Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Purchasing Your Bees
Now that you have studied up on beekeeping by reading a bunch of books and articles and have your hive put together and painted you are ready for your bees!
Here's the most important thing about ordering your bees: Do it early!
The year before I actually got my bees I called to order them at the end of April and all the bees for that year were gone. They had sold out. I had to wait an entire YEAR to get started because I didn't know that the bees sell out early. I would advise ordering them in January. Just like ordering from garden catalogs they'll be shipped when the time is right for you to get them started.
I cannot stress strongly enough how much help a local beekeeping association is going to be when you are starting out in beekeeping. It is going to be especially helpful when it's time to get your bees. The beekeepers in your area know what strain of bees do well where you live. You can ask them where they order bees from (the closer the better) and you can make contact with beekeepers who have nucs for sale. A nuc is a small version of a hive with the queen and a small colony that has a head start.
What I did was ask around for the name of a reputable apiary and ordered from them. You can bet that the next year I did it in plenty of time to make sure they had some for me. The bees are shipped in a wooden frame with screen over it to hold your swarm. They come with a queen in her own cage with her attendants and a can of syrup for them to feel on in transport.
You will be getting the call from your local post office to come and pick up your bees as soon as they show up and realize what they have there. They are going to be quite anxious for you to come and pick up your package!
So let's review:
Do some research online or at your beekeepers' meeting to find out what local apiaries are reliable and reputable to purchase from or find other beekeepers to purchase nucs from.
Order in the winter for delivery in the spring.
Have your apiary set up so you'll be ready when your swarm arrives.
The next step will be putting your bees into the hive! We'll cover that next.