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Purchasing queens and package bees



Division of Plant Industry – Apiculture

8995 East Main Street

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399




Invariably beekeepers always ask the question, ‘Where do I purchase bees?” Until recently it was recognized that purchases from queen and bee producers were satisfactory, if they supplied you with productive bees at the time requested. However, this opinion has changed drastically with the introduction of Varroa and Tracheal mites, and Africanized honey bees. It is now time for beekeepers to ask some specific questions regarding the bees they plan to purchase.

The following are some possible questions to ask.

  1. Have the colonies in your operation been regularly inspected by your state apiary inspector? (Proof of inspection results may be available.)
  2. Have your colonies been inspected for Varroa and Tracheal mites and what were the findings?
  3. If mite positive, are controls used?   (“Apistan” for the control of Varroa mites; “Menthol” for the control of Tracheal mites.)
  4. Are “Apistan” package bee strips used in the packages?
  5. Do your queens have “Apistan” Queen tabs in the shipping cages? (These strips have proven to be an excellent control for Varroa.)

Being inquisitive by asking a few simple questions may help avoid future problems. The adage “Let the buyer beware” is now especially true for beekeepers.



Prepared by: Gordon Rudloff
State Apiarist
Ohio Department of Agriculture