If you buy bees from other vendors, insist on:
QUANTITY. Make sure you can COUNT the cocoons you are sold. They are too valuable to take someone's word for it! You should receive 25-40% female bees, which are the most valuable.
QUALITY. Request a statement that your bees have been checked for diseases and parasites and that all affected cocoons have been removed. Also important are size of the cocoons and how they have been stored (refrigeration since just after maturity is best). Learn to recognize healthy and unhealthy cocoons. We recommend the following book as a handy guide:
How to Manage the Blue Orchard Bee by Jordi Bosch and William Kemp. 2001. Order from: Sustainable Agriculture Network. National Agricultural Library. Beltsville, MD 20705-2351 OR you can download it free as a PDF file here.
PRICE. Prices vary, so shop carefully. But remember that it is unwise to substitute low price for high quality. Your bees are "seed stock" and will be the basis for your future bee population. Start out right, it will be worth the cost.
GUARANTEE. If the vendor is not willing to guarantee the bees, look elsewhere. (This means quantity and quality as described above. Performance of the bees once you release them depends to a great extent on environmental conditions and on how YOU treat them, so this can not be guaranteed.)
Feel free to contact us for advice! Come back next year when we will have bees for you! Order now to lock in this year's price!