite management need not include hard chemical treatments – there are plenty of biologically based and even organic treatments available. No responsible person would leave our dogs tick or flea infested, why should we treat out bees differently?

A great and comprehensive mite control guide is available at:

Nathalie Stienhauer and Dennis vanEngelsdorp

Dennis vanEngelsdorp,  Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Maryland and Nathalie Steinhauer, Ph.D. candidate, vanEngelsdorp Lab ____________________________________________________

Observation Hive for Sale

Looking for an observation hive to take with you when speaking to school groups or at environmental events? Want to attract attention to your booth at a farmer’s market? Bring an observation hive! I have a previously used observation hive for sale. It holds three, medium depth frames, giving space for brood and honey stores. A port that accommodates a mason jar for feeding sugar syrup is at one end of the hive, whereas the other end has a metal plate that can be raised to provide a bee exit directly or connection of a tube for exit via a building window. Frames are placed in the hive by opening the Plexiglas-containing side door with wooden knob. The hive also has a metal handle at the top for carrying to an event and screened ventilation holes on the sides and top. I’ve successfully used an identical observation hive for long-term placement in a school-even over winter-making the daily activities of the bees accessible to children.                                                                                           Contact Vincent Aloyo: 610-278-1621. $125.