Many beginner beekeepers may have a rudimentary understanding of how beehives work. In beekeeping, however, the health, productivity, stability, and even the existence of a bee colony and the productive hive depends on just one bee who reigns from the colony’s center, the queen bee.
If you want to establish your own hive, or whether you’re a seasoned commercial beekeeper for honey production. You could have had a catastrophic event, and you’ll quickly discover that queen bees are like gold among beekeepers and one of the essential products in a beekeeping supplier’s catalog.
They are not only required for individuals intending to create new hives and produce honey, but they are also frequently sought on short notice when a colony encounters a queen-related issues.
In our guide, you can learn more about how much are queen bees, and how you can get them. By the end, you’ll find the cost of a queen bee could be more than you expected, though it will depend on the different species.
You’ll also see a mated queen is more valuable than just honey making, and how much is a queen bee worth? (Learn How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees With Vinegar)
How Beekeepers Get Bees
Beekeepers obtain bees in three ways. First, they can either purchase a package of bees, a nucleus colony, or a swarm. Purchasing a package of bees is the most typical way for beginner beekeepers.
Package of Bees
Live bees will be sent through the mail by bee breeders. Imagine the mailman’s amazement when he receives a package containing a swarm of buzzing bees! When you acquire bees from a breeder, they usually come in a screened box with 3 pounds of bees, or approximately 10,000 bees.
They will include a queen bee in every shipment of bees. She arrives in a bit of a cage that keeps her away from the rest of the colony. Breeders will also include a can of sugar syrup in the shipment for the bees to eat while in transit. So, for your new beehive, one package of bees will be enough.
A local beekeeper is another excellent source for bees. Joining a local beekeeping group or contacting your local beekeepers’ association will help you find other beekeepers. They should assist you if you ask them where you can get bees.
You might even locate a beekeeper in your neighborhood eager to sell you some bees to get your colony started. At the very least, they will be able to guide you to a reliable bee breeder. Make sure to inquire as soon as possible. Some beekeepers demand you to make a months-long reservation.
A nucleus colony is another option for acquiring bees for a hive. A nucleus colony (also known as a nuc) is a bee colony with three to five frames. Comb, brood, and a vigorous laying queen will be found in the frames.
Only the frames and bees from the nuc box need to be transferred to your hive. Locally, a nucleus colony must be purchased. If this alternative is available, it is strongly recommended because it is the least stressful for the bees, resulting in a higher survival rate.
There are “nuc ready” beehive starting kits available, including everything you need to start beekeeping except the nuc. A deep brood box and five frames are included in this kit. Because there are only five frames, you’ll be able to simply put them into the five frames that come with your nuc. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Bumble Bees)
The last option for beekeepers is to capture a wild swarm of bees. The most excellent part about capturing a swarm is they are free. However, it can be challenging, especially for new beekeepers, to take an established colony from the wild.
Even for seasoned beekeepers, predicting the health and disposition of the bees can be challenging. Because of their aggressive behavior, Africanized bees are an issue in some locations. If you want to capture a swarm of bees, seek help from an expert beekeeper or a bee group.
Buying Bees Online
If your hive is suddenly queen less, you may wonder where to get queen bees. Newly mated queens and honey bee packages can be purchased from a breeder and shipped.
You can buy queen bees online with honeybee packages. Order your bees in the winter to ensure delivery in the spring. Popular providers frequently run out of bees, so order early. They might be dispatched next day air or only shipped weekly depending on where you buy them online.
To help identify queens, an experienced beekeeper often paints a small colored dot on their thorax. When buying a queen bee, ask the reputable bee breeder to mark it for you. It is safe for the honeybees and only costs $5-$10.
The queen bee will arrive in a little cage with some workers. The cage will feature a small opening filled with candy. Unfortunately, the queen cannot quickly join the hive because the workers aren’t used to her smell, and they could kill her.
Introducing her as a queen requires placing her complete cage in the hive. The bees will consume the sweet plug and free the queen after a few days. But, first, they should be accustomed to her smell and allow her inside the hive once the candy is gone.
How Much Do Bee Bees Cost?
The price of a queen varies depending on where you are. Of course, you might expect to pay more if you buy bees from specific breeding projects.
Breeder queens are created and inseminated artificially with drone sperm. Although an average beekeeper doesn’t require a costly queen, you can spend hundreds of dollars on these bees.
A mated queen bee from a good breeder should cost between $30 and $100. These queens are free to fly and breed with nearby drones, and many beekeepers fill the surrounding areas with drone colonies to improve the chances the queens will mate.
While you can buy virgin queens or queen cells, most beekeepers buy bees that have been mated to ensure the success of their hives.
You may wonder why you need to go to the expense and purchase a new queen?
Why should a beekeeper buy a queen when the bees can create their own? Buying a queen honeybee is beneficial for the colony in several scenarios.
New Queen and New Genetics
- The beekeeper may desire to bring new DNA into the hive. Some bee breeders work hard to create a unique bee line.
- Because the queen is the mother of all bees in the colony, choose a more sanitary queen. Colonies with good hygiene have fewer varroa mite difficulties.
- Buying a queen from a bee breeder who focuses on hygienic practices such as limiting mite populations.
- It is also possible to get queens that will overwinter better in colder climates or be calmer on the comb.
- Temperament is another trait that can be inherited. While many factors contribute to a colony’s aggression, some breed lines are more prone to be more aggressive when the queen is egg-laying.
Colony Can’t Produce a Queen Bee
- The honeybees colony can replace its queen bee when needed if the hive has the correct materials such as royal jelly and enough worker bees.
- But occasionally, the hive and the colony of bees lack the supplies. For example, no queen can be made without freshly fertilized eggs or young larva.
- Also, a colony without a honey bee queen for a long time is problematic. Laying workers may already exist.
- Or the colony’s population is too low to raise, mate, and produce a new queen. In these cases, hunting for a good queen is a clever idea.
- Any queen bee can cost up to $100. Some, especially if they are one of these strains, can fetch more, and she can lay thousands of eggs per day for a couple of years, or she dies of old age.
Purchasing queen bees is easy during the warm seasons of late spring through early Fall.
Local beekeepers may raise a few extra queens, and a good place if they are reputable to add new genetics to own hives. You can find extra queens for sale during “bee season,” and early spring when pollination is rife.
You’ll have the queen and a few worker bee companions if you order online.
Your new queen can stay in her small box for several days, though it is better to get them in their new posts in the new hive as soon as possible.
Until then, you need to store your queen bee in a cool dark place and try to avoid bothering them, though you can add a drop or two of water on the screen of the cage.
Your bees will often arrive, and you could see a couple of worker dead bees. Yet, if your queen is dead, call the supplier, and they will advise what to do. Before ordering queens, ask about live arrival guarantees and how you stand.
There can be times you can’t buy a queen bee from breeding companies because of availability or lack of it. (Learn How To Repel Sweat Bees)
If the season allows and a colony has a decent population, your bees can raise a new queen if you present fresh eggs from another colony.