Hi. Our bees died this winter, but we want to get new ones. We live near Portland Oregon. Any suggestions on when we should try with a new nuc or package? I've read all the posts about nucs vs pckgs, but any opinions on whether it makes a difference if we have a lot of frames of capped honey ready to give to whichever we get to start them off? Also, if we freeze the frames, will that kill any mites that might be on them?
Nucs and packages are generally sold in April or so, a local bee club or beekeeping dealer would know more for your area. Any mites died with the bees, the only thing you would need to rule out is foulbrood.
It would still be a good idea to freeze the combs for a few hours to kill any wax moth or small-hive-beetle lavae. Store the frames in a mothproof container until you need them. Since you have drawn comb, I believe a 3 lb package would be cheaper and establish just about as fast as a NUC.
Thanks for the input. The hives both smelled incredibly tasty when I opened them up to make sure they were dead and the few larvae I looked at were totally normal, so I am pretty sure it wasn't foulbrood.
Nice to have another Portland Beekeeper! I'm only in my first year, so I can't offer much advice, except to say that the nuc will be about 3 weeks ahead of the package since you'll get 4 frames of brood with the nuc. When I started last year I did a package and a nuc and as a beginner, the nuc experience was much nicer (no shaking bees or fussing with getting the queen out of her box, etc). Now that I'm more used to working with them I can't say which I'd choose.
Good-luck. Please e-mail me direct if you want to talk specifics about Portland.
becky, I am also in portland. You should put your e-mail address in your profile so people can get a hold of you. I would definately go with the nuc, they are off and running in no time. There is no lag time between laying and hatching of the bees like there is with a package.
Definately look for foulbrood though!!!