Where to Buy Bees
This is a great year to get bees! With all the craziness that is happening in the world right now, a lot of people are deciding to take control of some of their own food supply and bees are a great addition.
Why raise bees?
1.Bees provide a good source of natural, healthy sweetener.
2.They are wonderful pollinators, especially if you're thinking of adding some fruit trees to your homestead as well.
3. They are easy to take care of
4. They can be managed on even a small piece of property. (even city roof tops)
Where do I buy bees for my homestead?
One of the most common questions I receive about beekeeping is "where do we buy the actual bees?" Often, it is easier to find bee keeping supplies than it is to find the bees themselves. Below are 6 ways you can find bees for your homestead.
1. Catching a Swarm
While it is possible to catch a swarm and start a hive that way, often times, this process is a little intimidating to a beginner, and you may not be successful the first year.
We've always purchased our packaged bees from Dadant. It's a good-size distributor of bee keeping supplies. Each spring they offer packaged bees for pick up. I usually have to call around mid February to place my order...they sell out quickly.
Luckily we live only an hour and a half away from their facility so we are able to visit in person.
If you don't live near a large company, ask around at your local feed stores. Some years our Family Farm and Home offers bee pick ups.
2. Local Beekeepers
If you're thinking about getting into bees, I recommend that you join a local bee club. The information is not only fascinating, but so valuable. Try a google search for local clubs.
Often someone from a club or a beekeeping organization can get you in touch with a local beekeeper who is selling bees.
3. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Best Farm Buys
We needed to re-queen one of our hives a few years back and found a beekeeper on Facebook who was selling queens. He was less than 5 miles from our house and has a beautiful backyard apiary. If we ever need to replace our hives, I will contact him to see if he has anything for sale.
4. Talk to an Orchard Manager
If you live near a fruit orchard, many times they will pay bee keepers to bring bees in for pollination. There's a good chance that an employee or manager would be able to put you in touch with a bee keeper.
5. Mail Order
While I've never done it myself, you can order bees through the mail. You might get an interesting phone call from your local post office when they arrive, but it is possible. Many of the larger distributors offer this service.
3. Farmer's Market
Many times there will be a beekeeper selling honey at your local farmer's market. Often, these small time operations have a limited ability to service a finite number of hives. If they get too many colonies that want to swarm, they may be interested in splitting a hive and selling it to you.