Guidelines for Buying Packaged Bees
Article by Rudolf Stinger
Anyone who’s new to beekeeping needs proper tools, equipment and most certainly the “stars of the show” which are the bees that will produce honey for you. There are various ways of acquiring bees but for first time beekeepers it’s always advisable that they get packaged bees.
The main reason I prefer packaged bees for starting out is that they’ll allow you start small and give your hives a chance to grow steadily. A package of bees usually consists of between three to five pounds of bees and there can be approximately ten to thirty thousand individual bees in a package. A new hive normally requires a three pound package of bees that includes a queen to get going, but a five pound package will offer more flexibility because from a single package you can set two hives if you divide it. However the second hive will need a queen of its own.
The other reason is the advantages offered by packaged bees; they’re always certified healthy before they are sold which means you’ll be buying bees that have a good bill of health. Their history is also clearly documented and any diseases that may arise in the future can be easily treated, mites are also treatable with sugar roll.
There’s one disclaimer about packaged bees though, it is that they are only available seasonally and some may argue that they don’t have eggs or brood in the hive. But remember that your hive will be new, those will not be in place until the queen has laid some, and with a bit of heavy feeding new combs will be built by the worker bees.
Once you’ve decided to go the route of packaged bees you need to place your order for the bees. Should you order a three pound package of bees for example, you’ll receive a cluster of about ten thousand bees with one queen shipped to you in a shoe size box. This box will have a screen around that prevents the bees from escaping and a can of sugar water right inside so they bees can feed during the trip. Packaged bees will cost you anything between & including shipping.
However should your supplier be nearer, say he’s within a driving distance from you then it’s advisable that you collect the bees yourself. By doing this you will minimize the number of bees that may die, than if you receive your package through the postal service. In the case where you have to wait for the order to come through via post, then it’s imperative that the post office notify you of the arrival of the package as soon as it comes through to them.
If ever this kind of method seems a bit slow and lengthy for your liking then you can buy an established colony, but make sure that you get your colony from a reputable and trustworthy supplier or beekeeper. It’s my view that when taking this route start with two colonies in case should one colony become weaker then you can reinforce the other by just exchanging the frames of brood and honey.
It’s strongly advised that whenever you decide on established colonies, you buy them from someone who’s already doing business in your area so that your bees will better adapt to the weather conditions of your state.
About the Author
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