For the first time in Old Blue history, we will be selling honeybee colonies to the wider public this spring. If you've been considering getting one or more hives, now is the time to preorder your bees.
Here's our schedule and offerings (click the link for pricing and details):
(April 1) 5-Frame Nuc with Anarchy Apiaries Queen or Overwintered Old Blue Queen
(April 15) 3-Pound Package with California-Mated Old Blue Queen
(April 29) 5-Frame Nuc with California-Mated Old Blue Queen
(May 13) 5-Frame Nuc with Oregon-Mated Old Blue Queen
(May 13 or May 27) 3-Pound Package with Oregon-Mated Old Blue Queen
Honeybees will only be available for pick up 8 am to 11 am on the assigned date at Old Blue Raw Honey headquarters at 23990 Gellatly Way just west of Philomath, OR. Colonies must be preordered online and paid for in full before the pick up date. If you order one of these nucs or packages, you are committing to picking it up on that day with no exceptions. Bees unclaimed after 11 am may be sold to customers on our waiting list. Customers who don't pick up their bees will not receive any refunds.
We will also be doing honey tasting in our tasting room during bee pick up hours.
Nucleus hives are composed of a frame of honey, a frame of pollen, three frames of brood, five frames of bees, and a mated queen in a deep nuc box. Packages are three pounds of honeybees and a mated Old Blue queen.
The selection process for Old Blue queens is complicated and subjective, but a few traits we specifically look for are varroa-sensitive hygienic behavior (for surviving unavoidable varroa mite parasitism), ability to fly in cool temperatures and adverse weather conditions (for bringing in nectar and pollen resources as a food source for the colony as well as surplus for human harvest), strong spring buildup of population, wing power (for foraging longer distances), and a resistance to brood diseases. You can learn more about how we raise our own queens here.
Although it is possible to maintain treatment-free bee colonies, and these honeybees have been bred for mite and disease resistance, hives will be more likely to survive with regular management and recommended mite treatments. Beekeeping is more complicated and more challenging every year, and even if you do your best with current information and recommendations, hives may still fail at fairly high rates.
We will do our best to provide customers with healthy, thriving bee colonies, but after they leave the premises of Old Blue, they are 100% your responsibility, and we assume no liability for any possible problems or failures. It is important to transport bees in a timely manner with plenty of airflow to their final location (preferably within an hour).
If you are seriously allergic to bee stings, you probably should not come to these events. You are unlikely to get stung while here, but for obvious reasons, there are more bees than average around the premises.
Old Blue is selling hives this year, but we are not offering any beekeeping classes or beekeeping consultation services at this time. Our supply is limited, so we recommend ordering early. If our website shows we are sold out of the type of nuc or package that you are interested in, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on our waitlist.
For recommended reading and resources, see our Old Blue FAQ page (scroll down toward the bottom).