COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Info You’re After
With the ever present risk and pervasive harm of pests and pathogens, like varroa or nosema ceranae, it is imperative that every beekeeper treat their hives to prevent and or mitigate pest/pathogen loads. At Ubees, considering timing, temperature and humidity, we strive to use compounds (like formic acid or oxalic acid) already found in honey and approved by EPA for use with honey supers on the hive to treat for varroa, so metabolites of amitraz are not going to be present in honey or have deleterious effects on queens. During a dearth and higher temperatures, thymol based products work well. We recommend spreading the thymol based products in 33g increments across 21(+) days, rather than 50g whallops twice in a row. The efficacy is the same, but the brood pull and bearding is considerably less. Oh, back to the formic acid, I’ve found it best to use this at 80F and under during the first 3 days of the treatment period. We keep our nosema counts well below the treatment threshold via microscopy and use third party laboratories to verify via molecular diagnostics that our methods are effective. Nozevit+ and Complete are in our arsenal and recommended. Splash them, feed it to them, treat them and they will bee there for you! By the way, we receive no compensation for recommendations, but I include them here because, beekeeper to beekeeper, it works!
HOW OLD ARE THE FRAMES IN THE NUCS/HIVES? AND ARE THEY PLASTIC OR WOOD FRAMES?
The frames are all within 1-3 years old and in good condition with fully drawn comb. They are wooden frames with RiteCell or Pierco foundation upon which the bees build the comb. Obviously, it would be impossible to provide brand new frames in a nucleus colony because the bees would have had no opportunity to draw out the frames, fill the cells with pollen, nectar/honey or the brood. So if brand new frames are what you are looking for, I would suggest buying them and getting package bees. Packages, however, typically require a season to build with the following year finding the hive ready to be a full production unit. A nucleus colony, with quality frames in good condition, a viable queen, all stages of brood and some food to get them going can, with proper beekeeping, go from 4 frames to a full production unit in a few brood cycles. Keep in mind, if you are using new frames that have not been drawn out, it will take at least 6g of sugar for every gram of wax and about 150,000 miles of foraging flights for one lbs of wax, with roughly 2.5lbs of wax in a two story Langstroth deep with 18-20 frames (Seeley, 1995). Giving your bees that foundation of drawn comb, brood, viable queen and bees in a quality 4frame nuc is sure to get your hive off the ground and flying to a strong producer in a shorter time than brand new undrawn frames. Let’s face it, with all the bees have to contend with nowadays, all the help the beekeeper can offer is going to make worlds of difference.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF UNITS I CAN PURCHASE?
Limited quantities are available. Orders are taken on a first come first served basis. To ensure you are getting the nucs you are seeking, we recommend reserving 5 at a time. Maybe partner with some beebuddies and get the order set together. At Ubees, we strive to help the large scale and the beeginer, so 1 nuc is not out of the question. A word of advice, you will want a minimum of two. That way you can use one to support the other. For example, if you find that one hive could benefit from some added brood or food in the coming months, or approaching winter, it is always helpful to have additional stock to help. Plus, especially if you are just starting, you are going to want to be in the hive as much as possible, but it is ill-advised to enter a hive often. Every time you open the lid and poke around, it takes a minimum of 3 days for the bees to readjust and those days add up quickly. So, for maximum benefit all the way around your apiary, we recommend a minimum of two to three nucs to start, but if one is all that fits your budget, my frugal friend, then you have still come to the right place. We are here to help you get your beekeeping started or to expand your apiary to the fullest extent of your vision.
If you have your own equipment already (which you should!), we can directly transfer your nucleus colony into your hive so you can take it home and place it immediately in your apiary. Once you set it down, if you think you put it in the wrong place, don’t move it around more than a couple feet at a time per day. Bees orient to their location, so moving the hive across the field would create a lot of confusion for your returning foragers.
WHAT YEAR ARE THE QUEENS? DO THEY COME MARKED?
Queen quality is a top priority at Ubees, so we rear our queens for nucs in North Carolina beginning in late February and early March and select only the top layers, culling under performers quickly, to ensure that the best quality queens are in our outfit and your’s.
We do not mark the queens, nor do we clip the wings after mating. Some people do, we don’t. Does it make it easier to find your queens if she is marked? Of course! However, giving her a paint job doesn’t do much more than ensure you spot her easily. If you see eggs and all stages brood, there is no reason to search for her, obviously she is laying and should be doing so prolifically! Remember, the less time you spend in a hive, the better the bees will be able to do what they do without having to compensate for the intrusions. Less is more. Adequate beekeeping, but minimize the time in the hive as best you can. I love to look in hives, so I have a lot to look through. I move efficiently, gracefully, and quickly (after decades of experience), because I want to be sure the bees benefit from any intrusion.
So, all that to say, your nucs will come with a well mated 2022 queen laying well. She will not have a paint job, but she will be painting the frames with eggs!
SHOULD I BRING MY OWN BOXES TO TRANSFER INTO?
It is a steal of a deal for a frugal beekeeper 4 Frame nucleus hive at the amazing low price of just $140.00, but I will make this deal even sweeter. If you bring your own box, it saves me the money for the box and I get to transfer that savings on to you! So, if you have the equipment ready, and you should be ready if you are getting bees, then I will take $10.00 off the price. Yes, you read that right, ten! So, bring your own boxes and get great nucs for $130.00!!! While supplies last!!
WHAT IF IT RAINS ON PICK UP DAY?
In the somewhat likely event of rain on pick up day, please plan to get your nucs the following day. If you are unable to do so, please let us know and we can work to accomodate.
DO YOU OFFER BEEKEEPING CLASSES?
Short answer, no. We are looking to incorporate a Day of the Bee in the future that would combine a lesson and nuc(s), but for now we are spread a little thin to provide lessons. I recommend reaching out to your local Apiary Inspector. I know most of them personally and am confident they can guide you. In fact, they would be glad to do so and for free! So take advantage of that knowing that you have great hives to start with and a great resource just a phone call away whose mission is to promote your knowledge and beekeeping abilities.
We will definitely update the website when the Day of the Bee program is initiated, so stay tuned!