You have your hives, you have your beekeeping suite, and now all you need is a buzzing colony of honey bees. Moving bees into your apiary is an exciting process, but you should know a few things to make the transition a success for yourself and your colony. Learn about the types of bee packages available, where you can purchase bees, and more with this guide on the different ways to get bees for your apiary.
Buy Bees Locally
Local suppliers are an incredible resource for all things beekeeping. Like many other hobbies and passions, the world of beekeeping comes with a helpful and passionate community of fellow beekeepers. Local apiaries and beekeeping organizations can connect you to a reliable supplier or sell you bees and other supplies themselves. When you buy bees, you can purchase either a bee package or a nucleus hive. Package bees come with a queen, worker bees, and a temporary feeder. A nucleus hive, on the other hand, has everything you need to jumpstart a new colony: a queen, workers, brood, and a little bit of comb and honey. When you purchase locally, you get to meet your supplier in person, ask them questions, and bring your bees home without having to rely on a third-party carrier service.
Online shopping has grown in popularity across virtually every industry imaginable—including beekeeping. Many larger beekeeping suppliers will ship package bees or nucleus hives to you. This is a simple and easy way to fill your apiary. Simply find a supplier you can trust, choose the types of bees you want, and checkout online. However, there are a few things to consider when buying bees online. Look into the shipping and handling details. Ask your carrier service about their policy for shipping live bees so that both you and your local postal worker know what to expect.
Catch Your Own Swarm
Experienced beekeepers can also fill their hives by catching local swarms. Of all the different ways to get bees for your apiary, this is the most complicated. However, it’s also the most rewarding. Bee swarms occur when a growing colony separates and sets off in search of a bigger home. If the swarm rests or sets up permanently in a place where they’re not wanted, someone might call their local beekeeper to get rid of them. Not only do these beekeepers get a free bee colony, but they also protect the bees from exterminators.