This year’s nucleus colonies (starter hives) will be available beginning the second week of May 2019. This is for pick up only from Marin and Sonoma county, and nucs will come ready to take home in a cardboard nuc box.

Deep nucs come with 4 frames total, with 2-3 frames of brood at different stages, plus one with resources and a marked, laying queen.

Mediums come with 5 frames total, with 3 frames of brood and 2 with resources, along with a marked, laying queen.

We can do apiary visits and local deliveries for an additional fee, just let us know with your purchase confirmation and we can make arrangements.

Click here to order

About my bees:

For many years I have been selectively breeding bees both from purchased mite-tolerant queens and managed colonies that have successfully overwintered 2 or more years. My selection criteria include the following: Varroa sensitive behavior (meaning the bees will detect and remove mites in capped brood), those who display no signs of disease or pathogen, overwinter well, build up well in the spring, produce enough honey to harvest, and are gentle enough to work without a suit or gloves. 

Jennifer is grafting queens

Jennifer is grafting queens

QUeens are grafted from 1 day old larvae where they are placed in artificial queen cups

QUeens are grafted from 1 day old larvae where they are placed in artificial queen cups

Why nucs?

Nucleus colonies are the best way to begin beekeeping or to add hives to your apiary, since they have a higher survival rate than buying packages from big-time bee breeders. These nucs will need to be moved into their new full-sized homes as soon as possible, and may need additional feeding if the weather isn't great and honey combs need to be drawn out by bees their first year.

Nucleus colony

2019 Nucs include:

Five mediums frames or 4 deep frames, depending on your order, filled with young bees

Two to three of those are brood frames with different stages of development,

Two to three remaining are full of honey and pollen

One laying, marked queen from 2019

One temporary nuc box for temporary transport.

Nucs are located in Mill Valley or Sebastopol for pick up and can be delivered for an additional fee.

To order your nucs click here

These nucs will need to be moved into standard equipment as soon as they are purchased. Check out my list for basic equipment before you buy your first hive to make sure you have everything. 

I can also do site visit "Hive Dives" to get you up to speed quickly on your bees and their needs, plus apiary evaluation for better hive health and honey production. I'm a professional teacher, and I believe the best beekeepers are those who have one-on-one, hands-on training. Beekeeping is only easy until you start to learn how complicated it is.


bee wokshop.jpg

About me:

My name is Jennifer Berry, and my background is terrestrial biology. I've been keeping bees in the Bay Area since 2003. My first hives were purchased from a commercial farmer, and I quickly began adding to my apiary by splitting the best hives each year and adding swarms from nearby hives. For over a decade I’ve been managing apiaries for organic farms, along with mentoring many hobbyists and teaching classes. My methods are to keep bees organically with minimal intervention but maximum care, and to use methods that make most of our Bay Area climate. Bees always come first over profit.

Since 2013 I’ve brought in genetics from hygienic queens that I purchase, adding them to my growing stock of locally adapted bees. I also have been trading genetics with other local breeders for bees that are well adapted to our Mediterranean climate.

I have several posts on Instructables on beekeeping how-to, including one on this topic.


Please note: These are domestic honeybees and will need to be maintained, which means that you are responsible for the health and wellbeing of these animals while they are in your care. I cannot be responsible for lost hives when they have not been properly cared for. That being said, I am always available for questions, and will replace any queens who are not laying well or show any signs of problems for the first 6 weeks after purchase.


Queens are raised in their own mating nucs and open mated in Southern Marin and Sonoma CountY.

Queens are raised in their own mating nucs and open mated in Southern Marin and Sonoma CountY.