Please note: We have sold out of all packages and Nucs for the 2017 season.
Warm Colors Apiary we have been providing honeybees for the New England beekeeping community since 2000. Dan has made over fifty trips to insure bees are in the best possible condition when they arrive in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. Each trip has its own challenges, and experience has taught us to be flexible, expect planning to change, and the welfare of the bees always comes first.
It is not unusual to leave Georgia with temperatures pushing 90F, and to arrive home with temperatures at the freezing mark. Too much heat will dehydrate the bees, and too much cold and the cluster will struggle to retain heat. Extremes in temperature can result in bee losses during transportation. Knowing when to stop, when to provide water, and how to regulate temperature during travel are critical if the bees are to experience a minimum of stress.
The health of the bees begins with the package producer. We have worked with different suppliers of bees & queens since 2000, and we have developed long term relationships with those who have consistently provided the best packages. We purchase package bees and nucs from producers in Georgia, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Our suppliers are required to provide a “Certificate of Health” that is issued by their state Apiary Inspector. This year we are offering Italian, Carniolan, and Russian honeybees. The Bees go on sale after Thanksgiving, and we are usually sold out in February.
The package bees come with a mated queen and includes approximately 10-12,000 bees. Do not bother to weigh packages as any reference to weight is really about the cage size. Bees are shaken and funneled into the cage until they reach a pre-determined level; for example, ¾ full of bees. Bigger the cage = larger population of bees.
When bees are picked up, at Warm Colors, it is first come, first to pick your package. Plan to arrive early when temperatures are cool and the bees are clustered in the cage. This gives a perfect visual comparison to decide on the “heaviest” package. We will assist you, but you can pick from any available packages. Although it is not always convenient to make bee pick up a priority, it is better to collect them and get them into their hive while they are fresh and healthy. Time spent in a cage only adds to the stress of relocating the bees, and the result is a loss of bees. Plan to pick up as soon as your schedule allows.
Our nucs contain five deep frames. Three will have brood, two with honey and pollen. We can substitute medium frames if ordered early. A typical nuc will take seven weeks to grow to a size and be ready for pick up. Our queens are first year, and all brood within the nuc will represent the queen’s laying ability. We do not sell second year queens in our nucs as they are more likely to swarm, or require replacement. Our nucs have new (proven) queens, are free of disease, and will be ready for transfer to a ten-frame hive body. Before release to customers I check the nuc and mark the queen confirming it is ready.
- May nucs come from several RHBA certified members and queens represent release lines approved by the RHBA board of directors and ARS-Bee Lab.
- Carniolan and Italian queens can be purchased in nucs if pre-ordered in April.
Warm Colors Apiary will have nucs and queens raised in western Massachusetts available in late May or June.
Our policy has been to replace any queens found dead in their cage at no cost. You must call or email within 24 hours (after pickup), and return the caged queen when picking up the replacement. I will examine dead queens to determine possible cause of death. Queens found to be “drone layers” will be replaced at our cost, if reported within ten days of pick up date. We do not guarantee queens will be accepted as this is often the responsibility of the beekeeper’s experience and introduction method.
Warm Colors Apiary has Queens available from mid-April until August. Call 413-665-4513 and listen to our message, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm queens are available. We purchase queens from the best queen breeders we know, and raise our RHBA Russian queens for availability in June & July.
- Cordovan Italian Queens $35.00
- Carniolan Queens $35.00
- Russian Queens (from Russian Honeybee Breeders Association) $40.00
- Laying Queen on frame of brood with adhering worker bees $65.00 (June & July)
We prefer customers pick up queens at our home apiary in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. Queens spend less time in confinement, and proper introduction methods can be discussed – improving acceptance by their new colony.
We will ship (overnight) 10 or more queens in a battery box with insurance. We will not ship during extremes in temperatures, or if we do not think queens will arrive safely. Reimbursement for “dead on arrival” queens require filing an insurance claim with the post office.
Russian Honeybee Breeders Association (RHBA)
Warm Colors Apiary is the only source of “certified” Russian queens in New England. Dan is currently President of the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association, and our breeding lines have passed the RHBAs certification requirements for three consecutive years.
The certification process must meet standards decided by the RHBA board of directors and supported by the ARS-USDA Bee Lab in Baton Rouge, LA. Certified apiaries have demonstrated they can maintain the purity of genetics, improve mite tolerance, and comply with standards for breeding, evaluation, and testing of Russian stock. Member apiaries must re-certify breeding lines annually to maintain “certification” status. This includes DNA confirmation by the ARS Bee Lab.
Although there are many apiaries claiming to have pure Russian queens for sale, they should be viewed as “hybridized” stock. They may be perfectly good queens and may meet your expectations, but should not be compared with RHBA Russians. They are not RHBA queens, nor have they passed the rigors of selection required of all breeding queens approved by the RHBA. RHBA queens cannot be treated for mites or disease during their testing. All selected queens are mated to drones from other certified breeding lines. This is an important distinction that results in the RHBA program continuing to improve its breeding stock.
Hybridized Russians are mated with no control over the drone sources, and breeder stock has not met any purity standard for Russian breeders. This can result in a queen lacking breed characteristics, and queens with inconsistent behaviors. They may not represent the genetics bred into the RHBA lines. In some cases, this has created confusion regarding temperament, productivity, and honey production and RHBA queens.
The package order forms can be printed from the link below.
Please note: We have sold out of package bees & Nucs for the 2017 season.
I will refund orders cancelled before March 15, 2017. Cancellations after March 15, will be a 90% refund.
Pickup Dates may change if bee suppliers are not ready with bees & queens. I will provide updates on this website, when dates are confirmed. Please call 413-665-4513 one week before your assigned date and listen to the phone message – it will have specific instructions regarding times and dates. Pick up hours are 10AM – 5PM. Please notify Dan Conlon if you need to make special arrangements
- Italian Packages (Rossman Apiaries) – Friday April 28th & Saturday 29th – 10AM – 5PM. Note this is a new date. Delayed as a result of severe weather in Georgia.
- Carniolan Packages (Binnie Apiaries) – Saturday April 29th & Sunday April 30th – 10AM – 5PM.
- Russian Nucs (Coy Apiaries) – mid- May. Pick up by appointment. Warm Colors Nucs available in June.
Email us at email@example.com with any questions.