Package Bee Production

The term "package bees" is used for a number of young worker bees (usually approximately 1 kg) hived with a newly reared and mated queen; these bees together have the potential to develop into a honey-producing colony.

Package bees are normally produced at relatively low latitudes where spring comes early, and are sold at higher latitudes where it is difficult to keep colonies over the winter; many northern beekeepers find it more cost-effective to kill some or all of their colonies when they harvest the season's honey, and to buy package bees next spring. (If they overwinter no colonies, they can follow another occupation for 6 months or more; at least one beekeeper spends the Canadian winter beekeeping in New Zealand, where it is then summer.) The site where the packages are produced should be earlier weatherwise, by 2 months or more, than the site where the bees are used. A package bee industry is most likely to be viable where a single country stretches over a sufficient north-south distance (at least 1000 km, and up to 2000 or even 2500 km). But in New Zealand, package bees are produced at the end of the bees' active season and sent by air to Canada, where the season is just starting.

Package bees are prepared as follows. First, all the bees are shaken off the combs of three or four colonies into a specially designed box, taking care that the queens are left behind. The bees are then poured through the "spout" of the box into package boxes, each standing on a weighing machine, until their weight is either 1 or 1.5 kg, as required. Each box is given a young mated queen in a cage, and a can of syrup with feeding holes. (Enough bees are flying around to return to their hives and keep the colonies functional.) For transport, the package boxes are fixed by battens in groups of three or four, slightly separated; they may travel 2400 km, and the truck needs special ventilation. Air transport, though possible, presents various difficulties.

Bee Keeping

Bee Keeping

Make money with honey How to be a Beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby or you can turn it into a lucrative business. The choice is yours. You need to know some basics to help you get started. The equipment needed to be a beekeeper. Where can you find the equipment you need? The best location for the hives. You can't just put bees in any spot. What needs to be considered when picking the location for your bees?

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment