• How do you select for your queen's genetics?

    I take extensive records throughout the year and enter them into a spreadsheet which gives me a lot of information about the queens in my operation.  Information is collected about swarming, winter survival, natural disease resistance, brood production, wasp defense, honey production, and other aspects of queen performance.  Although all aspects of queen performance are considered, I focus mostly on rapid buildup and winter survival.  Click here for more details.

  • How much experience do you have with beekeeping and rearing queens?

    My name is Bruce Martens and I began beekeeping as a teenager with five hives more than 40 years ago when beekeeping was simple.  After taking a one year beekeeping course at Fairview college in Alberta, I worked for several commercial honey producers as well as a queen breeder in California. I also have had my own commercial beekeeping operation for many years with a focus on honey production.  I have produced queens for myself for many years but after moving to Saltspring Island, BC, Canada I have decided to focus entirely on nuc and queen production because of the favorable early spring climate.

  • Do you give refunds if I order queens or nucs and change my mind?

    You will receive a full refund if you change your mind about an order prior to February 15th.  After that date the 33% deposit becomes non-refundable.

  • Are your bees inspected prior to selling nucs and queens?

    Island Bees has an inspection by the provincial apiarist once a month during spring and summer to assure that the bees that you get have a less than one percent varroa mite infection rate.  They are also inspected for other diseases at the same time.

  • What if I don't have a PayPal account?

    You will be asked to pay via PayPal on the checkout page but you do not have to have a PayPal account or any knowledge of PayPal because you will be given an option to pay with your credit card.  If you have a large order or prefer not to use a credit card for some other reason, you can contact me to discuss payment options like an e-transfer.

  • Are there taxes on bees?

    Bees and queens are considered livestock and are tax exempt.

  • Can I get my queens shipped to me?

    You have the option of picking up queens locally or having them mailed via Canada Post. Typically your queens will arrive alive and healthy but Canada Post does not guarantee the time it takes for delivery, the conditions the queens are in during shipping, or if the queens will arrive in good condition.  That means if you choose to have queens shipped rather than picking them up yourself, you are accepting full responsibility for them from the moment Canada Post takes possession of them.  You will find an option to pick Canada Post delivery on the check out page and it is for a flat fee of $50 irrespective of how many queens are ordered. Please contact me if you have a large order or group order and we can discuss alternative delivery arrangements.