Discovered all manner of groovy places and food spots. Had a lovely trip back through the Forgotten World Highway. Just got out of that when, poof! Radiator hose split. And, in the manner of the country, discovered some lovely people who were all keen on offering all sorts of useful help - off to find the local mechanic, water for the radiator, a bed to stay in should that be required. Just amazing and great.
And...in the serendipitousness of things, they were interested in getting started with bees. So here are our tips on how to buy bees and what to do next.
1. The best time to buy is probably now, or soonish. Don't wait till spring, because you will have all winter to get the hang of it and build up your hive, so you can get more honey.
2. TradeMe is a good place to buy hives.
3. You should make sure the seller is DECA registered, which everyone is required to be by law. This means they will be abiding by the law for important things like American Foul Brood treatment and varroa. And your bees should then be pest free.
4. Inspect before you commit. This is the tricky bit. You are looking to see if the bees are healthy - they should smell good, look fully formed - no stunted wings etc, be busy. But if you have never seen inside a hive before, how will you know? Take someone experienced with you. See 5.
5. Join a local bee keeping group, there are quite a few around. So I googled 'Auckland beekeepers' and came up with this one
Auckland BeeKeepers Club
but you could do the same with your area.
6. I follow Backyard BeeKeeping NZ facebook group, always useful advice for newbies, and you can post a 'Help!' too whenever you are stuck. Both these types of groups might be a source of someone to come with you to inspect.
7. Carry your bees home in the dark, they will all be snug in the hive then. Block up the entrance way before you leave. Tie the hive on well to your trailer. Don't put your hive inside your car! Bees do escape.
8. When you get home, put your bees somewhere where they will get early morning sun, out of the wind if possible, and is flat and easy to access - you want to be able to check on them often.
9. Register yourself with DECA, and do the training.
10. Then you need to buy a book on beekeeping for beginners and get going!