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Package Bees for Sale

As a beekeeping business located on the border of MN and WI, Kinnickinnic Bees is located within 30 minutes of the Minneapolis/ St. Paul making package bee pickup simple. But if your not within driving distance of River Falls, WI, then we can ship you the bees anywhere in the Midwest.

2024 Honey Bees

Why We Think Our Bee Packages are the Best.

Our bee packages have mite-resistant characteristics and come from breeder queens from Latshaw Apiaries who focus on hygienic behavior, gentle temperament, and good honey production. The result is durable queens that have lasted into their 5th year (Read that again) while doing so with no treatment (That's Right!). It is not only a good choice for backyard beekeepers but also for your bee business.

The Midwest is one of the coldest places in the United States, making it a location to challenge even the most experienced beekeeper. That's why buying bee packages with cold weather hardy honey bees is so important. Winter temperatures can get below zero the winter, and summers can easily blast 100ºF, so it's important that package bees for sale are up for the task to make your backyard hive or small commercial operation successful. An insulated hive wouldn't hurt either, in any case. 😉

Spring 2024 Bee Sales

All of Our 2024 Bees for Sale have Mite Resistant Qualities.

2024 Package Honey Bees and Nucs for Sale- Back for this year are our package bees. We will offer Carniolan & Italian bee packages in 2 lb. and 3 lb. sizes. Our package bees are sourced from beekeepers who raise hygienic characteristics and focus on gentle honey-producing bees. 

We have been using this same stock to grow our own cold-hardy hygienic, treatment-free bees, and we will use the same stock this year to increase our hive numbers and participate in our future breeder stock. 

We will ship to IA, IL, IN, OH, MI, MO, MN, SD, and WI  and have local delivery. We prefer you pick it up if possible, and we currently have one pickup around River Falls, WI. All of our bees are pre-ordered only; once sold out, we will not have any additional bee packages in 2024.

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Types of Package Honey Bees

All of our 2023 packages and nucs are hybrid queens with a blend of Italian and Carniolan queen genetics from Latshaw Apriaries who breeds some of the highest quality queens that last into 3, 4, and 5 seasons of productivity. Besides the longevity being almost unheard of these days, many of their queens colonies are lasting that long without ever even seeing a treatment. Based out of OH they are also cold weather acclimated. 

 

What is a Hybrid?

There are two variations of hybrids available: Italian queens inseminated with Carniolan semen or Carniolan queens inseminated with Italian semen. The resulting daughter queens are half Italian and half Carniolan. The characteristics of the resulting hybrid daughter queens tend to favor the queen side of the cross.  These queens are real “workhorses” and are very popular among commercial beekeepers.  They combine many of the desirable qualities from each strain and work well as a dual-purpose bee for both honey production and pollination.  

Italian Honey Bee
Scientific Name: Apis Mellifera Liguistica

Italian Worker Honey Bee

Named after its location of origin, the Italian honey be or Apis M. Liguistica is thought to originate from a region South of the Alps, and North of Sicily in Italy.

 

Italian Honey Bee Behavior

The Italian bee is the most popular and widely used for commercial and backyard beekeeping. This sub species of Apis Mellifera is popular due to its adaptability and general workability.

 

In the book Breeding the HoneyBee- it states

“From the commercial and breeding point of view the value of the Liguistica lies in a happy synthesis of a great number of good characteristics. Among these we must mention industry, gentleness, fertility, reluctance to swarm, zeal for building comb, white honey-capping, a willingness to enter supers, cleanliness, resistance to disease, and the tendency to collect flower honey rather than honey dew.”

The Italian honey bee is also very selective in its nectar sources when able and are good at ripening nectar into honey over some of the other sub species.

 

Advantages of Italian Honey Bees
  1. The bees are good at ripening nectar into honey and demonstrate high sucrose responsiveness.

