Have you ever wondered how beekeepers get their honey bees? There are several ways to fill your apiary, but many beekeepers choose to buy their honey bees online. Like the rest of the world of online shopping, this method of acquiring new honey bee colonies has grown in popularity over the years. That said, there are a few things you need to consider before you add a buzzing box of bees to your digital cart. Is your apiary ready for the new arrivals? How can you ensure you make the best purchase for your hives? Learn how to answer these questions and more with this overview of what you should know about buying honey bees online.
Reasons To Buy Honey Bees
Some people might obtain a honey bee colony from a fellow beekeeper or by catching a local swarm. However, purchasing honey bees online is quickly becoming one of the most common ways to start a hive. The simplicity and efficiency of this method make it easy for beekeepers to get new honey bees to their apiary. This can be a lifesaver for beginner and experienced beekeepers alike. If you’re starting your first ever beehive, purchasing online makes it easy to research and find the right honey bees. Meanwhile, online bee orders are a great way for experienced beekeepers to replace colonies that didn’t last the winter. The availability of online honey bee sellers also makes it easy to add to your budding apiary as you grow in your beekeeping career.
Buying a Queen
While many beekeepers use online sellers to purchase entire colonies, there’s no understating the importance of buying just a queen bee. The queen is the most important member of a honey bee colony. Without her, your hive can’t raise new honey bees or continue to function successfully. If you lose a honey bee queen in your hive, you must act quickly to replace her and keep the colony on track. Online ordering makes buying a replacement queen fast and easy. Beekeeping becomes a little less stressful when you know you can rely on providers like Mann Lake to send you queen bees and other honey bee options whenever you need them.
Before You Buy
While purchasing honey bees online is an efficient way to fill your apiary, you must take a few steps before you create your order. Whenever you purchase them, your mail carrier must transport and deliver them. Always be respectful and courteous to your carrier service by clarifying the rules with them ahead of time. Keep in mind that not every carrier service is willing to transport live bees. Those that do will still appreciate a heads up. This is also a great time to ask questions so that you know exactly what to expect when your honey bees arrive. How are the honey bees packaged and shipped? Can you get insurance for your bee packages? Talk to both the supplier and your carrier service to answer these and other questions. Additionally, take the time to read the terms of service carefully so you know exactly what to expect for your order.
When Is Bee Buying Season?
It’s a good idea to order your honey bees as early as possible. Many suppliers start taking orders for the spring as early as late fall and early winter. Orders often start booming after the holiday season as beekeepers prepare for the spring. The earlier you order, the better chance you have of finding the option you’re looking for. Early orders also make it easier to get your honey bees in time for those first warm days of spring, which means you and your new hives can make the most of prime beekeeping season. Of course, it isn’t always possible to know what kinds of orders you’ll need to make for the spring. That’s why many beekeepers simply assume they’re going to lose a couple of hives over the course of the winter and buy their replacement hives early.
Buying Package Bees
One of the most important things you should know about buying honey bees online is that you’ll have many different options on a supplier’s website. There are distinct ways to purchase honey bees. The most popular choice is to purchase package bees. When you buy a package of bees, you receive a full colony of honey bees to start your beehive. This means the package comes with a queen bee, workers, and drones. The new colony will be ready to thrive as soon as you install it in your hive.
Buying a Bee Nuc
Some beekeepers choose to buy a bee nuc rather than a bee package. A nuc, or nucleus, is a miniature colony that has everything it needs to start growing once you install it in a hive. When you buy a bee nuc, you receive a few frames of honeycomb containing food, honey bees, and the queen and her brood. When you receive a bee nuc, the mini colony is already on its way to growing into a full and thriving colony. This means that your bee nuc will start expanding faster than many bee packages will. However, bee nucs are often more expensive than packages. You might also have to wait until later in the season to purchase a nuc, as the bees within need more time to establish themselves before they become available.
Extra Tips for “New-Bees”
If you’re new to the world of beekeeping, there are a few things you can do before and after you purchase your honey bees. If you order in advance and have a few months before your honey bees arrive, that waiting period is the perfect time to prepare for your new beekeeping career. You can take classes or read beekeeping books to learn more about the world of honey bees. This is also a good time to set up your apiary. You should put your beehives up in advance so that you can quickly and easily install your honey bees when they arrive. And make sure you have all the equipment you need, like your protective gear, smoker, and bee feeders before you receive your honey bees. This will help make the transition as easy and stress-free as possible for both you and your new buzzing residents.
Do you have any tips for buying honey bees online for the first time? Share your knowledge and experience with us in the comments below!