It will look much like the one in the picture. The package will contain roughly 3 pounds of honey bees. That's approximately 10,000 honeybees, enough to get a brand new hive off to a good start. The package will also contain a food source, and a queen bee. The queen bee will be contained in a small cage to keep her separate from the bees in the package while they travel. There will also be several "attendant bees" in the cage with her.
Gold Star Honeybees are shipped USPS Priority Mail. They will only ship via ground transportation because the USPS prohibits air transportation. Each 3# package of honey bees is insured for your full purchase price. They also ship “Hold for pickup” - and the post office will have your phone number. So be ready for a phone call from your post office asking you to "Come and get your bees!"
The USPS has a lot of experience shipping live bees. They average about a 95% success rate in getting the honey bees to you safely. Even when we ship cross-country. And yes, even when they are in transit across the weekend. We confess that we had some concerns after seeing some of the issues the USPS experienced during 2020 - but after discussing those concerns with our customer support rep, we feel confident that they will be able to maintain that success rate.
Here's an up-close and personal video, taking you step by step through the opening of the package and the shaking of the bees into your hive.
This is why we insure your bees. Occasionally something goes wrong. In the event a package of bees arrives damaged, or with more than 1” of dead bees on the bottom, or if the queen bee is dead – then you, the purchaser are able to file a claim online with the USPS and to request reimbursement for the purchase price. Be sure to review our policies concerning your bee order here. Gold Star Honeybees cannot/will not file any claims. But we CAN provide copies of your purchase paperwork if you can't find yours, so reach out.
Bee hives need to be started at about the same time as the honeybees' food sources begin to bloom in your area. So choose a date that's close to or just after the average last frost date in your area. Not sure when the average last frost date is where you live? Visit the Farmer's Almanac website to learn more.