FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm always available to answer questions about our products.  Just e-mail me at jdmbees@gmail.com.  Below are some of the more common questions.

QUEENS

1.  What type of queen is best?  A misunderstanding of many beekeepers is the idea of true breeding lines.  Unless you specifically get an instrumentally inseminated breeder queen, you will not have a queen that produces a "purebred" hive.  This is because the queen will openly mate with 10-20 drones for which we have no control.  Therefore, for most of us hobbyists and sideliners, it is more important to get healthy queens than worry about whether they are Italians, Carniolans, etc.​

2.  What type of queens do you sell?  All my queens are from survivor stock.  My hives are requeened in the summer using queens derived from disease-free colonies that survived the previous winter and built up well in the spring.  The queens I sell are from disease free, surviving colonies that build up well in the spring.

3.  When are your queens available?  I will start grafting in mid to late April and continue through the beginning of July.  Queens are available 5-6 weeks after grafting.

4.  Can you accommodate large orders?  Most of my queens are used for my own bees.  Therefore, I don't keep a large number of queens "in stock".  However, if you need a large order, contact me and I can produce a custom batch for you.

5.  Do you sell queen cells?  Though not on the order form, I will sell queen cells.  Contact me for appropriate timing

6.  How long have the queens been laying before you sell them?  I let them lay for at least 3 weeks before selling them.  That allows me to insure they have a good laying pattern.

7. Do you select for hygienic behavior?  I do not and I have my reasons.  Hygienic behavior is a multi-genic trait and unless you can control the drones that mate with the queen, it is nearly impossible to keep it in your stock.  My queens are open mated.

NUCS

1.  What type of bees do you sell?  Overwintered nucs and summer nucs contain my queens  (see FAQ for queens) which are made from survivor stock.  Spring nucs are made from queens I purchase from commercial queen producers.  

2.  What's the difference between overwintered nucs and spring nucs?  Overwintered nucs are made up in mid to late summer and successfully survive the winter.  These hives, including the queens, constitute my overwintered nucs.  Springs nucs are splits that I make from my production hives as part of my swarm management.  Because of the timing, I must use purchased queens instead of my own.  

3.  What is the queen source of the spring nucs?  I use several sources for my queens that I use in my spring nucs.  I like to mix it up to maintain genetic diversity.  Typically, I use Daryl Rufer out of TX, Roberts bees our of GA, or Evergreen Apiaries out of LA.

4.  What do I get in my nuc?  A nuc consists of 5 frames.  There will be 3-4 frames of brood and 1-2 frames of food.  It will have a laying queen and all the bees associated with those frames to support the brood rearing necessary for colony expansion.

5.  Should I get a nuc or a package?  Typically, a nuc will take off faster than a package because there is already brood in the hive and it is a fully functional colony.  A package must start from scratch so it is a minimum of 3 weeks before any new bee emerge.  If you are starting with brand new equipment, the package bees will need to draw comb before the queen can even start laying.  Buy a nuc if you want a faster build-up or you are replacing a colony and want to get honey.  Buy a package if you have fully drawn comb or you are concerned with using someone else's drawn comb.

HONEY

1.  What type of honey is best?  The flavor of honey is determined by the floral source.  Honeys vary by sugar type, acidity, and micronutrients.  Asking which is better is like asking which cheese is best.  It depends on your personal tastes and what you might use it for.  In fact, I highly recommend that you find honey from various sources (like, orange blossom, avocado, eucalyptus, tupelo, and buckwheat honey) and have a honey tasting party.  Each is distinctly different and your guests won't agree on which is better.

2.  What types of honey do you sell?  In the spring, I get honey off the black locust trees (also called acacia honey) which is a very light and mild honey.  In the summer, I get wildflower honey which is a mixture of whatever nectar sources are in the area.  Typically, the major source is clover, but also contains blackberry and other flowers.  Occasionally, I get buckwheat honey which is a very strong tasting honey.

3.  Does your honey always taste the same?  NO!  The beauty of local honey is that it is unique to the area from which it was made.  The flavors will vary slightly from apiary to apiary and even more so from year to year.  My summer honey is typically a golden color derived mainly from clover with some locations being slightly darker than others.  In 2021, however, most of my honey was extremely dark (almost molasses dark), and many local beekeepers had the same experience.  If you are looking for a certain flavor, when you find what you really like, buy a lot.

4.  Is your honey raw?  Yes.  I extract my honey as simply as I can to keep it in its natural state.  I do not heat nor filter my honey during the extraction process.  I do pass it through a kitchen strainer to remove wax but the strainer is large enough for pollen to pass through.

5.  Is crystalized honey bad?  No.  Honey is basically a supersaturated sugar solution.  So, over time, the sugar will fall out of solution.  If this happens, gently heat the honey until it goes back into solution.  You don't want to heat it to more than 110 degrees otherwise you will lose some of the volatiles that make up the flavor.  

6.  What is creamed honey?  Creamed honey is crystalized honey, but done in such a way that the crystals are too small for your tongue to detect.  Therefore, it has a butter-like texture.  Though some people add flavorings to creamed honey (cinnamon), creamed honey is pure honey.