This week I sold another round of nucleus colonies, this time to a good friend and mentor Arthur Baker, who is expanding his number of apiaries in Marin and Sonoma counties.
Among the sites for my bees is Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg, founded by the brilliant and lovely couple Mimi and Peter Buckley. Arthur's new hives will start by visiting the fields of vegetables that will be sold to local restaurants and markets, and next spring will pollinate the apples for feeding their beautiful pigs.
from Front Porch's website, "We grow our produce to order for local chefs and knowledgeable grocers who share the same passion for flavorful, old-time varieties, ones that need a bit more love and attention than the commercial hybrid types."
Arthur was interested in locally adapted genetic stock for his hives. My hives did a terrific job through the winter despite our summer drought, and after the spring honey harvest I split my strongest and divided and requeened my least desirable hives. As with every year, for my queens I select bees exhibiting signs of varroa resistance, hygienic behavior and a propensity to propolise, plus even temperament and good honey production.
This year I added to my apiary the genetics from Sue Cobey's Caucasian bees, via friend and mentor Volker Ackermann, who let me in on learning to graft queens in his apiary and then gave me several beautiful queen cells for my own hives. I can't leave out Robert MacKimmie, the guy in the photo, who was also there to show me how it's done.
Arthur's new queens are a mix of my own stock and the Caucasian lineage, and I wish them all well in their new homes. It's a very satisfying feeling to hand those cardboard nuc boxes off and see them loaded in the truck. ictured in the photo is Robert MacKimmie, expert beekeeper, inspected his grafted queen cells.