How to Buy Honey Bees: A Comprehensive Guide


Honey bees are essential for pollinating crops and producing honey. If you’re interested in starting your own beehive, it’s important to know how to buy honey bees. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to buy honey bees, including the different types of honey bees available, where to buy them, and what to look for when selecting your bees.

Types of Honey Bees

Before you buy honey bees, it’s important to understand the different types of bees available. Here are the three main types of honey bees:

Italian Honey Bees

The most popular type of honey bee

Known for their gentle nature and high honey production

Yellow and brown stripes on their abdomens

Carniolan Honey Bees

Native to Slovenia

Known for their docile temperament and ability to withstand cold winters

Gray in color with lighter bands on their abdomens

Russian Honey Bees

Bred to withstand harsh winters and resist mites

Known for their defensive behavior and tendency to swarm

Darker in color with black abdomens

Where to Buy Honey Bees

There are several places where you can buy honey bees, including:

Local Beekeepers

Check with local beekeeping clubs or associations to find beekeepers in your area who sell honey bees

Buying locally can help ensure that the bees are adapted to your specific climate

Online Retailers

Many online retailers sell honey bees and beekeeping equipment

Research the retailer’s reputation and read reviews before making a purchase

Package Bee Producers

Package bee producers sell bees in bulk and can be a cost-effective option for starting a new hive

Be sure to research the producer’s reputation and read reviews before making a purchase

What to Look for When Buying Honey Bees

When buying honey bees, there are several factors to consider. Here are some things to look for when selecting your bees:


Look for bees that are healthy and free from disease

Avoid bees with missing or damaged body parts

Queen Quality

The queen bee is the most important bee in the hive

Look for hives with a high-quality queen bee that is actively laying eggs

Bee Behavior

Observe the bees’ behavior to ensure they are not overly aggressive or defensive

Look for bees that are actively gathering pollen and nectar


Be sure the bees are packaged securely and shipped in appropriate weather conditions

Check for damage during shipping and contact the seller if there are any issues

Checklist for Buying Honey Bees

Before buying honey bees, make sure you have the following items on your checklist:

Beehive Equipment

Make sure you have all the necessary equipment to set up your beehive, including frames, foundation, and a smoker

Protective Clothing

Invest in protective clothing, including a bee suit, gloves, and a veil

Beekeeping Tools

Purchase beekeeping tools, including a hive tool, bee brush, and feeder

Beekeeping Knowledge

Educate yourself on beekeeping practices and techniques to ensure the health and success of your hive

FAQs about Buying Honey Bees

When is the best time to buy honey bees?

The best time to buy honey bees is in the spring when bee colonies are more active and available

How many bees do I need to start a hive?

You will need at least 10,000 bees to start a hive, which is equivalent to three to five pounds of bees

How much does it cost to buy honey bees?

The cost of honey bees can vary depending on the type of bee and the seller

Package bees typically cost between $100 and $150, while a nucleus hive can cost up to $300 or more

Can I buy wild honey bees?

It’s not recommended to buy wild honey bees, as they may be diseased or aggressive

Instead, purchase bees from reputable beekeepers or producers

How do I transport honey bees?

Honey bees should be transported in a well-ventilated container, such as a mesh cage or a wooden box with air holes

Be sure to keep the container out of direct sunlight and avoid exposing the bees to extreme temperatures


Buying honey bees can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re getting healthy, high-quality bees. Consider the type of bee that best fits your needs, where to buy them, and what to look for when selecting your bees. Be sure to have all the necessary equipment and knowledge to care for your hive, and don’t forget to invest in protective clothing to keep yourself safe while handling the bees. With these tips, you can confidently buy honey bees and start your own thriving beehive.

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