I am revising this article now almost five years later. Each year I learn more and more about the bees. I can't always say that what I learn in one year is something that I can take with me into the next. The video below was made on the day that Dale and I set up the first two hives on our farm on Chesterhaven Beach and this interview is as real as it gets with an "old bee guy".
My first couple of years we bought packaged bees. The main reason to buy packaged bees is to save money. There are plenty of folks on the web today that are weighing in on the thought process. I felt that Bjorn Apiaries explains the pros and cons nicely in this blog. It's far less expensive to buy packaged bees than it is to buy "nucs". Learn a little more about nucleus colonies.
Packaged bees are a fine way for a beginning beekeeper to get bees in place. The issue that I experienced in my third year involved getting bees in packages where one queen failed and the other was not shipped with a queen. So all that money I "saved" cost me 2 hives out of the gate and the bee package factory (think puppy mill only with bees) told me that they were sorry and that there was nothing that they could do about the fact that I got 2 week packages. If you buy a bad nuc, you bring it back because you purchased it locally and the losses don't have to be your own.
The following is my interview with Dale concerning concerning what to expect from the bees and he left me with some literature to read before his next visit in three to four weeks.
Next post in this series: Setting up the hives (part 3)