Bee Colonies

23 January Update: Mid-summer sale! Get an 8 or 10-frame colony for the same price as a 4-Frame Nucleus colony.

Are you ready to host your own hives and enjoy the highs and lows of keeping bees? I can help!

I generally have bee colonies available for sale.

4-Frame nucleus colonies as shown below are usually created by taking frames (with around 4,000 – 8,000 bees) from established colonies and adding a queen bee. They will grow to fill an 8 or 10 frame brood box in a month or two in the summer and then a honey super can be added above a queen excluder.

I also sell established colonies (8 or 10 frames). This is a good option later in the season if you want a larger honey harvest.

Most of my queens come from a professional queen breeder: The Hannahbee, in Dubbo NSW. Their queens consistently create friendly and productive bee colonies.

Bee colony in a box

Below is what a typical frame will look like. These frames have honey, nectar, pollen, eggs, larva, and capped brood. Having brood of all ages is important to maintain balance in the colony population. This is a major advantage of buying a nucleus colony versus “package bees” without any frames/combs.

frame of bees

I usually mark the queen with white paint:

photo of queen bee

Typically, buyers will come to my apiary (Huntley Cove, Neutral Bay, Mosman) and we transfer the frames into your hive. This is best done at dusk, so you get most of the bees as they return for the night. The hive is then secured with screws/tape/straps so it is safe to transport in your car. If you prefer, you can take my nucleus box and return it later, or buy the colony with the hive hardware.

I am using standard Langstroth frames (“deep” size). These will directly replace 4 frames in the lower box of a Flow Hive.

Colonies are guaranteed to be disease-free. I follow beekeeping best-practices to identify and prevent the spread of disease. Varroa is a concern, but I live well outside the Varroa hot-zone and will test the bees before delivery. Chalkbrood is readily visible on the frames and relatively easy to control by keeping hives high and dry. American Foulbrood is increasingly common in the Sydney area and has a long incubation period. If you were to get it within 6 months of purchasing a colony from me, I will refund the cost of the colony and pay for sterilization of your hardware by Steritech (labour & transport not included). I have never had to do this, but it is good to know what the “worst-case scenario” is.

There will often be a couple Small Hive Beetles in the colony, which is typical in Sydney. The beetles will ALWAYS need to be managed with traps. Even if the colony does not have any beetles when you receive it, they will soon…

4-Frame nucleus “nuc” colonies: $320

8-frame established colonies: $580 $320 (mid-summer special price)

Above prices are for the Queen, bees (up to 2,000/frame), and frames with brood/pollen/honey. The hive box/base/lid is NOT included in prices above.

A 4-frame nuc colony PLUS a 10-frame box/base/lid/roof plus 6 frames with foundation will be about $600. You will soon need to add a honey super to this…

In-person delivery can be arranged. This usually includes a short beekeeping lesson while I do the transfer with you. Figure $80/hour including my travel time from Neutral Bay.

Shipment of bees via AusPost within NSW/ACT can also be arranged if you have no other options. This is what the package will look like:

bees ready for postage

This is my standard nuc-box, with extra ventilation holes (screened with security mesh), and the lid screwed down. Extra cost is $50 for the modified nuc-box and $70 for postage and handling.

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