Tips on How to Obtain Bees
Beekeeping has become VERY popular across the country. Therefore, the competition has become increasingly tough, to obtain Bee starts. So we want you to create a "strategy" in order to obtain more bees, or new bee starts.
Warning! If you approach this, like buying a Goldfish at Wal-Mart...this DOES NOT work well. Here are a few ideas, to make this part of Beekeeping, more enjoyable and much more exciting.
1) Tip #1 - When ordering bees from a "bee provider", start early (Dec - Jan), be prepared to wait, and place multiple orders. It's not uncommon to place 3 or 4 orders with various bee providers. No bee provider is "guaranteed" to have bees next year. Sickness, death, winter losses, all add up, for all beekeepers. Therefore, load the wagon when ordering. See what orders come in.
2) Tip #2 - Get orders in first, and bees on the ground and housed BEFORE you go and cancel any bee orders. You might think about going ahead and receiving all your oders, if they all come in, AND THEN, what you don't want, sell off to another beekeeper.
3) Tip #3 - In early Spring, bee swarms are on the move. Learn how to set out some Swarm Catch Boxes. (See video below!) Here's a video on how we do this. Much like Catfishing with a Trot-line. If you have only 1 hook on your trot-line, it's unlikely you'll catch anything by the next morning. But, if you had 100 hooks, you'll likely be pulling of some nice Catfish the next morning. The more Catch boxes you set out the better your odds of ATTRACTING a Swarm of Honey Bees that's on the move, looking for a new home. Also, Swarms make BIG HONEY! There's a "double benefit" in doing this. New packages or Nucs, aren't known for BIG HONEY for the year. They grow nice and slow and steady usually. But a Swarm! A nice Spring time Swarm has a much different "work ethic". Never, ever, never sell off a Swarm!! They are your BIG HONEY MAKERS for the year.
Little Creek Bee Ranch Swarm Catch Box
This is how we like to set up our Swarm Catch Boxes, right in the Apiaries. Rather simple and very effecient. Let the Bees hive themselves!
4) Tip #4 - Once you're on a Bee providers "bee list" (depending upon how they manage this list), no matter how long it takes to get bees from them, NEVER EVER come off their Bee List. You do not know how your current bees will do over winter, etc. Think LONG TERM. A position on a Bee List is a very coveted spot. If you leave a list, the person behind you simply moves up into your spot and will eventually gain your bees.
We hope these simple tips will help you in your search to obtain Honey Bees. If you aren't sure, then ask. There's never a stupid question.