Obtaining Honey Bees

Make sure that you find a reputable supplier of bees and queens. We offer the ability to purchase and pick up Packages or NUCs at any of our three locations. Your local bee associations may have further resources on who sells bees in your area.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have difficulties sourcing your bees.

You can also contact your local or regional Club/Association to learn about how beekeepers in your area get their bees.

Packaged Bees can be sent through the Post Office, but this is not the best way to get them, but if you are in an area too far from a breeder this may be an option. The better choice would be to buy a NUC locally. You may also join a Swarm Watch in order to receive calls about spotted swarms in the area. Swarms will be found on any number of objects and if captured, they can be placed into a hive, establishing a free colony.

Package of Bees

A Package is a shoe box sized container that is screened to provide ventilation for the bees, includes a can of sugar syrup as a food supply during transportation, and has a mated queen inside a queen cage. Queen cage is attached to the inside of the package so the bees may care for and become acclimated with her.

Bees from multiple sources are dumped into the package and a queen is supplied within a queen cage. The bees must become acquainted with the queen before she is released(bees will eat through the candy in order to release her once she is accepted). Once the queen is released, she will begin laying and the colony will grow in population. The current population may decrease before it increases as the supplied bees die off before the new bees are born.

Nucleus Hives

A Nucleus Hive(NUC) is a small established colony of bees. It differs from a package by including drawn out frames and a laying queen. At the start, they may have less bees than a 3 pound package; however, because the queen is already laying, there is brood in all stages (eggs, larvae and capped), and most of the frames are drawn out comb,a NUC will grow faster than a package. In addition, having an established queen means there are less queen complications, such as: queen acceptance, absconding, or supercedure with a NUC.

Once you have transfered the frames over into your 8 Frame or 10 Frame hive, the NUC will continue to grow in population. Provide the feed they may need and let them grow. No need to go back in to ensure the queen was released or to remove a queen cage. The next step will be to add on the next story to your hive.

Tips on How to Prepare for your New Bees
  • Pick up your bees in an appropriate vehicle. Honey bees in transit are not the happiest. The longer they are confined, whether it be a package or a NUC, the more stressed they become. Would you not be as well? The stress of transporting a colony can cause them to overheat and cook themselves. This is one of the reasons why we recommend you pick up your package of bees rather than having them shipped. They will need constant airflow to keep them from overheating. An open bed vehicle like a truck is a great vehicle to transport bees. If you have to load the bees into a car to travel, make sure you have the windows open and air conditioning on the entire trip. You may get a little chilly but that may be better than cooking your new investment.

  • DO NOT pick up your hive supplies the same day you get your bees. Every hive component (hive tops, boxes, and bottom boards) needs either a coat of laytex paint or a sealant to help protect and preserve the wood. The paint or sealant must be dry and the odor dispelled before you install your bees. Picking up your supplies the same day as bees will require an additional 3-5 days before your hive will be ready for the bees. Order your supplies now and get them ready.

  • Make sure you provide plenty of feed for your new colony. Imagine that you have just moved to a new city. Are you going to know where the closest grocery store is located? How long will it take you to build that bookshelf in order to organize your house? While your new colony is learning the environment around them, you will want to provide plenty of sugar syrup for them to feed on. Sugar Syrup is easy to mix and can be fed to the bees in many different devices. Adding feed supplements will provide the additional nutrition to the sugar syrup the bees need. A good rule of thumb is keep feeding your hive sugar syrup until they stop taking it or until the first honey super is added.

  • It's Never too early to start fighting Varroa Mites. They are considered one of the key factors in honey bee decline. A small, bloodsucking tick opens wounds on the bees making them more susceptible to infections and diseases that can last multiple generations. Varroa’s reproductive cycle is based upon that of the bees and the female mites will produce young within capped brood cell. One of the best times to treat for Varroa is before the bees are able to cap their brood. Packaged bees will not have capped brood and can be easily treated with a mixture of sugar syrup and oxalic acid, a natural varroa treatment. In a package 100% of varroa mites are exposed so there is nowhere for them to hide.