The Tillamook Beekeepers Association has ordered nearly two million bees and recently distributed them to 70 of their beekeepers.
The bees were purchased from Joe Hansen of Colton OR’s Foothills Honey Company, a second generation business started by Hanson’s mother and father.
According to Brad York, president of the Tillamook Beekeepers Association, the bees cost the association $20,000; they received 154 cores or nucs as they are called with 10,000 to 12,000 bees, enough for a hive or colony.
Once the bees are placed in the individual hives, the queen will produce 1,500 eggs per day and the colony will grow to 50,000 to 80,000 bees in the fall, when beekeepers can begin collecting honey.
“We do it every year,” York said. “Last year we bought 85 nucs, this year we bought 150 nucs.”
According to York, the association had added 44 beekeepers to its membership since Jan. 1, bringing the total membership count to 157 beekeepers countywide.
Bob Allen, a beekeeper from Garibaldi, was also there to receive nucs, Bob started the beekeepers association. in the 1970s.
What is a nuclear colony?
Adding nucs is a great way to start a new hive.
A core colony, more commonly known as a “nuc” or “split”, is one of the easiest ways for beekeepers to start a colony in a new hive. Nucs are nothing more than frames of combs that are removed from an established hive. Because they come from a thriving colony, the nucs contain combs with developing brood in multiple stages of development. In most cases they also contain cells containing honey and pollen stored by the original colony.
What are the benefits of using Nucs?
Using nucs to start a new colony has several advantages. To get started, adding nucs to a hive is easy. Typically, a beekeeper will announce the sale of nucs when their established hives grow to the point where they are likely to swarm. The buyer brings his new hive to the seller and four or five comb frames are transferred to the new hive.
This method has the distinct advantage of starting a hive with a good base population of adult workers and brood at various stages of development. Unlike buying boxed bees where there is a 21 day wait for newly laid eggs to develop, workers immediately start emerging from the cells. These bees quickly get to work foraging for food and laying foundations in the new hive.