How to Pick a Reputable Bee Supplier ?
By checking advertisements in bee journals and surfing the Internet you’ll come up with a long list of bee suppliers. But all vendors are not created equal. Here are some rules of thumb for picking a good vendor:
Be sure to pick a well-established vendor who has been breeding and selling bees for many years. The beekeeping business is full of wellmeaning amateurs who get in and out of breeding bees. They lack the experience that results in a responsible breeding program, which can result in problematic stocks of bees and lackluster customer service.
Look for a supplier with a reputation for consistently producing healthy bees and providing dependable shipping and good customer service.
Ask if the establishment is inspected each year by the state’s apiary inspector. Request a copy of its health certificate. If owners refuse to comply, look elsewhere.
A reputable supplier replaces a package of bees that dies during shipment. Ask potential suppliers about their replacement guarantee.
Be suspicious of suppliers who make extravagant claims. Some walk a fine ethical line when they advertise that their bees are “mite or disease resistant.” No such breed of bee exists. New beekeepers are easy prey for these charlatans. If the claims sound too good to be true, they probably are. Look elsewhere.
Consult with representatives of regional bee associations. Contact your state’s apiary inspector or other bee association representatives. Find out whom they recommend as suppliers. Get them to share their experiences with you — good and bad.
Join a local bee club to get vendor recommendations from other members. This also is a great way to find out more about beekeeping and latch onto a mentor. Many clubs have “new beekeeper” programs and workshops.
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