1. Packages are often shipped from out of state with honeybees and queens that are not from our region or climate, may be harboring pathogens, and have poor genetic adaptation. Though they come early and you feel you are getting a headstart – if they perish due to these issues, the headstart is for nought!
2. Your odds of success are better with local “nucleus” or “nuc” colonies from a reputable beekeeper and locally adapted bees. “Nuc” colonies come with at least 5 frames of drawn comb, bee brood in all stages, and resources (pollen/nectar/honey). Frame types may vary (deep is most common, but some supply mediums).
3. Nucleus colonies may not always be readily available and waitlists start in the previous fall season. If you must buy a package it is recommended that you treat the package with Oxalic Acid dribble or vapor (while broodless) and requeen the colony with vetted local stock from a reputable queen producer. (Detailed Instructions for the Treatment)
REACH OUT TO THE WWW.SBGMI.ORG FOR A LIST OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL HONEYBEE SUPPLIERS!
1. Influence of brood pheromone on honey bee colony establishment and queen replacement https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00218839.2020.1867336
2. Instructional video on purchasing bees by Dr. Adam Ingrao from Bee Wise Farms discussing “Packages vs. Nucs” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq8rXNg3lPM&ab_channel=BeeWiseFarms
3. What’s in that package? Dr. Jamie Strange presentation for Alameda Beekeepers Association https://youtu.be/_ueBGH1A7-8
4. “What’s in That Package? An Evaluation of Quality of Package Honey Bee Shipments in the United States” Full Text Link for Study Here