Package bees consist of 3 lbs of honey bees in a cage with a naturally mated Italian queen. The bees are raised in northern California. Packages are distributed in April.
Nuc Hives consist of 4 deep frames of honey bees and brood in a wood nuc box. The queen is a young, naturally mated queen that has already been introduced into the hive. Nucleus Hives are raised in Colton, Oregon. Nucs are distributed over a few week period in April. We cannot guarantee the queen variety but invite you to list your preference when you order.
Queen bees will be available weekly from approximately April - August. Exact dates TBD. Queens are naturally mated. They come in a 3-hole cage and have attendants and a food supply. Varieties will include Oregon raised Old Sol Survivor Stock and California raised Italian and New World Carniolan. All are bred for hygienic behavior.
About Italian and Carniolan bees:
Colony behavior can vary significantly from hive to hive. Further, bee behavior can change by selective breeding within the race. Keep in mind that bee traits you see described on websites and in beekeeping books are often citing the traits of the original stock (from Italy or Slovenia, for example) but these European (old world) bees have been selectively bred in North America (new world) for specific traits since they were first introduced here from Europe. So they might deviate in behavior from the old world stock.
The Italian bee is generally described as gentle and productive. We handle thousands of colonies, and we find this to be true. We consider the Italian bee to be great for suburban beekeeping because of its gentle characteristics combined with good honey productivity. The New World Carniolan bee is thought to do well in colder, more mountainous climates. But, in our experience, the New World Carniolan tends to be quicker to defend its hive, so is perhaps less well suited to backyard beekeeping where you have close neighbors. Carniolans also tend to maintain a smaller cluster during the winter, and are late to build up brood in the spring--great traits for mountain foothill bee survival. However, the increase is quick when it happens, which can lead to unexpected swarming early in the season.
Italian Honeybee on Lavender (Notice the yellow and black striping on the abdomen.)
Carniolan Honeybee on Thyme (Notice the grey and black striping on the abdomen.)
Visit our Retail Store:
29600 SW Seely Ave. Suite B,
Wilsonville, Oregon 97070
Give us a Call: 800-233-7929
Have beekeeping questions?