Where to get bees

There are several ways to get your first colony of bees. Bees can vary in temperament so it is important you get your first colony from a reputable source.

Local beekeepers

Local beekeepers can provide bees which will be well adapted to the area and a responsible beekeeper should provide an undertaking that the bees are reasonable to handle and free from disease.

Commercial suppliers

As an alternative, commercial breeders and equipment suppliers select for yield and docility, and will take care to ensure that colonies they provide are free from disease. In either case, it is recommended that you start with a ‘nucleus’ which is a small colony with 5 or 6 frames of bees. Because it is small, there are less bees and it is easier to manage. As it grows during the season, so should your confidence.


If you are offered a swarm to start beekeeping then you should treat them with caution. Swarms can carry disease and may have poor temperament.