Where to source bees for sale
There are a variety of methods and places, although the best is probably to find a website or ad that advertises “bees for sale.”
The cheapest method, although not necessarily the best method, is to find a tree that houses a nest of bees. This could be on your own land, or the land of a neighbour. If the bees are not on your own property, be sure to ask permission before climbing the neighbour’s trees! Getting bees this way can be a risky business. You may get stung a lot and you may fall out of the tree, but you’ll have some bees. Then you will still need to buy some queens. If you decide on this method, be sure to do some reading and be prepared before poking around a bee’s nest.
Another method is simply to order package bees. You can either get them through the mail, which can be expensive, or you can find a bee supplier who will deliver the bees to your doorstep, or to a local garden store, in the spring, when the truck comes with all the bees. You can also find a local beekeeper who sells bees. If there’s a local beekeeping club or organization, they will certainly be able to tell you the names of the most reputable bee dealers in your area.
A typical package of bees, in the United States, often comes from the State of Georgia where the warm climate is great for honey bee production. The package will probably weigh about three pounds and hold about 10,000 bees. A queen bee will be included, in her own little cage, and she will have two or three worker bees to attend to her every need during shipment. A big can of sugar syrup will also be included so that the bees have something to eat on their journey to their new home. It will have numerous pin-sized holes from which bees can extract the syrup.
You will want to buy two established colonies. If you buy two colonies you can move frames and honey around if one colony should become weaker than the other and need a little boost. If you’re buying from a private beekeeper, check to see that the beekeeper has hive bodies that have a bottom board and some more shallow honey supers above the board. If the supers are arranged in a different pattern, question the beekeeper about it. Also, take a good look at the way the bees have been kept. If the colonies have been kept in hives made of rotten or unpainted wood, beware. And the bees in the colony should be calm and there should be enough bees to fill the spaces between the combs.
Before you jump on that “bees for sale” ad, make sure that you’ve got a hive set up for the bees when they arrive. Your new little friends are not going to be able to stay too long in a shipping box. Go to your local library and check out books on beekeeping and setting up a hive and also check online sources.
Also, be kind to your neighbours who do not keep bees. Remember to site your hives so that bees flight paths do not cross sidewalks, playgrounds, public areas or your neighbours living areas. It’s good to keep your neighbours happy when setting up beehives in your backyard.
My name is Nancy Ketner and I have been fascinated by Bees for as long as I can remember. Whether searching for “Bees for Sale” or learning about Bee Craft, my site Beekeeper Central as a free resource for others who wish to explore Beekeeping as a hobby or small business venture so people can get the most enjoyment they can from Honey Bees.