The Bee Dating Agency
The Bee-Dating Scheme will run again this year, to put those members without bees in touch with suppliers. The purpose of this scheme is to supply one colony of bees to those who have no bees, either because they have lost their bees or because they are just starting out in beekeeping. Those wanting more colonies are expected to make increase from their existing bees.
Most purchasers will be beginners looking to buy five-frame nuclei. For this reason the scheme is not intended for package bees or swarms, but some buyers may consider a full colony.
The principle of “first come, first served” will apply,but, to avoid unnecessary stress on the bees, distance between buyer and seller will be taken into consideration.
The scheme is entirely voluntary and free. The following guidelines are based on BBKA advice and intended to ensure beginners get a good start. They are meant for standard National nucs and some adjustment can be made for systems with larger frame sizes.
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. Those who do not wish to meet the specifications laid out below should find an alternative outlet.
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 yellow for 2012, or white for 2011.
- 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 are 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. CBKA will not arbitrate.
Last year, a nucleus averaged £120 locally. My feeling is that this a little low. After all, a buyer would get their money back with just one super of honey and other suppliers charge a lot more than this.
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 warning to buyers; be suspicious of nucs offered before June. In this area, in most seasons, nucs with a new local queen are unlikely to be available before then. High demand and premium prices, early in the season, have led beekeepers lacking integrity to build up strong over-wintered colonies, then split them into nucs. Only one can have the queen, the others are given an unproven imported queen. So unless you can be sure that it is a genuine over-wintered nucleus, you may be buying an expensive pig in a poke. Over 400 nucs were imported from Europe last year. No doubt some purchasers of these thought they were buying local stock.
It will be assumed that those registering for the scheme, will be buying or selling bees on standard British National frames, unless advised otherwise. You must be a paid-up, registered member of Cheshire Beekeepers.
Contact Mike Vesty on 01270 876 811 or email email@example.com with the following information: -
Your name, `phone number (preferably landline), 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.
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