Three Ways To Acquire Bees
Now that you've decided to start beekeeping, there's one major concern you have to deal with:
how do you get the bees? Do you buy them? And how? Or do you catch them one by one?
There are three ways to acquire bees. Here's a brief guide how.
1. Buy colonies of bees together with the hives. This is ideal for novice beekeepers since it is the easiest and
most practical way to start beekeeping. One, you already have established colonies, and two, you have ready
beehives. Most beekeepers advise purchasing two colonies, so should one colony grows weaker than the other, you can
swap frames of honey and brood or add bees from the stronger colony. The good thing is that a lot of beekeepers are
selling bee colonies in hives, and it won't be hard to find one. You can perhaps contact local beekeepers or try to
search online. The downside is that you might purchase colonies of an aggressive type or infested with mites and
diseases, so you have to be extra attentive. When buying, make sure the bees are not overly defensive and
aggressive. Check the equipment. Is the hive maintained well? Does it show signs of rot and pests? Then, take a
look at the combs of brood. Do they have symptoms of diseases? To minimize the possibility of troubles, deal with a
2. Purchase packaged bees. Packaged bees come in screened wooden boxes the size of a shoebox. They are sold by
pounds, usually two to five pounds, with one pound composed of around 3,000 to 4,000 bees. The package has a can of
syrup that bees feed on and a separate small cage that keeps the queen bee. Although you can have the packaged bees
shipped to you, it is better to pick up the bees yourself if you have the means. Once it arrives, place the package
in a dark, shaded, and cool place until the bees are ready for installation into their new beehive. Again, make
sure to buy from a reputable bee supplier or breeder, someone who can assure you of quality and healthy bees.
3. Wait for swarms. Swarms happen when the queen and 60% of the colony's workers fly off to find a new nest.
They usually settle in the wild, although they also like to stay on house walls, hollow tree trunks, and low tree
branches. To catch a swarm cluster, spray it with sugar syrup, which will make the bees a little sticky and easier
to gather, and then place a bucket under the swarm. Shake the branch to allow the bees to fall into the bucket and
cover it with a screen. Catching swarms can sure make some savings, but it can be a little difficult for an
inexperienced beekeeper. Plus, you may not be so sure if the bees are disease-free.