Package bees for sale in Melbourne
There are a few ways to purchase bees and get started in the wonderful world of beekeeping. The 2 most common ways to purchase them is either as package bees or a nucleus hive.
Package bees are basically an artificial swarm. This is where bees from parent hives are shaken into a box that’s ventilated on both sides. A queen is added and kept in a queen cage and a tin of thick sugar syrup is given to the bees for their journey. There are a few disadvantages when buying package bees as they are not considered ethical for the poor little bees.
Prior to getting “packed’ bees are fed lots of sugar syrup which lacks nutrition compared to honey. Bees are forcefully shaken into these package boxes, often from various parent colonies and this confuses the bees as each bee colony has its own unique pheromone signature.
Ideally, the bees need to get to their destination as soon as possible. Keeping the package cool is very important as they produce a lot of metabolic heat when all clumped together and can easily smother themselves and basically cook inside the hive.
As soon as the package bees are at their destination they must be tipped into the new hive, for a first-time beekeeper this can be an incredibly daunting experience, dealing with almost 10 000 bees!
Once the package bees are tipped into the hives with frames they must be fed sugar syrup for a minimum of 2 weeks. This helps the package bees draw out wax foundation so the queen can start laying her eggs. Bear in mind when it comes to package bees they are not really cheaper than buying a nucleus hive as you still need frames and a frame feeder for the package bees.
The best way to buy bees is in a nucleus hive, this is basically a starter culture of bees or a mini colony centred around a queen. The are many advantages of nucleus hives compared to package bees and primarily it’s that the colony has stores of honey and pollen. You can also guarantee a young, prolific laying queen and the nucleus colony has a much better start than package bees. With a nucleus hive instead of package bees, you can almost guarantee that the bees will not abscond.
Buying the nucleus hive is very easy for the beekeeper as they would pick them up ideally in the morning then get them home in position and open the gate. The nucleus hive is then left like this for 2 to 3 weeks allowing the bees to orientate and get used to its new area. With ease, they can then be gently shifted across into their bigger home with minimal stress and fuss. This is far less stressful when you compare this to package bees both for the bees and the beekeeper!
If you are looking to buy bees in Melbourne, Victoria, buy a nucleus hive instead of package bees.