Honey Bees For Sale
Bee Hives For Sale
"Where do I find honey bees for sale?" Is probably one of the first questions that occurs to a new beekeeper. You may sometimes see an advertisement for honey bees for sale, or top bar hives for sale. Buying an established hive from a local beekeeper is a great way to start. However it is important that you proceed with caution. I have seen novices with hives they have purchased, which I would not have taken as a gift. Before continuing, complete the form on the right to find out the "Top 10 Reasons People Don't Keep Bees."
It's also a good idea to find a local beekeeper, or more than one if you can, and talk to him or her. Join a local beekeeping club or group if you can find one, if you can't find one consider trying to start one yourself. it's a good way to find beekeepers and get ideas. Secondhand equipment from someone that has given up beekeeping after their bees died could be a bargain, or a disaster. You have to consider why the bees died off. Is the equipment contaminated? If the beekeeper is giving up bees, often because of a back problem caused by lifting heavy hive boxes, that is a different matter.
The Top Bar Hive or TBH is becoming increasingly popular for many reasons. Originally developed for beekeepers in Kenya and Uganda who can take advantage of the fact that an old refrigerator or half an oil drum can be turned into a Kenya top bar hive. However high quality kits are available for self assembly, for those who don't appreciate the aesthetics of an old fridge. If you'd like to know more about Kenyan Top Bar Hives, click here to ask a question.
Inspect any honey bees for sale in the same way you might inspect a house or a car. Take a beekeeper friend with you if you possibly can. If the beekeeper who has the bees for sale is not happy for you to inspect them you should ask yourself why. Most beekeepers will be happy to help, everyone is a novice when they start out. Someone who is selling beehives might deliver them for you, but you should go and inspect them first.
When you inspect honey bees for sale, look for a hive with a large number of bees in boxes which are in good condition. I wouldn't buy anything other than Langstroth hives, there are other good hives, but you want extra parts to be easily obtainable. It's definitely a good idea to have all the same type of hive so that parts like queen excluders, roofs, floors, frames and supers can be used on any hive. If you have a Kenya top bar hive, obviously the parts will not be interchangeable with a Langstroth, but the whole concept of a ktbh is different.
I usually sell a Langstroth hive with one deep box and one shallow. Make sure there is a good quantity of brood, pollen and some honey, this will of course depend on the time of year? If you can't find the queen bee when you inspect the hive don't worry, but make sure there are fresh eggs and young lava. If the box and bees are in good condition, and you think it's good value, this is a quick way to get some hands on experience.
Remember there is the cost of the boxes, roof, floor, the frames with foundation and of course the bees. It takes time and effort to build up the numbers in a colony. A fresh swarm might have around 15,000 individual bees. About 99% of these will be worker bees, the rest will be drones. An established colony might have twice as many as that. If it is a strong hive with multiple brood boxes it can have 50,000 - 60,000 workers. So the price should reflect this and a charge for delivery if that is included.
It's difficult to say what the price should be, it will depend on the condition of the boxes, the size of colony, the area of the country, the time of year and the supply of other bee hives for sale in your area.
If someone has honey bees for sale or just bee hives for sale I would expect them to offer to answer questions after the sale, at least by phone. Don't expect a warranty, but most people who have bees for sale care enough about what they do, and want to encourage others to do the same.
If you have a queenless hive, or one whose temperament needs improvement you can rear your own queens, however unless you're an experienced beekeeper I recommend you look for a supplier who specializes in queen rearing. The time of year these breeders offer queens bees for sale will depend on the climate in your area.
If you're not looking for bees for sale, but Honey for Sale, click here.