I will be selling starter bee colonies (called also "nucleus" and/or "nucs") beginning the first week of May 2018. These are 5 frame nucs in temporary cardboard nuc boxes, consisting of 3 brood frames and 2 frames with resources. Nucs on medium frames are $200 each and those on deeps are $220 each. These nucs are for pickup only, and I am located in Marin in the San Francisco Bay Area. To arrange your purchase, please contact me at: jenniferberrybees (at) gmail (dot) com.
For many years I have been selectively breeding bees both from purchased mite-tolerant queens and suitable feral 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.
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. They consist of 5 frames of comb, two to three with brood, the rest resources, and overflowing with bees and their own tested queen. 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.
5 frame nucs include:
Five (deep or medium based on your choice) frames 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 2018
One temporary nuc box for temporary transport.
Nucs are located in Mill Valley for pick up and can be delivered for an additional fee.
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.
Who am I?
My name is Jennifer Berry, and I've been keeping bees since 2003. I started out with four hives I purchased from a commercial farmer, and quickly began adding to my apiary with swarms and then extractions. I keep bees organically with minimal intervention but maximum care for healthy, well-cared for bees. Bees always come first over profits.
In 2013 and 2014 I brought in genetics from hygienic queens I purchased, adding them to my growing stock of feral and locally adapted bees.
My bees produce honey for markets in Marin and Sonoma counties, and I mentor new beekeepers and teach as well.
I have several posts on Instructables on beekeeping how-to, including one on this topic. http://www.instructables.com/id/Nucleus-Colony-or-How-to-Start-a-Beehive/
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.