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Author Topic: Best Place to Order Bees for New Keeper  (Read 4203 times)
thomashton
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« on: November 04, 2005, 02:07:05 PM »

Ok Guys. I know I need to be ordering soon. This is what I am looking at:

1) I live in Northern Utah

2) I need two packages

3) Would like one package to be Russians

4) Am open to what the other package could be

Anyone have any suggestions on from whom I should order, when etc.?

Thanks
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Apis629
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2005, 03:05:27 PM »

Russians are slow to draw comb so, if you're starting from foundation you'll need Italians.  You can always requeen with a Russian one.
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Jay
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2005, 04:01:45 PM »

Nathan is correct about Russians and foundation. Take a look at this article:

Russian Queens

by Dan Conlon

If you are purchasing Russian queens we have a few recommendations based on last season's study (USDA/SARE grant). Russians are clearly more resistant to mites and disease requiring less intervention and treatment. They can be more difficdult to establish as they are slower to draw comb and buildup when natural food sources are scarce. I have compared packages started with foundation, and on drawn comb. The differences in the rate of growth is dramatic. Russians on drawn comb were, on average, four times the size of those started on foundation by August. Those on comb produced a honey crop, while those on foundation went into winter, needing supplemental feeding. Also there is far greater incidence of swarming when started on foundation (Russians like plenty of comb). With this in mind I recommend the following to Russians.

* Start packages on drawn comb (at least six frames). If you want to use Russians but do not have drawn comb, start with Italians and re-queen in August with a Russian queen. The Italians will do the comb work, and this still allows time for plenty of russian bees to be raised before next winter.

* Use pollen substitute and syrup. This is true for any new package, but essential for Russians. they quickly slow the egg laying in response to perceived storage of forage. They are very efficient in this regard, and tend to produce only the workers they can feed. They also need all the stimulation we can provide to get them to draw comb.

* Provide extra room ahead of their growth. Again this must be drawn comb. Foundation is not useable space to a bee. Only after the foundation is drawn do they consider it useable space. Adding foundation will not deter swarming.

* I will have a written report available in April summarizing our new understanding of managing Russian bees. It should help with practical tips that maximize the advantages of working with these disease and mite resistant bees, and help us over a few of the bumps we encounter, buildup, swarming and introducton.

* About 60% of my colonies are now headed by Russian Queens (pure and hybrid). Once established they are gentle, good producers and are less expensive to mantain. The key is to get them built up, and then you can benefit from their strengths. They are more difficult than Italians to start new colonies on foundation.

From Dan Conlon's Bee Package letter.
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thomashton
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2005, 05:07:47 PM »

Great advice guys.
Thanks a bunch.

Looks like I will probably go with two hives/packages of Italians.

The original question still stands.
Where would be the best place (price/bee health/location etc.) to get my packages from?
Does it make a difference to order from some place close(r) to home (Northern Utah)?
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Apis629
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2005, 05:34:35 PM »

Closer is often advisable given that means that fewer bees will arive dead.  As for suppliers, I ordered mine from Spell Bee Co. in GA.  I just did a search at http://beesource.com/suppliers/usbees.htm (bee source) and there are no suppliers listed in Utah or any surrounding states.  The closest I could find was in California.  Here are all the suppliers and information...(coppied from Beesource.com)
California
ALLEN'S BEE RANCH
19150 Smith Lane
Redding, CA. 96002
phone: 530-221-1458
- italian   

BEAR RIVER HONEY CO.
P.O. Box 782
Wheatland, CA. 95692
phone: 530-633-4789
email: Seifert-brhc@prodigy.net
- italians & russians   

BEE HAPPY APIARIES
8307 Quail Canyon Road
Vacaville, CA 95688
phone: 530-795-2124
- carniolan

BOB BRANDI
1518 Paradise Ln.
Los Banos, CA 93635
phone: 209-826-0921
fax: 209-826-8065
- italian   

BUZZING BY APIARIES
2570 Royal Cr.
Chico, CA 95973
phone: 503-343-7466
fax: 503-894-1261
- italian   

CAN-AM APIARIES
450 3rd Ave.
Orland, CA 95963
phone: 1-800-228-2516
- carniolan

C.F. KOEHNEN & SONS, INC.
3131 Hwy. 45
Glenn, CA. 95943
phone: 530-891-5216
phone: 530-934-5216
- italian, carniolan   

DENNIS LOHMAN APIARIES
6437 Wagner Rd.
Arbuckle, CA. 95912
phone: 530-476-2322
- old world carniolan   

FRIESEN HONEY FARMS
8099 Rd. 29
Glenn, CA. 95943
phone: 530-934-4944
- new world carniolan & wenner italian

GLENN APIARIES
P.O. Box 2737
Fallbrook, CA. 92088
phone: 760-728-3731
email:queenb95@aol.com
- italian, carniolan   

HEITKAMS' HONEY BEES
25815 Post Ave.
Orland, CA 95963
phone: 530-865-9562
fax: 530-865-7839
- italian, carniolan   

HOMER E. PARK
P.O. Box 38
Palo Cedro, CA 96073
phone: 530-547-3391
- italian

JERRY FOSTER APIARIES
937 9th Street
Colusa, CA 95932
phone: 530-458-4234
- italian, carniolan   

JOHN FOSTER APIARIES
P.O. Box 699
Esparto, CA. 95627
phone: 530-787-3044
- italian, carniolan   

MONROE BEES
236 W. East Ave.
Chico, CA 95926
phone: 530-284-7468
pager: 530-892-3017
- italian, carniolan

NEWTON APIARIES
6539 W. Olive Ave
Fresno, CA 93722
phone: 559-277-8456
fax: 559-277-2567
email: calfbman@aol.com   

OLIVAREZ HONEY BEES
930 Trinity Street
Orland, CA 95963
phone: 530-865-8376   

PENDELL APIARIES
P.O. Box 40
Stonyford, CA. 95979
phone: 530-963-3062
- italian

POWELL APIARIES
4140 County Road KK
Orland, CA 95963
phone: 530-865-3346
fax: 530-865-3043
- italian, carniolan   

SMITH APIARIES
6801 Belleview
Paradise, CA 95969
phone: 530-872-4483
- italian, carniolan

STEVE E. PARK APIARIES
11226 Deschutes Road
Palo Cedro, CA 96073
phone: 530-549-3500
fax: 530-549-5250
- italian package bees -
Packages are not mailed.

