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20 Best Places to Buy Bees to Start Beekeeping in 2023

Are you about starting a beekeeping business and you are wondering where to buy bees? If YES, here are 20 best bee suppliers in 2023. Beekeeping has gained so much popularity over the last few years. It has been in existence for centuries and many now realize how profitable this business is.

There are many manufacturers and suppliers of beekeeping equipment out there; however, you can buy bees commercially, and possibly, locally. Bees come as packaged bees, nucs (or nucleus colony), or an established colony. You can also get bees by catching a swarm.

According to experts, packaged bees are the most common way of buying bees. When you order packaged bees, you are ordering about 3 pounds of bees and a queen. It is best to get a marked queen if the company offers that and most do. This will give you about 11,000 bees and an easily recognizable queen. Have it in mind that these bees are bred especially for this purpose. Most bee breeders in the U.S. are located in the southern states but ship bees all over the country.

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The bees will come via U.S. Postal Service and be delivered to your local post office. The post office will call you when they arrive, which is usually very early in the morning. You will want to pick them up right away. The bees will not be delivered to your door.

Also note that these bees will be shipped in a screen box and will have a small queen cage inside, along with a feeding can that has simple syrup in it. You will need to order one package of bees for each hive you want to start.

“Nucs” or nucleus colonies are another option when buying bees. In a nuc, you will receive the bees, an actively laying queen, and 4-5 frames of brood. Notably, there are companies that sell nucs or you can ask local beekeepers if any of them are interested in selling you a nuc. Nucs will indeed cost more than packaged bees since you are getting more. And it is not just the brood frames that make the difference.

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With a nuc, you are getting an actively laying queen and she will continue to lay eggs even while being transported. You will also receive bees that are various ages and know how to work together. Unlike packaged bees, who have to spend the first weeks in the hive drawing out comb for brood, nucs can get to work foraging and making honey immediately.

Buying an established hive is another way of buying bees. If this is the route you want to go, a good place to start looking is your local beekeeping organization or your county extension office. Note that when you purchase an established hive, you will get the bees, the actively laying queen, frames and the hive. Although this may sound like a really great way to start, there are a few disadvantages for a beginning beekeeper.

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According to reports, established hives tend to defend their hives more aggressively than hives just starting out. Furthermore, more bees mean that it will be harder to do hive inspections. Lastly, when you purchase an established hive, you might not know for sure how old the queen is.

Knowing how old the queen is can be very crucial because of what happens when the queen bee dies. If the queen dies, you can lose the entire hive. Catching a swarm is another way to get bees. Catching a swarm is free, so that is great.

However, have it in mind that it might not be the ideal option for a new beekeeper. There are a lot of unknowns when catching a swarm. You don’t know anything about their health, genetics, or temperament. To make setting up your apiary easier, here are the best bee supply companies in the United States. Whether you’re a hobbyist or hoping to turn your hives into a business, these services can help you get started.

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Where to Buy Bees to Start Beekeeping in 2023?

  1. Mann Lake Ltd

Mann Lake is renowned as one of the most popular suppliers of beekeeping equipment today. The company has established a good reputation when it comes to the supply of high quality beekeeping tools and equipment. It caters to the needs of the beginning beekeeping hobbyist as well as the beekeeping professional.

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Mann Lake is popularly known for some items such as hive kits, queen rearing equipment, varroa mite control, protective clothing, honey extractors, beekeeping tools, and honey bottling equipment. Note that one of the main benefits of purchasing your supplies from this manufacturer is that you get nothing short of the best quality. They are the manufacturer and therefore they ensure all products are made of the best quality materials.

Mann Lake operates in various locations within the US: Pennsylvania, Texas, California, and Minnesota. Their products are also available online for easier purchases. Mann Lake is among Amazon’s best sellers of beekeeping supplies.

  1. Harvest Lane Honey

Harvest Lane Honey remains one of the brands that beekeepers are happy about. The beekeeping supplier Strives to help reverse the worrying trend of honeybee population decline. It works to make sure that there is a future for honeybees.

