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Live Honeybees Now Available for Order
By Runnings
1/8/2018 12:00:00 AM

bees at Runnings
Live Honeybees Now Available for order from Runnings

Visit your local Runnings store to order Italian Bees!

Each package includes cage, feeder can, queen, and approximately 3 pounds of bees. The Bees and Queen are Italian and will come from the state of Georgia. Bees are only available for delivery to your local US Post Office in the following states: Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont.

Orders must be placed in store by February 28th. Payment is required at time of order.

How many bees are in a package?

Approximately 10,000 worker bees (3 lbs.) and one marked queen are in each package. It is common to experience some loss of bees during the shipping process. This loss can be up to 1,000 bees resulting in 1-1 ½” of dead bees on the bottom of the package.

General Information, Instructions and FAQ’s

When will my bees ship?

  • If you live in MN, IA, SD or ND your package will ship on April 21st, 2018 and arrive at your post office for pick up a few days later
  • If you live in NY, NH, or VT your pack will ship on May 5th, 2018 and arrive at your post office for pick up a few days later

The bees will ship direct to you from Kelley Beekeeping in Clarkson, Kentucky via U.S. Mail Priority Ground to the address you provided on the order form at time of purchase in store. The bees will arrive at your local post office within a couple of days of shipment, depending on your location. One week prior to your ship date, notify your Post Master that you expect a shipment of Live Bees to arrive in a couple of days. Your local post office can then contact you when the bees arrive and you will need to pick up the package from the post office if they will not deliver to your address. Please make arrangements with your Post Master to ensure a timely delivery/pickup for the safety of your bees health.

Kelley Beekeeping will make every effort to make the shipment as scheduled. Bees are live animals, and sometimes there are conditions (weather, for example) that make it unsafe for shipping the bees. If conditions become unfavorable and we cannot ship within seven (7) days of the scheduled shipping date, you will be contacted via the information you provide at time of your order.

What should I do while I am waiting for my bees to arrive?

  • Because you have purchased live bees, it is assumed you have already checked your local laws and regulations to be sure you can keep bees on your property but if you haven’t, now is a good time to check.
  • Choose a location for your hive(s). Most experts agree a sunny location is best. It is also important to consider safety (Is it close to a path that people walk? Are there other animals chained or penned nearby who might be spooked or stung? Can the hive be easily knocked over? ) Convenient access should also be considered – the beekeeper will need to access the hives regularly. The hives should be somewhere that is easily accessible by a vehicle or cart that can help carry the full, heavy honey supers at harvest time. If possible, a location near a water source (creek, pond, etc.) would be ideal.
  • Prep your hive(s) by painting or staining (the exterior only – leave the interior unfinished). An exterior latex paint works best. Avoid dark colors like black or navy, as they will trap more heat in the summer. Have fun choosing bright colors or a fun design for your hive!
  • Choose your feeding method and have the feeders ready to go. Will you use a bucket feeder, entrance feeder or frame feeder?
  • A few days before your bees are scheduled to arrive, mix a batch of sugar water so you will have it on hand to load your bees and give them their first feeding. The sugar water should be a 50/50 mix of sugar and water, so be sure you have enough white table sugar on hand to make at least a couple of gallons of sugar water per hive.
  • Read about bees and beekeeping to learn as much as you can before your bees arrive!

Is my package damaged?

It is normal (unfortunately) to have up to 1½” of dead bees in the bottom of a package of bees. These bees are banged out of boxes and poured through funnels before the hazards of transport. Our supplier shakes more than 3 lbs. of bees into each package to cover expected loss in transit. We must be notified of any damages within 24 hours of receiving the damaged shipment.

If you receive a damaged package please call Kelley Beekeeping at 1-800-233-2899 to report a dead queen or request a replacement. Please do not call Runnings.

Packages on the left show a normal amount of dead bees (less than 1½”), which is not replaceable. The photos on the right show packages in which there is a level of dead bees that would warrant replacement. We must be notified of any damages within 24 hours of receiving the damaged shipment.

Care of the package on Arrival:

If weather conditions are poor when the package of bees arrives, you can hold the package for several days in a dark room or basement where the temperature is close to 50° F. You should feed the bees in the package by using a clean spray bottle to mist the screen lightly with a 50/50 mixture of sugar and water. If you do not do this, the sugar syrup in the can shipped with the package can go dry and your bees will starve. Bees die of heat quickly -- do not leave them in the sun or in a place that is hot.

Care and Installation of Package Bees

It is best to install the package in a hive in the later afternoon. This helps prevent drifting.

Three important points:

  1. Feed package bees heavily until the colony is well established – for at least the first few weeks after installation. Sugar and water mixed in a ratio of 1 part water to 1 part sugar, or high fructose corn syrup works well. Consider using a feeding stimulant like Honey B Healthy that is added to your sugar water.
  2. Keep entrances reduced to a small size until the colony is well established. This prevents robbing and conserves heat.
  3. Do not add supers or a second hive body until the bees have drawn out and cover 7 of the 10 frames.

You might also want to feed your bees pollen after installation. A pollen substitute is sold in stores!

For more information, please watch this video: “I Brought My Bees Home… Now What?”

Enjoy your bees!

Kelley Beekeeping Policies & Guarantees:

When you order live bees online, by phone, via email, in person, or by mail you agree to the following policies, contract terms, conditions, limitations and exceptions:

You agree that Package Bees and the risk of loss of the package and queen it contains become the responsibility of the customer at the time of delivery to the customer or customer's address.

Package Bees that are shipped within postal zones 1-4 are guaranteed to not have more than 1½” of dead bees (when spread evenly across the bottom of the package) upon delivery to customer or customer's address. Anything shipped past postal zone 4 is solely at the risk of the customer. You agree that you will not refuse shipment or attempt to recover the cost of your order if it arrives in poor condition. If shipment is refused, we will not replace dead or damaged package bees.

If a shipment arrives with all or nearly all of the bees dead or the package is damaged (with more than 1½” of dead bees spread evenly across the bottom) then you agree to contact us within 24 hours of receiving the damaged shipment or this guarantee is void. We DO NOT refund any money for bees that are damaged in shipping. Kelley Beekeeping will replace only once a package of bees that arrives with the majority of bees dead. We require notification in writing on U.S. Post Office on letterhead stating that the shipment arrived dead and/or photos of both the dead package bees and the shipping label before we will replace your package bees. There is no charge for the replacement or for shipping charges to send the replacement bees.

You understand that we do not guarantee that you will be able to successfully establish a colony or "hive" the package. You agree that you will not attempt to hold us responsible for whatever may happen to your package after it is delivered to you or for the survival or productivity of the hive that you may establish from the package. We do not refund any money for packages that do not survive after delivery.


If the package arrives and your queen is dead on arrival, but there are still live bees in the package, please still install the package and place into a hive with the dead queen in with the bees to hold them. Then please call Kelley Beekeeping at 1-800-233-2899 to report a dead queen and request a replacement. We will ship you a new queen. There is no charge for the replacement. You agree to keep the dead queen with the bees and install the surviving bees into a hive as soon as possible in the usual fashion.

For packages which are structurally damaged, but the bees are not completely dead, please install them into a hive as usual after you have taken pictures or received proof of damage on US Postal letterhead.

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