STRACHAN APIARIES, INC.
2522 Tierra Buena Rd.
Yuba City, CA. 95993
phone: 530-674-3881
fax: 530-674-5802
email: orders@strachanbees.com
- new world carniolan, italian, russian

   TABER'S HONEY BEE
GENETICS
P.O. Box 1672
Vacaville, CA. 95696
phone: 707-449-0440
- yugoslavian, italian   

TOLLET APIARIES
8700 Honey Lane
Millville, CA. 96062
phone: 530-547-3387
fax: 530-547-5327
- italian

VAN VLEET APIARIES
21770 Black Ln.
Cottonwood, CA 96022
phone: 530-347-1987
email: vvbees@c-zone.net
- italian, carniolan   

WAYNE HARRISON
Los Banos, CA 93635
Ph: 209-826-2995
Fax: 209-827-406   

WOOTEN'S GOLDEN QUEENS
11189 Deschutes Road
Palo Cedro, CA 96073
phone: 530-549-3555
fax: 530-549-3624
email: wootengoldqueens@aol.com
- italian queens & nucs

If you're looking elsewhere you can look at http://beesource.com/suppliers/usbees.htm , hope this was helpful.
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2005, 07:29:15 PM »

Just call Jones Bee Co. in Salt Lake.  Olive and her son drive out personally to Kohnen in Glenn Ca and watch them shake the bees.  Then they haul them back and you pick them up on Saturday.  I picked up 10 packages from them last year and the bees were in pretty good shape.  All took off nicely and made a decent crop.  You just have to call and get on the list.   It's been pleasant to deal with them.  As it turns out, they knew B Wenner and the Kohnens that were dealing in bees in Glenn when I was a kid.  Jones brought in over 1400 packages in 3 trips last year.

As far as the type of bees, they have Italians and NWC.  Not to start up some long discussion, but Italians were the bees of choice for a long time.  They are USUALLY calm, readily build comb, and are a good bee to start with.  They build up large colonys, so ensuring they have plenty of stores come winter is important.   Throw a pollen patty on them in late Feb early March, and they will go to town on the fruit and dandylion bloom.

I say again, they make big colonys and consequently are big eaters.  Some people don't like them for this reason, but I like the predictability.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2005, 07:40:55 PM »

There are two problems with ordering packages.  If they are mailed the condition is very upredictable.  Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not.  So it's nice if you can pick them up somewhere.  Here I get them from the local bee store that has them trucked in.  Second, many suppliers have problems supplying them even when you have an order in very early (as in December or January).  So its nice to not have all your eggs in one basket.  If you have a package ordered from two different places the odds of getting at least one improve.
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Michael Bush
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Apis629
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2005, 12:07:12 PM »

I don't know...I ordered from Spell Bee Co. in June just 8 days before delivery.  I hadn't reserved any packages or anything.  I don't think packages are that unreliable.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2005, 01:45:33 PM »

Quote
I don't know...I ordered from Spell Bee Co. in June just 8 days before delivery. I hadn't reserved any packages or anything. I don't think packages are that unreliable.


I ordered my bees in April this year from Rossman Apiaries.  No issues.  They just didn't notify me when to expect them.  Good thing I had called a day prior to them arriving.

I will be ordering early this year though.  More to get it out of the way than anything else.
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Shizzell
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2005, 08:28:04 PM »

I personally like http://www.Bee-commerce.com

I dunno, I like the website author's book: Beekeeping for Dummies
(He sold me on his Website) heh.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2005, 10:02:01 PM »

Quote
I dunno, I like the website author's book: Beekeeping for Dummies

That is a good book.  I didn't realize that was his site.  I figured he had some sort of deal going on, for them to quote him a lot.  Guess I was wrong.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2005, 10:04:43 PM »

> don't know...I ordered from Spell Bee Co. in June just 8 days before delivery. I hadn't reserved any packages or anything. I don't think packages are that unreliable.

I've ordered packages off and on over the last 31 years.  Sometimes they are on time.  Sometimes they are a month late.  Sometimes they arrive dead. Sometimes they arrive in great shape.  Somtimes they never arrive at all.

I'm only trying to help.  It's really dissapointing to get your heart set on having bees and yours are postponed and postponed until it's too late to get them anywhere else.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
steveb
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2005, 11:03:22 PM »

Golfpsycho:
So Jones Bee Company get their bees from Kohnen.  I was wondering.  Maybe I will place an order with Jones then.  Thanks for the info.
SteveB
EMnt, UT
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2005, 03:23:07 AM »

Yep.  They get their bees from Kohnen.  They also run a bee club with members at all levels of experience.  Pretty interesting on pick up day.  People from all over the state lined up to get their bees, and all talking bee stuff.  I usually hate to stand in line, but for once I didn't mind it.
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steveb
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2005, 11:58:58 AM »

I have been up there to the club meetings a couple of times.  Seem like real nice folks.
Steve
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