  2. They typically do not use much propolis when compared to sub species such as the Caucasian honey bee sub species.

  3. Honey capping is white, which is preferred among beekeepers that sell raw honey comb.

  4. Because beekeepers have a higher preference for the Italian, availability of queens and bees are good, with lower costs than some of the other sub species.

  5. Do not have as high of a swarming tendency as other sub species.

  6. Good wintering ability.

  7. Will build up fast in the Spring.

  8. Known as a fairly gentle honey bee breed and good for moderate to new beekeepers.

  9. Has a fairly good disease resistant or known to demonstrate fairly good hygienic behaviors.

  10. Range of foraging distance is smaller vs. Carnica (better for single sourcing raw honey).

Disadvantages of the Italian Honey Bee
  1. Will go through a lot of winter stores.

  2. Has a tendency to have a looser winter cluster. They perform better in insulated bee hives.

  3. The Italian honey bee is more prone to drifting and robbing.

  4. Does not demonstrate good synchronous brood patterning to nectar flow.

  5. Takes longer to build up Spring colony population vs. other sub species. Could be a disadvantage over sub species like Carneolan.

  6. Range of foraging distance is smaller vs. Carnica (worse for local nectar dearths).

Carniolan Honey Bee
Scientific Name: Apis Mellifera Carnica

Worker Carniolan Honey Bee

Another subspecies of Apis Mellifera (Western Honey Bee), the Carniolan honey bee also know as Apis M. Carnica is closely related to Apis M. Lingustica or the Italian. They are also from a very similar region, the Carniolan honey bee originated from the temperate Central European climate region, that ranged from the Alps to the Carpaths.

 

Behavior of Carniolan Honey Bees

Carniolan bees are a favored bee among beekeepers in commercial apiaries as well as backyard bee hives for several reasons, as they are quick to expand colony numbers in the Spring. But for this reason they can also have swarming tendencies. They are great at defending their bee hive from pests and robbers, but are also known for their extremely gentle behavior towards beekeepers. This sub species of honey bees is also resistant to some diseases and parasites that can debilitate some hives of other subspecies.

 

The appearance of a Carniolan bee is similar in size to that of an Italian bee but has a distinguished dusky brown-grey color with stripes of a lighter brown color. Because of this the Carniolan can also be know as the “grey bee”. Like the Caucasian bee, the Carniolan has a very long tongue (proboscis) which allows them to have excellent foraging habits.

 

Advantages of Carniolan Honey Bees
  1. Known as a very gentle bee species and non-aggressive honey bee.

  2. Do well in populated areas or in neighborhoods.

  3. Low drifting between other hives.

  4. Medium to low robbing tendencies.

  5. Good bee in cold climates as they can overwinter with smaller colonies than others such as the Caucasian bee.

  6. The amount of honey stores the bees go through is low, helping in their robustness in longer winters.

  7. The Carniolan has a fast “rhythm” with nectar flow, so they ramp up brood production quick with high nectar flows and shut down brood production quickly when nectar flow is low.

  8. They do not use much propolis and spend that time foraging.

  9. Higher resistance to brood diseases that some other bee species do not.

  10. Tendency to forage earlier and later in the day, as well as on wet cool days.

  11. Some studies have shown up to a 12% higher worker life than some other honey bee sub species.

Disadvantages of the Carniolan Honey Bee
  1. Queen is difficult to locate as she is closer in size and color to the worker bees.

  2. Does not do as well in hot summer weather, making it a better colder climate bee.

  3. Because the Carniolan has strong early season brood production, this sub species has a higher tendency to swarm do too quick overcrowding.

Pickup

The bees will be available for pickup in River Falls, WI the month of April, weather dependent.

 

The exact location will be disclosed closer to the date, and we will offer only a 2-day window for pickup. If dates do not work, we may be able to schedule something different but only on a case by case situation.  

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States we Ship Bee Packages

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Ohio Bee Packages for Sale

Wisconsin Bee Packages for Sale

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