Where to get your new bee hive
This week we are going to talk about the ever exciting topic of where you should get your bees from. There are several places and each has it advantages and disadvantages. So let’s dive in and cover them all.
Ordering a package of Bees
You can order a package of bees very easily. There are many places that will sell them to you. I know that Brushy Mountain Bee Farms Brushy Mountain Bee Farm will sell them. Also, Gold star honey bees ships bees as well Gold Star Honey , or just google it. What you are getting when you order a package of bees is a queen and her nucleus of bees. This is called a “nuke.” It is a fully functioning hive however there is not going to be any comb, honey, or brood included. They will have to make all that when they arrive. And that is why packaged bees are only sold in the spring time. You will want to call the different bee companies and see when they sell their bees. The time is limited and many sell out fast. If you can pick up locally that is of course the best recourse, however, many times there are no bee companies near you and so you are forced to have them shipped by mail.
When to order bees
Order them only when you know for certain you will be home. Your local post office will be calling you to promptly come pick them up! And they can’t survive in the box for very long. You should take them home and right away install them. That involves taking the queen out first (she will be in a little cage) and then dumping the box of bees into your hive and then attach the queen to the inside. The bees will chew the candy out, releasing her. Replace the lid and you are done. The only other real disadvantage I want to mention is that because the bees come from a different environment it can be hard for them to adapt. I have heard of great losses from package bees moving to a new environment. However, with this method you do get to choose your “breed” of bee. So if you really liked the Italian bees or whatever this would be a way to get the bee you want. Otherwise you can requeen every year. But it can be difficult to find the queen. That is why many put a dot on her of paint.
Purchasing bees from a local beekeeper
This is my favorite method of buying bees. I love that the bees are locally adapted and I am helping out local businesses. There is no guarantee of type of bee (unless the beekeeper says so) but you are buying a well adapted “mutt” type of bee. But rest assured it won’t affect your honey production! In fact, it is likely the opposite. The local bees are more aggressive about getting honey that their european counterparts in my opinion.
I purchase my bees here in Phoenix from Abello Bees. I find that the bees he has sold me live the longest and do the best. He catches swarms of bees and then resells them to aspiring beekeepers.