Promoting Sustainable Beekeeping Practices through local production of nucs (nucleus colonies) and local queen honeybees

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $14,736.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
Karla Eisen
Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association


  • Animals: bees


  • Animal Production: parasite control, herbal medicines
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, study circle, workshop
  • Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management, prevention
  • Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures


    The Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association (PWRBA) producer SARE project compared hives started from packaged bees to hives started from nucleus colonies (nucs) positively demonstrating higher survival for nuc started hives than package started hives, with survival differences more pronounced in the second year. Education and training resulted in adopting more sustainable beekeeping practices. These centered on utilizing existing colonies to produce sufficient nucs to (1) replace dead hives, (2) increase apiaries, and (3) provide starter hives for new beekeepers and association members instead of relying on commercially produced packaged bees from outside the region. The number of nucs made available to association members in lieu of packaged bees increased dramatically over the course of the project. Queen rearing was successfully initiated.

    The Final Report, Appendix A and Appendix B are provided as pdf files in the following links.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.