• 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 nuc deposit becomes non-refundable other than the portion paid for the nuc boxes.

  • What kind of box do the nucs come in and is there a deposit to pay?

    When you put a deposit down on a spring nuc you will have the option to choose from either a corrugated plastic EZ nuc box or a reusable plywood nuc box.  The  reusable plywood boxes require a fully refundable deposit of $25 which you get back when you return the nuc box, so this option may be more suitable for customers who live close.  The EZ nuc option is a non refundable payment but is yours to keep.  They will be in used condition when you get your nuc because the bees have been living in them for a while at that point.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 $55 irrespective of how many queens are ordered.

  • Do I have to take a ferry to Salt Spring Island to pick up my nucs or queens?

    Delivery is not included in the price of nucs or queens but there may be other options other than picking them up on Salt Spring Island.

    We will be setting up a pick up time and place in Crofton and Saanich, on Vancouver Island, and will be contacting customers closer to the time with specifics.  Larger orders or group orders from the BC mainland or western Canada please contact me to discuss transport options.

  • Do you mark your queens and clip their wing?

    Queens are marked with a colored dot on their thorax indicating the year they got mated.  In the case of young wintered queens for early nuc sales, the mark is a bit misleading because the dot would be the color of the previous year even though the queen has not been through a full spring buildup so is a younger than the dot would suggest.  There is no charge for marking queens and if you would prefer an unmarked queen please let us know in advance.

    The queens we sell never have a wing clipped.

  • What size frames are included with nucs?

    Nucs come with full size standard frames, otherwise known as deep frames.  They are typically less than 4 years old and mostly incorporate plastic foundation in a well made wooden frame.

  • How do early nucs different from later nucs?

    The biggest differences are that early nucs come with a proven overwintered queen that has never gone through a spring buildup and that they are available prior to May 7th.  Later nucs are mated in the same year as they are sold.