Are you planning to buy bees for honey and you wondering where to get them? Well, to get started in beekeeping, the first step is to acquire some honey bees. Buying honey bees can be quite a challenges for a new beekeeper than an experienced person.
You can either chose to source for your bees locally or internationally depending on the type of bees you want to keep and what benefit you want to get from them. The rewards of beekeeping extend far beyond just honey since they provide excellent health supplements.
There are three various types of bees in every colony; the queen, workers, and drones.
Let me take you through some step by step method on how to buy honey bees.
1. Decide on what type of honey bees you want to purchase
Before buying your bees, you need to research on the bee breeds and their desirable characteristics, such as honey production, gentleness, swarm and their resistance to climate changes. For example:
Italian bees originally from Italy produce a good amount of honey, aren’t prone to swarming, are less gentle, and hardy. However, they don’t respond to external conditions as another colony of bees.
Carniolan bees originally from Australia are prone to swarming, don’t produce as much honey, and respond quickly to changes in nectar and pollen.
However, the Buckfast Honey Bees and Russian honey bees are hybrid bees known to be more aggressive than Carniolan and Italian bees, expensive to purchase and are very prone to swarming.
2. Identify areas where to get honey bees
Honey bees species are found worldwide and can be seen in many different locations, including Europe, China, India, the United States and Africa.
But due to this, their nature and behavior vary; for instance, European honey bees store larger amounts of honey than the other species as they need to maintain a certain temperature for them to survive especially during the winter season and are more docile compared to the African honey bees which are more defensive.
African honey bee is a native bee from central and southern Africa known to be more dangerous when they sting as compared to their counterparts. They are more aggressive and less desirable as a commercial honeybee known to be producing less honey.
Honey bees have been domesticated to produce honey for human consumption and various medical products. They live in colonies (groups) called hives, containing one queen bee, thousands of female worker bees, and hundreds of male drone bees. They are now found all over the world in different habitats.
Honeybees are social insects that live in colonies. Honeybees live in colonies (groups) called hives, containing one queen bee, thousands of female worker bees, and hundreds of male drone bees.
3. Differentiate between a nucleus and a package hive.
While ordering for your honey bees, you need to differentiate the kind of beehive to choose from. ‘Nucs’ are beginning hives that have already accepted the queen bee, workers, drones and young bees and already have begun producing honey.
On the other hand, a package is essentially a collection of bees put together from differently established hives. Package bees are easy to order and readily available unlike nucleus beehive since they offer small investment.
Purchasing either the nucleus or package bees hives is not without disadvantages. Nucs are more expensive than package bees and often not readily available. They are prone to pests and diseases since their honeycomb may contain a multitude of bacteria and diseases. On the other hand, package bees are not equal in quality and they are dangerous to transport.
When planning to buy honey bees, either locally or internationally, you have to put into consideration some factors like what type of honey bees you want to buy, where to get them among other things.
Bees are livestock and managing them has disadvantages since no one can look at a family of bees and tell if it is a good one or will continue to be good in the future. Sometimes, queens are not accepted by the new package or are released too soon by the beekeeper. Without bees, pollination would be difficult and time-consuming thus, it is estimated that one-third of the human food supply depends on bee pollination. Therefore,