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Inspiration for the company in this mission comes from the pollination activities of honeybees and the production of honey. This has made the company committed to providing quality and durable equipment and tools in beekeeping.

Have it in mind that this supplier makes sure to exercise utmost responsibility in the sourcing processes for materials to make and manufacture various beekeeping supplies. In this respect, Harvest Lane Honey leverages sustainable forestry products. Harvest Lane Honey is also not just about selling beekeeping supplies; the supplier takes pride in being a beekeeping entity that tests and tries all its products in beehives that it owns.

Coupled with physical products for beekeepers, Harvest Lane Honey runs education programs, a blog and makes videos to help you run your beekeeping operation better. The supplier even has a beekeeping club to bring together beekeepers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders in beekeeping.

  1. VIVO Beekeeping Supplies

VIVO Beekeeping Supplies is one of the top manufacturers of beekeeping equipment, steadily providing excellent quality products. It has established a good reputation as a leader when it comes to the supply of top quality products. VIVO prides itself for its extensive experience and long history of supplying beekeeping supplies globally.

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Note that some of the products supplied by VIVO include: professional beekeeping jackets which come in various sizes and colors. They also supply good quality stainless steel beehive smokers with a heat shield, honey strainer double sieve, stainless steel honey extractors, and many other products.

They are known not to compromise when it comes to quality and pricing. You get quality for your money. Most of their products are quite affordable when compared to other suppliers. Even though the product quality generally affects the price in addition to the extra items available within the order, VIVO products are still quite affordable.

  1. Forest Beekeeping Supply

This is another supplier of beekeeping equipment and accessories that is highly rated. According to reports, their products rank high at online stores such as Amazon, eBay, and others. The firm manufactures much of its products at its woodworking workshop.

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Its beekeeping equipment is tailored to meet the varying needs of various skill levels. The full range of products is ideal for hobbyists as well as professionals. Note that their products include beekeeping suits, honey extractors, and so much more. One key differentiator of the brand is the fact that it has a vast variety of products for beekeeping.

The quality of all products is also exceptional and each item comes with a number to models and types to choose from. Forest Beekeeping Supply is both an online store and has a physical location. Its store is situated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Clients can also place orders directly from the manufacturer’s site by making a phone call.

  1. Honey Keeper

This is a brand that aligns well with most beekeepers whether beginner, hobbyist, or professional. It has established a good brand image across the globe. Its exceptional quality products have received lots of accolades over the years and it is one of those brands that have stood the test of time.

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Some of Honey Keeper’s best sellers at Amazon and other online stores include: smokers, beekeeper’s suit, and stainless steel honey extractors. Also, note that this is a brand that designs all its beekeeping equipment with the final user in mind.

For example, the honey extractor is a 4 frame unit and will therefore cater to the business of a beginner and grow with the business. It is longer lasting and food safe. The beekeeping suits are also tailored to prevent bees from sneaking in and are available in various sizes so as to fit different users.

  1. Goodland Bee Supply

Goodland Bee Supply is also another well known supplier of beekeeping equipment and tools. It is well renowned for its top notch products. It boasts of being a leader when it comes to supplying the best quality, best support, and best service in the beekeeping industry.

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Goodland is also a manufacturer and therefore tailor their products and services to meet their customers’ needs. Ideally, their wide variety of products primarily targets the beginner and professional beekeeper alike. They are a top seller of beekeeping supplies at Amazon and E-Bay.

Some of Goodland’s products include: complete beehive kits, stainless steel beehive smokers, gloves and j-hook hive tool, honey strainer and sieve, bee hive frame tools, foundations, honey extractors, gloves and scraper, decapping uncapping roller, bee keepers full suit with veil, brood boxes, and many others.

