The Bee Dating Agency
My name is Lesley Parker and I will once more be running the Bee Dating Scheme for 2017. The purpose of this scheme is to put suppliers in touch with those members who have no bees, either because they have lost their bees or because they are just starting out in beekeeping.
The scheme is entirely voluntary and free but to participate you must be a paid-up, registered member of Cheshire Beekeepers.
Most purchasers will be beginners looking to buy a five-frame nucleus. For this reason the scheme is not intended for package bees or swarms, but some buyers may consider a full colony.
Sellers can register an intention before they have the bees ready for sale. I will not pass on your details until you are ready, but I would like some idea of what is likely to be available. Please don’t sell more than one colony to each buyer.
The principle of “first come, first served” will apply.
The following guidelines are based on BBKA advice (leaflet L014, which can be read in full on the BBKA website) and intended to ensure beginners get a good start. They are meant for standard National nucs and some adjustment can be made for hives with larger frame sizes.
Criteria for a suitable nucleus.
• Standard brood frames with wired combs in good condition.
• Not less than five frames, combs all fully drawn, with a minimum of three containing brood and two with stores to last at least two weeks.
• Brood at all stages and bees covering all frames.
• Not less than 30% sealed brood, a good brood pattern, less than 15% of the total area drone comb and no active queen cells.
• All brood to have been laid by the queen provided.
• Locally raised queen marked white for 2016 or yellow for 2017.
• The bees to be normally good tempered, when handled by a competent beekeeper.
• Adult bees and brood should show no signs of disease, though, as varroa is endemic, a very small number of mites seen on adult bees is acceptable.
• The supplier to provide a written record, with dates, of any treatments administered to the nucleus.
• The bees to be in a hive, ready for moving. Suppliers are advised to charge a returnable deposit on the hive.
• Buyers to collect the bees and transfer to their own hive after the bees have settled down a few days later.
• Empty hive to be returned to the seller within an agreed period.
• Any after-sales problems to be resolved between buyer and seller.
Beginners should consider seeking help at their local branch, for inspection of the bees before purchase and when transferring the nucleus to their own hive.
Finally, a word of caution to buyers; be wary of nucs offered before June. In this area, in most seasons, nucs with a locally reared queen, raised in the current year, are unlikely to be available before June. Unless you can be sure it is a genuine over-wintered nucleus, headed by a queen reared during the previous season, then you may be buying a nucleus headed by an imported queen. CBKA discourages the importation of queen bees and colonies from outside the UK. Buyers should satisfy themselves of the origin of bees offered for sale.
It will be assumed that those registering for the scheme, will be buying or selling bees on standard British National frames, unless advised otherwise.
Your name, `phone number, email address if you have one, the area where you are based and any other info you think pertinent.
Your name, `phone number, email, area the bees are situated and how many colonies you are likely to have available. Price and other details of the sale are to be negotiated between the buyer and seller. (The price of commercial nucs currently varies between £165 and £255.)