Beekeeping 101: Step 3 - Buying Bees

How and where to buy bees

It is best to start your hive in the springtime.   This gives them a full summer to get established before their first winter.   Information on buying bees from Honey Top Bees

How many hives should I start with? We suggest 2 hives

If you are thinking about starting beekeeping, I highly recommend starting with two hives. It will make your learning process easier and it will give you a better chance of success.

There are several reasons why it is best to start with two beehives.

Here are some of the most important ones:

  • It allows you to compare and contrast the two hives. This can help you to learn more about beekeeping and to identify any potential problems early on. For example, if one hive is doing much better than the other, you can compare the two hives to see what factors might be contributing to the difference.
  • It gives you a backup hive in case one hive fails. Even if you do everything right, there is always a chance that a hive will fail. Having a second hive will give you a better chance of having honey at the end of the season.
  • It allows you to experiment with different management techniques. – If you have two hives, you can experiment with different techniques to see what works best for your bees. For example, you could try different feeding schedules or different mite control methods.

Should I buy a package of bees or a nuc?

We suggest a nuc.  They are usually a strong start and easier for the new keeper.   Here is why:

  • Nucs are already established colonies. This means that they have a queen bee that is already laying eggs, and they have a population of worker bees that are already foraging for food. This gives nucs a head start over package bees, which are just a bunch of individual bees that have been shipped to you in a box.
  • Nucs come with drawn out comb. This means that the bees have already started to build their honeycomb, which saves the bees the time and needed resources to do it themselves
  • Nucs are less likely to be rejected by the hive. This is because the bees in a nuc are already familiar with each other, and they are already used to living together. Package bees, on the other hand, are a bunch of strangers that have been thrown together, and they are more likely to fight and reject the queen.

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to buying a nuc of bees. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Nucs are more expensive than package bees. This is because they are more established and they come with drawn comb.
  • Nucs are not always available. This is because they are more popular than package bees, and they tend to sell out quickly.

Overall, the advantages of buying a nuc of bees outweigh the disadvantages.

See this article for the pros and cons of packages and nucs 

Where do I buy bees?

At Honey Top Bees we sell bees in the spring: 

In addition to buying from us, you can also buy bees from 

  1. Local Beekeepers: Check with local beekeepers or beekeeping associations in your area. They might sell honeybee colonies, package bees, or nucleus colonies (nucs) during the beekeeping season.   Information on buying bees from Honey Top Bees

  2. Beekeeping Supply Companies: Many companies specialize in selling beekeeping equipment and supplies, including live bees. These companies often offer package bees, nucs, or queen bees for sale.

  3. Online Beekeeping Suppliers: Numerous online retailers and websites offer honeybees for sale. Be sure to choose reputable suppliers with good reviews and a history of delivering healthy bees.

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