Contact Us

  • Old Sol Apiaries
  • 541-582-2337
  • P.O. Box 1760
    Rogue River, Oregon

About us


Old Sol Enterprises LLC is a family run business that endeavors to promote sustainability and the environment at large. In an effort to achieve these goals, Old Sol works to implement concepts including organic farming practices, permaculture, Integrated Pest Management, profitable habitat restoration, and other innovative farming practices.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Caucasian queen?

The Caucasian honey bee originates from the country of Georgia in the Caucasus mountain region. Caucasian honey bees are an Old World strain known for their gentleness and productivity.  Apis mellifera caucasica is endowed with the longest tongue (7.1 mm avg.) of all known honey bee varieties. This trait, coupled with a propensity to fly earlier, later, and in cooler conditions, results in a bee that is well known for exceptional honey production. Another interesting trait is a tendency to gather larger amounts of propolis than most bees.  Propolis is well known for its medicinal qualities and helps the bees defend their hive from invaders and drafts. Propolis is an essential component of honeybee survival and a valuable hive product. A well sealed sanitary hive and a very frugal winter cluster makes for a very hearty bee that can handle harsh winters and produce huge crops.

Our source for Caucasian genetics is Sue Cobey and Steve Shepperd at the WSU breeding program. This germplasm was imported to help boost diversity in US stocks of honeybees.  This is the reason, coupled with their numerous desirable traits, that we have incorporated these bees into our breeding program.  As with our Survivor Stock, we will be selecting for low mite counts, hygienic behavior, and overall productivity. The caucasians that we are offering this year will be open mated daughters from instrumentally inseminated breeders directly from Sue.  We will also be collaborating with Sue and sending her the drones from last years’ standout Caucasian daughters.

The Caucasian honeybee is a great way to increase diversity in your apiary and obtain very hearty genetics.


What is Survivor Stock?

Old Sol’s Survivor Stock is a project that we have been working on for 22 years. This stock has a very diverse background, including: Russians, Caucasians, VSH breeders, Minnesota Hygienics, and of course, a pinch of Carniolan, Italian, and feral genetics. After years of heavy performance-based selection we have passed the “mutt” stage and have a reliable hearty bee. These bees are suitable for both honey production and commercial pollination. Our best breeders tend to be heavy pollen hoarders and build up very rapidly when stimulated.  Aside from selecting for high productivity, we also spend a lot of time counting mites. We are getting a lot of data between what the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) provides for us and what we gather on our own.  Our best breeders come from top performing hives that consistently maintain low mite loads and that wintered well with a rapid buildup for pollination season.  We also select for hygienic behavior and our best breeder queens will pass the test with a 100% score. With proper management these queens easily produce large hives for almond pollination and can often produce a split and a large honey crop in one season.

In order to develop our Survivor Stock we have had to allow strong selection pressure in our test groups. This has meant withholding acaricide and assessing how well each breeder candidate copes with Varroa.  Sometimes this is not pretty and a queen we had high hopes for will fall apart, but there are always some that rise to the occasion and that have the other requisite desirable traits (temperament, yield, buildup, & wintering).  The queens that excel at the “sink or swim” test are the queens destined to become our next generation of breeders. We are constantly working towards a productive, mite tolerant honey bee and strive for quality over quantity. If you are looking for proven queens that will work hard in your apiaries, then our Survivor Stock is definitely the bee for you.



What does Premium Select mean?

Premium select queens are the top 1-3% of our stock; they are hand-picked by the beekeeper for their exceptional brood pattern, hygienic behavior and size.


Do you sell packaged bees?

No, we prefer nucleus colonies as they are already established on the comb/frames making them ready to multiply and produce.

Do you sell nucs (nucleus colonies)?

Yes. Our nucs are for local pick-up only (in the Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon) and are typically available sometime during the month of May.

Do you ship nucs (nucleus colonies)?

No, we are unable to ship nucs. Bees on comb are restricted from being shipped in the USA. We do have distributors available in parts of the Pacific Northwest; for details, click here. Old Sol will set up delivery on orders of 100 or more, billed at $4 per mile.; call us to inquire about this opportunity.

Will Old Sol nucs fit in my equipment?

Our nucs hold five frames that are standard Langstroth size. The diagram below represents box depth, frame length, frame depth and frame width respectively.


Deep body

9 916 inches (243 mm)

19 inches (480 mm)

9 18 inches (230 mm)

1 38 inches (35 mm)

Medium (Illinois) super

6 58 inches (170 mm)

19 inches (480 mm)

6 14 inches (160 mm)

1 38 inches (35 mm)

No top bars; our nucs will not fit into a Warre hive or a top bar hive.  If you have this type of equipment, it’s best to find a swarm or a package of bees.

How do I install my new nuc(s)?

See our printed instructions and tips for nuc installation here.

Do you ship queens?

Yes. We ship queens throughout the spring and summer months (typically into late September / early October) all throughout the USA. Shipping is available via either UPS or the US Postal Service; contact us for specific and/or a shipping quote.

Do you mark your queens?

Yes, all queens are marked with Uni Posca paint pens.

Are your mating yards isolated?

About half our yards are isolated for controlled breeding; and half are “open mated” to maintain diversity. 



Do you treat for mites?

Yes.  We strive to manage less than 3% on our production colonies.

How do I help my bees survive the winter?

We recommend feeding protein supplements in August on in to early fall. It is extremely important to maintain low mite counts (below 3%). You want your hives to be as ‘brick heavy’ as possible by the end of August; there should be only bees and honey, no empty space. Above all else, sample for mites early and often. Do not wait until the end of the season to correct a problem that began in the spring.

Do you offer mentorship or beekeeping classes etc?

We highly recommend that you join your local bee club for support and mentorship. If you are local, we encourage you to complete the Master Beekeeper Program that is offered through OSU Extension Center. 
We will occasionally host educational events; please check our blog for details. 
Here are a couple of local resources: