I just got a second hive, and am interested in buying package bees. I don't think I have enough experience to split my other hive. I know it's late, but I am hoping someone comes through.
Hi Steve - I'm not sure this is helpful - did you try Dadent?
Their last address was in Hamilton, Illinois.
Also York Bee Co., - the last number I have is 912-427-7311. This is very old info - so I apologize if it is not up to date.
My experience with package bees is the problem of getting them in good condition. Folks don't really like to handle them - and my last order arrived in less than optimal condition.
I have recently acquired a swarm and had a local bee collector/exterminator place them in a hive for me. Perhaps your yellow pages will be helpful - as bee exterminators will sometimes also sell bees.
Just my thoughts for a "penny."
Split the hive. You don't need to take much, a couple of frames of brood, and the bees that come with those frames. Just don't take the queen from the first hive. You could buy a queen (or let them raise their own).
Why? Well, you aren't going to get honey from package bees this year. So why spend all that money? What you want is a healthy hive for next year. The cheapest way to get this is a split. It's cheap and it's easy. You just haven't done it before, so you're a little worried. Well, one of the first important lessons you need to learn in beekeeping is the bees don't need your help, they know what to do. They know what to do to start a new hive with just some brood, long as there are uncapped or recently capped brood. And if you provide a queen, well, a queen carries the future in her belly.
You're going to be needing to split hives in the future, when you find your healthy hive in March or April has about six or eight queen cells, and either you get involved and split the hive or they'll do it for you.
Those little five frame nuke hives are handy to have. Check 'em out.
Package bees are really hard to find this time of year. Normally, you need to contact a bee producer in the fall for the next season. This is especially true now that honey is coming into its own(finally)price-wise. A lot more people are wanting to raise bees and sell honey. If your hive is two hive-bodies strong, it might be better to split it. If not, I would suggest waiting until next year. There are many, many producers out there. The American Bee Journal is loaded with people who offer package bees in the spring months. I seriously doubt is you will find anyone selling them at this time of year, but you might.
If you are serious about beekeeping, I would suggest that you consider a subscription to a trade journal like the American Bee Journal. Just type in ABJ or American Bee Journal in Google, and you will get their information. There several trade journals available. In these you will find a buy and sell section in the back where beekeepers are retiring and selling out and other similar offers. There is also an index of advertisers in the back with plenty of people to contact about package bees.
Sears has them. (Be prepared for a higher than normal price, probably). Sears is reliable though. Still, too, they might not have them this time of year. They used to cater to the Midnight BEES as they are so gentle. I do not know what variety they sell now though.
To split the hive, you will need to find three to four frames of brood that have bees emerging and also a frame that has fresh eggs. If you can identify these items, you will be able to start another beehive. They will raise their own queen. Queen bees are also rare this time of year. Take these six frames and place them in a new hive. Also, take a frame or two of their own honey. Leave a place for an internal tub feeder, make your own 50/50 by weight sugar water feed and begin feeding. Continue feeding until the new hive is also two hive bodies strong.
You also need to be treating them for mites and foulbrood.
Any more questions, you may email me at email@example.com
This is a little late but I just joined. You can contact your local State Apiarist and he can point you toward a local beekeepers club, through them you can find somebody that will sell you a nuke of bees and even help you with the install or help you with the split.
Indeed, packages are becoming quickly unpopular. Perhaps 10% of the packages here had problems with absconding or queen problems. Almost all package producers have heavily dosed with miticides and TM and early blooms of AFB have been found in new hives.
In this state, there's a strong move toward in-state grown nucs.
As we don't yet have a problem with SHB here, and we don't allow hives to be imported into the state from other states, perhaps we can stay SHB - free
But Indiana is NOT SHB free!!
No, there's been a few occurances. It's illegal to import hives and packages unless there's from certified SHB free counties. But many beekeepers ignore that and bring in packages from infested suppliers. I suppose it's inevitable. However, we are relatively free of SHB compared to the neighboring states. At least so far.