  1. Little Giant Farm & Ag

Little Giant is a brand that has been around for more than 70 years. It is a part of the larger Miller Manufacturing, one of the top suppliers of equipment and implements for farm and ranch community. The firm has embraced innovation and stayed ahead of its competitors over the years and that may explain why it has stayed on the top of the list.

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This company started the design and manufacture of beekeeping supplies in the year 2014. The products are mainly tailored for new beekeepers as well as established professionals. It offers a wide selection of beekeeping equipment and accessories that are compatible with existing equipment in the market.

  1. Humble Bee

Humble Bee is another top supplier of beekeeping supplies. It was established in 2014 and has created a good reputation with buyers globally. Humble Bee has an extensive experience in beekeeping and it donates 10% of all its profits to charities that are devoted to encouraging local beekeeping. They are also committed to promoting bee conservation efforts.

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One thing industry experts love most about Humble Bee’s products is that they are built to the highest safety standards. Moreover, they sell products that have been tested and used within their apiaries. They also offer a full refund if you are not satisfied with their products. All their products are covered by a 2-year warranty.

  1. Dadant & Sons

For a very long time, Dadant & Sons has been a leader in beginner beekeeping kits, equipment, and protective clothing. Other popular products by Dadant include bee smokers, honey extractors, and specialty hives among others. These are alongside Dadant’s traditional business selling extracted honey and beeswax.

Beekeepers get more than beekeeping supplies from Dadant. The 6th and 7th generation Dadants have diversified this company’s offerings to beekeepers. Also note that they have added learning material, beekeeping news and serve as a very useful information source for beekeepers. Coupled with the various beekeeping supplies and equipment they have, this has made Dadant a reliable companion to both beginner and experienced beekeepers.

  1. Natural Apiary

Their wide variety of supplies and clothing are ideally tailored for the seasoned beekeeper, full-time beekeeper, as well as the hobbyist who is in a quest to learn about keeping bees. One unique fact about this supplier is the fact that it is engaged in ongoing research and innovation all geared towards improving product quality.

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Its engaging and responsive customer support also makes it a sought-after supplier of beekeeping equipment and their comprehensive warranty and return policy are also ideal for buyers no wonder most of them choose to buy from them.

  1. The Bee Box

This is Sacramento’s newest destination for fresh, local honey, pollen, and beekeeping supplies. The Becker family has been taking care of bees since 1920 when all they had was five hives and a passion for honey. Now, they have over 12,000 hives, continuously doing their part to keep the bee population strong.

  1. Alaska Wildflower Honey

This is a beekeeping operation run by the Victors family in Big Lake, Alaska. They started about 20 years ago as hobby beekeepers and have since grown to support most of the beekeepers throughout the state of Alaska. Their bees forage in a location away from roadside pollution and other contaminants, ensuring that the result is pure honey from clean bees.

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In recent years they have concentrated on selling beekeeping supplies, distributing packages of bees, and educating local beekeepers. They are now the largest supplier of honeybees and beekeeping supplies in the state of Alaska.

  1. Olivarez Honey Bees

This company produces premium queens and package bees for beekeepers across the United States and Canada. A family-owned business with three generations of beekeeping expertise, they consider it a privilege to care for bees, and At OHB, it is all about the bees.

Like all living creatures, bees need expert care to thrive. At OHB, raising strong, healthy bees is their top priority. They raise Italian, Carniolan, and Saskatraz queens and bees in the heart of Northern California, Montana, and on Hawaii’s Big Island.

  1. Carson and Bees

Carson Elmer is a lifelong resident of Mendocino County. He grew up in Potter Valley and currently resides in Ukiah’s beautiful Westside neighborhood with his wife Elizabeth, their young daughter Mae, and their dog Bee. When he was just 10 years old, Carson was introduced to the art of beekeeping by a family friend.

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Since then he has worked with many prominent beekeepers around Northern California and has owned and operated Carson and Bees for the past decade. Carson and Bees is one of the very few options for Mendocino County honey, plus other hive products such as pollen, wax, and propolis. Carson’s bees also pollinate California’s almonds and Mendocino’s pears and apples.

