SPRING 2020 NUCS
ordering NOW OPEN
In 2005 we began to produce and sell large quantities of nucs for sale to sideline and hobby beekeepers in the northeast. Having experience in buying and installing large numbers of package bees, we knew about the limitations of package bees and were aware critical timing events associated with shaking packages and baby nuc set up for bred queen production.
Basic Beekeeping with Nucs
There are several options for replacing or adding colonies into your apiary whether you have one or one-thousand hives. Packaged bees have always been a popular method for replacement or expansion. However, they sometimes pose supercedure issues due to the fact that you are combining a young mated queen with unrelated loose bees in an empty hive with pheromones (odors) unfamiliar to all. Often with new beekeepers, the bees are put into new equipment with undrawn combs. It is easier for bees to adapt to introduction onto comb that is already drawn and ready for the queen to lay eggs.
Our Queen Stock
VSH and the ”POL” ( Pollinator) Queen Line
We have grafted our own queens for nearly twenty years. From it’s beginning, our breeding program has emphasized varroa mite resistance. We have enjoyed a close relationship with the USDA-ARS lab. in Baton Rouge La. due in part to it’s close proximity to our production farms in Bunkie and Jennings Louisiana.
We were early participants in the Russian bee breeding program developed at the Baton Rouge Lab. We were also early recipients of breeders from Marla Spivak’s Minnesota Hygienic program. The VSH POL LINE project is named in part for our early participation in providing a high stress proving environment from multiple crop pollinations in the north east and California. To this day we continue to have a close relationship with the lab, providing stock to VP QUEENS, and testing for the Hawaiian Honey Co., a VSH Queen provider based in Hilo, Hawaii. For more information about our history with VSH stock please refer to the article written by Andy Card in the August 2019 Bee Culture magazine
Today we raise and install over 50,000 queens for our own use and for our nuc program. With over 25,000 colonies and 10,000 nucs, dispersed over 300 locations in Louisiana we are able to influence the genetic make up of our bees through aggressive re-queening and flooding of our outyards with stock of our choosing.
We are familiar enough with VSH queens and bees to know their advantages and limitations. Often, colonies which show a high expression of varroa sensitive hygiene produce up to 25% less honey than others. For a number of years we have included breeders from Latshaw Apiaries, known for their large tight brood patterns resulting in high honey production. We currently sift our own stock for high production coupled with mite resistance. With over 20,000 hives to choose from we select the two highest producing colonies from 300 yards, approx.. 600, and perform alcohol washes, locating those with low mite counts (0-1 final selection 6-7 months after treatment).The overall quality of our selection is greatly enhanced by our breeding program itself and having over 20,000 colonies to choose from each year.
Our goal is to provide our customers with queens we would choose to use ourselves. While we recognize the challenge varroa crossover ( varroa jacobsonii. to v. destructor) presents to honeybees, our mission is to provide bees which require minimal treatment.