Nucs for sale with Red Queens

The BeeHolder, Spring 2013

Following the large demand for locally bred Nucs during 2012 the Association has secured a supply again this year.

We have already heard members finding dead colonies and for many the season for losses is yet to come. The appalling weather of 2012 meant that many queens did not get mated properly and failing colonies are to be expected from now until July, which means that there will probably be an even greater scramble for new colonies this year than last. The temptation will be to go for colonies headed by an imported queen because these will be available quite soon. You can almost guarantee that if you are offered a colony before May, then it will either be from an imported queen or it has a queen hatched last year or earlier.

It is likely that the amount of fraudulently labelled colonies will be greater this year. It is also likely that the theft of colonies will be greater this year and that these colonies will be split into several nucs and either given an imported queen or sold queenless. These nucs are then sold on to those desperate to start beekeeping or replace failed stocks. Check with a committee member before you buy, and remember that a deal which looks too good to be true, probably is a dodgy deal!

Experience shows that even colonies brought in from further than 75 miles away do not fare as well as those bred locally. In order to discourage bringing “foreign” colonies into Montgomeryshire the MBKA is offering locally bred colonies cheaper than can generally be obtained elsewhere.

The nucs we are offering are from beekeepers working closely with the University of Bangor on a queen breeding programme. All Queens will be produced in Montgomeryshire close to the Shropshire border. The offer is for 6 framed nucs including a Nucleus box which can be expanded to 11 frames. Yes you did read that right ... 6 frames of bees with space to expand to 11 frames! Last year many of the nucs had 7 frames of bees, some members got 8 frames in the box and one lucky person got a full 9 frames in a 11 frame box

With the cold March it is doubtful the Nucs will be ready before June. And, as last year, delivery will depend on the weather so June at the earliest. Whatever the weather you will not be able to buy local nucs from locally bred queens earlier than that. All queens will have been produced in west or east Montgomeryshire or within 10 miles of our county borders. The price is £155 and that includes delivery to our Gregynog Apiary for collection by you.

The nucs will be delivered to us only when their 2013 queens have proved their worth. Those getting bees for the first time are recommended to buy two colonies. Two colonies are actually easier to manage than one colony. It is easier to understand bee behaviour by comparing colonies and it is far easier to describe any problems to your mentor if you have two colonies.

The supplier states that “the nucleus colonies are made in accordance with FERA Best Practice guidelines. This provides you with assurances of quality for the following:

  • That there is a good standard of bees, brood, food and equipment provided.
  • Instructions for the installation and care of your nuc are supplied on collection, you may contact us for further advice.
  • Our bees and your nuc are regularly checked for disease e.g. varroa and treated where necessary. This is recorded.
  • By operating a record system for sales, the National Bee Unit (NBU) is able to follow up any statutory disease situation.

Please note that the Fera guidelines are a little more exacting than the BBKA guidelines.

To order e-mail and then send a deposit of £75 for each Nuc. Make cheques out to Montgomeryshire Beekeepers Association and send to NUCS, School House, Y Fan, Llanidloes, Powys, SY18 6NP. This offer is only open to members of the MBKA.

Supply is limited and all orders will be dealt with on a first come first served basis. Cheques will be returned as soon as we know that the stocks are finished. We are closing the order book at 10 May.