Buying Bees

Sources:

  • Supply Houses
  • Local beekeepers
  • local suppliers (Contact FCBA for a list)

Most Common Options :

Packages

A box with 3 pounds of bees, a mated queen in a cage, can of sugar water.
Estimated Cost: $90/$120 in 2016

Advantages

  • Usually readily available
  • Less money
  • Available earlier 

Disadvantages

  • Bees not related to the queen
  • Unproven Queen
  • Take time to develop
  • Need to feed

Nuc (Nuke – Nucleus hive)

5 built out frames with three containing different stages of brood, a laying queen and two frames with honey & pollen. A working mini-hive.
Estimated Cost: $150/$175 in 2017.

Advantages 

  • Get a working colony 
  • Proven producing queen
  • Easier transfer to your box.
  • Faster growth / better success rate

Disadvantages

  • Sometimes not available until May or June
  • Using foreign comb
  • More Expensive

If you are certain about beekeeping - try to order Nucs early. This way you will be more likely to get your bees by April 1st. If not, you can order the first week of the course. Some sources may be sold out.