Ontario Finger Lakes Beekeepers Association

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TOPIC: Tips for Buying Bees

Tips for Buying Bees 4 years 9 months ago #971

  • Beefrndly
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Buying Bees

Things you may wish to consider when comparing bee suppliers...
- how many frames of brood in the nuc (or how many pounds of bees in the package)?

- are you buying from a RE-SELLER or the BREEDER? If a reseller, who produced the bees?

- Does the breeder have references (or are there local beekeepers who have experience with the breeder and can comment on their experience)?

- where are the bees from? (hearty northern stock or taken south for winter?)

- where is the QUEEN from? Her genes will be producing all the future bees! (some people split their local hives, but put commercially bred queens into the splits)

- have the bees come from stock that is treated? e.g. medicated with antibiotics and/or some form of pesticide (hard or soft chemical mite control)?

- If using local queens, is the seller using swarm cells to produce them? (If using swarm cells, the bees may have a tendency to swarm.)

Note: "less expensive" bees which must be replaced in the spring (because they do not overwinter well), or bees which must be treated each year with antibiotics &/or mite controls, often prove to be "more expensive" in the long run.

If you buy package bees or a nuc produced in the south, you can transition your hive to winter hardy, non-medicated, northern bees by re-queening with a queen from a local breeder. Ask other bee club or forum members who they recommend for sourcing high quality, non-medicated queens in your area.
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