Today I began preparing my order for bees. Yes, its early, but I want to get on board because they do run out. I also want to order some queens and they run out even quicker. When you order you will most likely be chosing between Italians and Carniolans. Italians seem to be a bit hardier than the “Carnies” but I like them both.
Next, you will need to decide if you want a “nuc” or a package. A nuc is a small hive. It comes with five frames of drawn comb and the queen is already laying, so there will be open and capped brood. Nuc’s are further along than a package, but you normally cant get them until a month or so later than the packages. Packages come in two sizes, either two or three pounds of bees. Packages are nothing more than a box of loose bees with a mated queen. There are no frames and after you put them into your hive they start from scratch. Packages are cheaper to buy and have normally just about caught up with or even surpassed where a nuc is by the time you can purchase a nuc. I like packages.
How many hives? I suggest starting with at least two. More management options are available to you with more than one hive. Also, you must plan on losing some hives each year. If you only have one hive………………….
If you are just beginning, you have an important decision to make. Are you going to treat your hive with chemicals (pesticides) to combat mites – a major problem for bees – or are you going to go the treatment free route. Mites will kill some of your hives, so the temptation is there to treat, but there other options. Some bees are better at fighting off mites and that is the direction I am trying to take my bees, For right now, I’ve listed some resources below both for ordering and for doing research. Next time we will talk about foundation vs foundationless.
Ruhl Bee Supply – http://www.bee-outside.com/index.aspx
Glory Bee – http://beekeeping.glorybee.com/shop/
For Equipment – http://www.mannlakeltd.com/index.html
Treatment Free Beekeeping http://parkerfarms.biz/