  1. Bill’s Bees

Bill and Clyde struck an immediate friendship, sharing their experiences, interest, and love of bees. As their individual colonies continued to grow, and they came to enjoy working together, Bill and Clyde realized their unique styles complemented each other. So, in 2003, they began to consolidate their hives and beekeeping knowledge.

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In 2006, Bill became a full time beekeeper. With Clyde’s subsequent retirement from the City of Burbank, Bill’s Bees became fully incorporated in 2012. In 2008, Bill’s Bees was honored by the Los Angeles Magazine as the “Best Local Honey in Los Angeles.”

  1. F. Koehnen & Sons, Inc.

The Koehnen family has been beekeeping since 1907. Over the years they’ve grown to be one of the largest honey bee and queen producers in the world, maintaining their colonies in and around Glenn County, in the Northern Sacramento Valley. They also strive to bring the highest standards of quality and service to the beekeeping industry.

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Typically they will produce package bees for sale from April into mid-May, and queens from April into early summer, depending upon the season. Their queen supplies, such as the California Mini Queencage, are available year-round and produced at their headquarters.

  1. Bonnie Bee Company

After a couple of years of observing a neighbor’s bee colonies go through their seasonal cycles, Bonnie & Gary decided to join in on the fun and get their first hive.  They were spellbound immediately and had their second hive within the week.

Like many beekeepers, they found that beekeeping today is not for the faint of heart and lost one (50%) of their two hives over the first winter.  This pattern continued.  Bonnie wanted to know why and in 2009 started the annual Marin County Bee Census Survey.

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The Marin Beekeepers Association organized workshops and speakers to help work toward this goal through education.  Individual beekeepers started raising queens and sharing splits from survivor colonies.

In 2011, Bonnie & Gary Morse decided it was time to more aggressively pursue the goal of closing this gap and started Bonnie Bee & Company.    The company is committed to providing a local source for bees and reliable support (through classes, private lessons and hive management) for area beekeepers.

  1. Stonewall Apiary

Stonewall Apiary is a family-owned apiary based in Hanover, Connecticut. They are known to keep approximately 350 honeybee colonies in the eastern Connecticut area. They focus on the health of their bees, knowing that healthy honeybees are better producers than unhealthy ones.

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They sell honey, creamed honey, comb honey, and chunk honey in various sizes. In addition, they also have honey and beeswax products such as honey butter, beeswax candles, beeswax wood polish, and an exfoliating honey sugar scrub.

  1. Rossman Apiaries

Back in 1936 Mr. J. G. Rossman, known as “Mr. Joe”, began by helping a nearby beekeeper, gaining knowledge and experience about bees. Mr. Joe formed a partnership, Rossman & Long, with a gentleman from Ohio who brought his bees each year to winter in South Georgia and supplied customers in the northern states with packaged bees and queens for use in the production of honey.

In 1952 the partnership was cut and the business became known as Rossman Apiaries. In the late sixties, the company was incorporated by Fred and Phillip Rossman. Mr. Joe has since passed away, and Phillip has retired. Fred and his wife Ann now own and operate the business. In 1987 they expanded to the manufacturing and selling of bee supplies.

  1. Betterbee

This company stocks an impressive inventory of beekeeping supplies including hives, live bees (for pick-up only), and harvesting and processing equipment. However, Betterbee’s popularity becomes truly evident in its selection of custom honey labels, containers, and supplies for making candles, soap, and skincare.

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In addition to a full selection of harvesting and processing equipment, customers can choose from over 20 labels (with custom options available), as well as plastic and glass honey containers, caps, lids, and comb honey containers. Betterbee also boasts an impressive selection of candle molds, wicking, and packaging, plus other candle making tools and supplies.

Beekeeping can be a tremendously satisfying hobby and addition to your backyard—but it also requires research and equipment. Many of the best bee supply companies offer online resources and beginner kits to help you get started.