5 Tips For Finding A Honeybee Breeder
One of the most important questions when you decide to start keeping honeybees is just what to look for when buying the first bees. If you will follow these five tips you will have no problems getting good quality bees for your first hive.
1. Stick with seasoned breeders – since this is your first time buying a colony or package of bees, you really are better off dealing with a breeder who has been breeding bees for many years, as opposed to purchasing your colony from a new breeder.
2. The health of the bees matter - in the game of beekeeping, the health of the bees means everything. If you get bees with diseases and parasites, don’t expect a trouble-free year.
This is the reason why there are apiary inspectors in every state – and you mustinsist in seeing the latest proof of apiary inspection of the bees before buying a colony. You will want to pay the breeder a visit if they don’t live very far away. If not, a strong reference from a local seasoned beekeeper will suffice.
3. Is the apiary inspected regularly? - apiaries that are well maintained have nothing to hide from its customers. There is no reason why an apiary owner would refuse a regular inspection from the state’s apiary board.
Ask the breeder if inspection is done in the apiary at least once a year. If the breeder is unable to answer or answers in the negative, don’t buy bees from him, even if they offer you a discount.
4. Replacement policy – every reputable bee breeder knows that there is a mortality rate whenever bees are shipped via the US Postal Service. If a few of your bees die during shipping don’t assume the breeder isn’t a good one. Because this is common, a good breeder would be more than willing to replace bees that have died during shipping. Ask the breeder about his replacement policy before placing an order.
5. Watch out for fancy claims – it’s normal for breeders to add hype to their sales pitch when talking to customers. But there is a fine line between emphasizing the good points about honeybees and giving them completely false information.
If you hear a breeder bragging that his honeybees are sterling hybrids that can resist varroa mites and just about any other disease known to bees, simply walk away. Some bees will be hardier than others but, there is no such thing as “super” bees. That breeder is using fallacious information to get sales.
If you follow these simple tips, you won’t get stung when purchasing your first bees.
James Collins is the creator of the “Beekeepings Tips For Beginners Mini Course” – great reading for anyone interested in keeping honeybees. His website has valuable information on how to easily start your new hobby as a beginning beekeeper… Even if you have never seen a beehive before!