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20,000 Honey Bees in my Mini Van! Buying and Install a Package of Bees

The only thing crazier than learning you can buy a box of 3lbs, or approximately 10,000 honey bees in a box, is finding out that you can have them mailed to you (well at least to the post office for pickup). While I did not choose to have my bees mailed I still can’t help but laugh as I think about the look that would be on the small town Postal workers faces when a bee buzzing package with my name on it arrived. I can imagine I would hear about that for a while.

Nothing gets your heart pumping like trying to move 10,000 bees from one box to another!

Instead I drove an hour and a half to Kelley’s Bees and made a morning of it. It was a fun morning and included an odd mix of excitement and apprehension as many new beekeepers tried to not act nervous and not look like too much of a NewBee as they carried their box of 10,000 bees to their car for a memorable drive to their chosen bee yard. I remember the drive well. I tried to make sure that the bees stayed at a good temperature and listened to the constant buzz of 20,000 bees taking a ride in a minivan (I had 2 packages of 10,000). Beekeeping is a bit of a thrill seeker hobby and it starts right from the beginning when you buy your first package and install them into a hive for the first time. Nothing gets your heart pumping like trying to move 10,000 bees from one box to another (well…maybe seeing a hive swarm, but that is a story for another day)! Below is my clumsy attempt at hiving my first package. You may pick up on my nervousness as I check and double check that everything is set to go. These bees stayed and made my hive their new home and in about 3 days had released the queen from her cage (there is a candy plug keeping her in that the bees eat our as they get used to her as their new queen), therefore this was a success! Watch below to see how it went!

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This Post Has 4 Comments

    1. Good question! It is 1 to 1 water/sugar mixture. It calms the bees and keeps them busy and fed as they clean it off from each other. It is important not to over do it and cause them to get stuck or drowned, but a little does the trick. Thanks for asking.

      Matthew Doucette

  1. Great article! It’s fascinating to learn about the process of buying and installing a package of bees. I appreciate the author’s honesty about their nervousness and excitement. My question is, what other challenges or tips would you offer to someone who is new to beekeeping and looking to buy their first package of bees?

    1. Thanks Katie for the kind words!

      A few suggestions, first we have an article on buying bees, maybe you have already read it but if not it will give you some ideas about the different ways bees can be purchased in addition to package bees:

      Second, we have a free 5-step guide that is our answer to this very question of, how do I get started, you can find that here:

      Lastly, we have a youtube channel with some videos you might find helpful, including installing your first bees:

      I hope that helps, happy beekeeping!

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