We talked with some bee breeders in CA about the upcoming bee season and they expressed concern about the quantity and quality of bees they will be able to produce for the 2023 season.
They have bee yards in multiple areas and they have stressors in most yards (draught, local flooding, some even lost hives to fires).
Commercial operations are planning more on recovering their colony numbers and strength than selling packages or nucs for starter hives.
At this point, we decided not to bring live bees for sale for the 2023 season.
If you are getting started in beekeeping in 2023, we’d recommend you try to get bees from a local beekeeper (they could sell you a nuc from a split or you could catch a swarm).
If you still want to buy packages or nucs, we would recommend contacting your local bee association. You may need to wait until February, as suppliers confirm the number of colonies they can sell after they evaluate their overwinter survival rates.
The following beekeepers contacted BeeManiacs and confirmed they are going to be selling live bees during the 2023 season. You can find more information on their websites:
At this time we have decided to focus on the local beekeeping community and suspend our shipping options.
Local beekeepers can continue ordering online and once the order is processed, pick it up right outside BeeManiacs store.
Due to supply chain disruptions and variable shipping costs, we decided to suspend shipping orders. In some cases we worked hard to have inventory on hand for our local beekeepers, to just see out-of-state orders coming in and taking all that inventory.
We will reconsider adding shipping options in future years, once the supply chain recovers and shipping costs become more affordable.
With this change we will be able to keep more items in inventory and available for local beekeepers.
We look forward to seeing you at the drive-thru package and nuc pickup, tomorrow Sunday, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm (we don’t have alphabetically assigned pickup times this year).
The weather finally improved and it will be very nice for installing bees at this time.
Make sure to provide sugar syrup to your live bees (package and nucs) from the moment they’re installed in their hive. (even if you have frames with honey from previous years, you need to feed the new bees 1:1 sugar syrup).
Note for Nuc customers: Our Nuc supplier confirmed that they locked the queens in self-release cages to minimize transport losses. If the bees already released the queen, you can remove the cage. If the queen is still in the cage, you can hand release that queen into the hive.
We will get back to you over email to help resolve any issues.
For example, if you receive a dead queen in the package, we will be replacing it. It’s normal for about 3% of the packages to reject the queen and the supplier provides the replacements. We will coordinate over email on when to exchange the dead queen for a new one.
We can help you resolve most problems within the first week, as long as we’re contacted right away.
Finally, the weather will be improving a little bit this weekend, when the bees arrive.
Transport requirements for Nucs and Packages are a little different.
Nucs are usually easy to transport, as long as they’re provided enough air circulation. Honey bees in the nuc can easily warm themselves up to the right temperature but could have a harder time removing excess heat while being enclosed inside the transport cardboard box.
Bees in a package are very vulnerable and have a limited capacity to regulate temperature and airflow. They depend on the beekeeper to provide the right environment during transport.
Sunday, April 24 should be a nice day for transporting and installing bees.
Once you have your bees, please try to install them on that same day or keep them safe until installation.
Packages should be installed on the same day.
Nucs can be installed within a couple of days (you still need to place them on their permanent location and remove the plug so they can fly in and out of the cardboard box).
We do not recommend transporting packages on the back of pick-up trucks (unless you have some type of enclosure to protect the bees while allowing some airflow). There could be too much airflow (cold air) or too much sun or even rain. Car trunks are not a good idea for packages or nucs either, because they could get too hot and lack ventilation.
Nucs could be transported on the backs of pickup trucks.
It would be better for the bees to ride in the vehicle with the beekeeper, with average or “room” temperatures. The longer the trip home, the more important it is to provide the right travel environment.
Just transport the package/s as you would a pet.
Don’t leave the live bees inside a parked car (it could get too hot).
Once you get the bees, go straight to the installation location.
If you bring someone along for the ride, make sure they are comfortable with sharing the car with thousands of bees.
It may be a good idea to bring a veil or any protective gear, just in case. Bees are smart and sometimes figure out how to get out of any enclosure.
Installing the bees
Get the hive hardware set up and ready to receive the bees ahead of time.
You will need to feed the bees with sugar syrup (mix of granulated sugar and water 1:1) so make sure to have enough sugar and a feeder to deliver the syrup close to the bees. You must feed sugar syrup to the bees, even if you can provide frames with honey from previous colonies (the syrup provides nutrition, water, and encourages the bees to settle down in the new hive and prepare the combs for the colony).
The colony should be installed in one single box. If you bought a hive kit with multiple boxes, just use the first one.
If you have a non-conventional hive, like a top-bar, horizontal, or AZ Slovenian hive, please note that you have to use follower boards or some kind of divider to make the chamber where the package is installed smaller.
If you have a Flow hive, you cannot use the plastic Flow frames when installing your bees (you need to use a box with standard frames).
Try to install the bees mid-afternoon, to prevent robbing from existing colonies and reducing the chances of absconding (when they all take off and leave) and drifting (when they go from one colony to a different one).
The bees need time to settle down, gather around the queen, and warm-up before temperatures drop, so try not to install right before dusk.
A colony that is installed correctly will start drawing out the comb, rear brood, and expand for the rest of the season. If there’s something wrong with the queen or the colony, we have about 7 days to solve the problem.
But when the conditions for the colony are bad, all the bees could die within three days, without having a chance of establishing the colony (for example due to lack of syrup feed or if installed in a hive that is too big or has too many boxes).
For installing a Nuc you just need to move the frames into the hive.
Another update was sent by email to all the beekeepers that bought live bees from BeeManiacs. Please check your email and if you didn’t receive anything on April 15, check your spam or other email folders and adjust your email to make sure you receive our updates.
Package and nuc pickup hours are from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sunday, April 24.
Pickup address: 7619 W Woolard Rd Deer Park, WA 99006
You can enter BeeManiacs from the main entrance and head towards the Big Barn where the drive-thru line forms
While in the line, a BeeManiacs employee will approach and ask for the name of the person that placed the order
At that point, BeeManiacs staff will set your packages and any material you pre-ordered online at the pickup area
Stay in the line and continue driving until you reach the pickup area (concrete area outside the Big Barn)
You may now get out of your vehicle and load your bees/material
To exit, continue driving around the garden and BeeManiacs store building until you reach the main road
Please note that our store remains closed for in-person visits. You can place online orders for equipment and tools ahead of time (until Friday 4/22) and we will have the material ready for you to pick up with the bees.
We are already sending emails to all beekeepers that ordered packages or nucs. If you ordered bees, please check your email and make sure you get these updates regarding pickup date. Later we will send more updates and information as we get closer to bee day.
You can now place orders for 2022 live bees online.
This season we are bringing Carniolan nucs and Carniolan and Italian packages. The estimated pick-up date will be one of the last two weekends of April (to be confirmed closer to package day as queen rearing in California depends on the weather).
You can order online and book your package or nuc for this season.
We have limited supplies and once we run out we may not be able to bring more live bees for this season. We don’t have a due date until when orders can be received. Once we run out of bees the website will close for ordering and will start taking email addresses for a waitlist.
Live bee pre-orders would become available by the end of January or early February and we will have limited quantities. You can start signing up for the waitlist on the live bees for the 2022 season right now.
You can find some information about packages and nucs on each product page and join a waitlist here:
You will be able to enter your email address and the website will send you a notification as soon as the 2022 season live bees become available for pre-order (you can decide if placing the order or not at that time).