Thursday, February 11, 2016


Perhaps I'm overly optimistic about the status of my colonies, but because room is becoming scarce in my yard, I took orders for 4 splits. They were snapped up within hours, and a waiting list got started. Even more exciting, yesterday, my first downpayment arrived! 

In my area, a local nuc easily sells for $200 - $250. At this point, money is not my main objective, so I underpriced the bees by a considerable amount. Mostly, I just want to test the waters and get a feel for the process. 

I could probably easily sell 8-10 nucs as long as all 6 colonies pull through to spring, but I'd like to keep a couple splits for me and make some honey. Also, I wanted to limit the number of splits for sale because it's still a long way until the pollen comes rolling in, and I wouldn't like to disappoint anyone or weaken my own hives too much -- because that would mean less honey!

Still it's kind of fun to sell some bees. Hives don't seem to grown on trees, so it's nice to actually make this hobby pay for itself.


  1. So cool! Are you selling TBH nucs, and if so how do you do this? Or are you selling normal Lang boxes? I'm interested in TBH nucs long term (probably not this year) and wonder about the process. Around here Lang nucs are normally about $150, have never seen a TBH nuc.

    So cold here (in Virginia) this week. Hope your bees are hanging on, so to speak.

    1. Yes! I'm selling TBH nucs! I need to split my bees this spring, but I just can't keep them all, so I've found some good homes.

      I compare TBH boxes to AB and O blood. One is a universal recipient; one is a universal donor.

      To make a nuc, you want to use a universal donor -- so choose a hive that is on the small size (a GoldStar/Chandler hive is a good size). Using flat bars, just lay them centered across the nuc so that the bees build the comb in the center of the bar. The bars can be any length because it doesn't matter if they hang over the sides of the hive wall, so just cut the bars to fit the width of the TBH they will eventually be transferred to. Because the comb will not get larger than the interior of that small TBH, the bars can be transferred to any TBH without trimming comb. If the comb goes into a larger hive, the bees will build it out there. (Did that description make sense?)

      Btw -- if you happen to use bars that are too long for the hive that the comb is going into, it's pretty easy to trim them. That happened to me, and I just closed up the hive the evening before. Then we trimmed the bars with a circular saw the next morning and reopened.

      Hope you're weathering the cold ok! My forecast says some warmer weather is coming up. Fingers crossed!

    2. Hmmm, so how do you get your existing comb into the Nuc of a small size? Do you trim your comb down or do you arrange for the bees to "swarm" into the Nuc and start from scratch? (and yes, this makes sense).

    3. Either would work. If you want to pull combs directly from the hive, you could definitely trim combs. Even easier, I think, is looking for combs that haven't been built out completely yet. If you don't have small combs, you can just stick a few bars on the hive between some drawn bars, and wait a few days for the bees to build a bit of comb on it and put some eggs in it.

  2. Thanks for the description of how to do the nucs. I like your AB/O analogy! Gets me to thinking about pulling out the table saw! I'm thinking of just having some nucs in my yard as a way of propagating bees this year and making them to the smaller size sounds like the way to go. My Chandler hives are wider at the top than the Hardison hives, but I can use them in either because I have a 12" kerf in the middle. The overhang isn't a problem for the Hardison hives because the lid fits loosely enough. I think for the nucs, I could make the Chandler hives a little less deep so the combs would fit in the Hardison hives without having to trim the bottoms. I hope you are able to fulfill all your orders and then some!

    1. Hooray! How's the weather? Is it warm enough to woodwork? Sounds like you have a great plan for starting nucs for your yard. Can't wait to see them!

      BTW -- You were right about the winter. The last week has been brisk to say the least. This morning, it was -13 F, and I could just hear my car cursing at me when I started it. Brr... Looking forward to some warmer days.

    2. It's 60 today, should by 70 by Thursday, but lots of wind. We get chinooks here with winds 40-50mph, but it's a warm wind. I thought about dragging out the saw today, but the bathroom guys were using the back porch and I ran out of time. But my bees were out flying today and bringing in pollen! Apparently the silver maples are in bloom. Still lots of winter left though - March used to be our snowiest month!

      Glad my forecast was right and that 4 years of college weren't wasted. ;-) Looks like you'll get some rain in the next couple of days and then go back into a cold pattern - maybe a good snowstorm in a week depending on the storm track!

    3. That's wonderful that your girls are bringing in pollen. Our protracted autumn has me concerned that the bees will run out of stores too quickly, and our plants have no idea what to make of this weather! lol! Thinking about feeding them during our warm (but wet) week.

      Happily, my friend, your time in college was not wasted. You always seem to make the right call. (BTW, you're much more accurate about my weather than the weather app on my phone, too!) I love having my own personal long-range forecast, too! :-)


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