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These 2024 packages each are an artificial swarm of bees, consisting of 3 Pounds of fresh bees (roughly 10,000) and a young, mated Russian Queen from a certified Russian Honey Bee Breeder Association breeder, raised on Treatment-Free comb. 

Packages are cheaper than NUCs, and may be placed in any type of hive.




  • Not shipped and no shipping available - pickup only in Driftwood, TX
  • Purchase is based on a pre-order basis while supplies last
  • We recommend purchasing early as supply is limited and demand very high
  • Pickup is currently scheduled to take place on April 12 or April 13, 2024
  • Specific pickup instructions and exact pickup address will be sent about a week prior to pick up for exact pickup date/time



  • 50% cancellation fee until April 1st  (50% refund)
  • No refunds after April 1st
  • Packages are perishable, those not picked up within the assigned pickup window on the scheduled pickup day will be forfeited with no refunds.
  • If you no longer want the bees you ordered after April 1st or cannot come and pick them up on April 12th, you may sell or transfer them to someone else, or have someone else pick them up for you. Just have them come at pickup day with your printed order to retrieve it.




  • To become a truly proficient beekeeper, increase your beekeeping knowledge and your bees' chances of survival, consider one of our programs taught by Les Crowder himself and Nathalie B.:

     - our comprehensive Beekeeping Apprenticeship at

     - our intensive Beekeeping Workshops at

  • To build your own full size hive to host these bees as they grow into a larger, fully established colony, consider using our FREE Les Crowder Top-Bar hive plans at
  • We also sell hive kits and assembled hives at
  • Top-Bar Hives are much cheaper and easier to manage than other hives





Certification by the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association, Inc. (RHBA)

  • To become a certified breeder for the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association, members must annually demonstrate their qualifications by producing queens from designated lines in isolated mating yards.  
  • These mating yards must be stocked with sufficient numbers of appropriate drone source colonies.  
  • Line queens must be produced in sufficient numbers so that a large number of colonies started with these queens can be monitored for further selection and additional queens can be shipped to fellow members to lead drone source colonies and also so that the lines can be evaluated by the entire membership.
  • Once all data is collected and evaluated at the end of a monitoring period emerging workers from the most highly rated colonies are tested by the USDA-ARS Honey Bee  Genetics and Physiology Lab in Baton Rouge, LA for genetic purity.


Selection Information

  • Certified Russian Bees are selected for varroa mite resistance and honey production
  • They are screened for tracheal mites and nosema
  • They are tested for hardiness, reliability and survivability


Mechanisms of Resistance

A complimentary combination of various resistance mechanisms and behavioral strategies give Russian honey bees their strong resistance to varroa mites and their great resilience and wintering ability.  

Listed below are brief descriptions of some of these mechanisms and behaviors and how they compliment each other:

  • When dead mites are collected from Russian colonies and other domestic stock, those collected from Russian colonies exhibit a higher proportion of missing/damaged appendages and damaged exoskeletons.  Observations have been recorded of Russian bees ‘biting’ varroa mites, inflicting this damage.  Let’s refer to this as Varroa Sensitive Grooming, or VSG.
  • Relative to the general domestic population, Russian honey bees exhibit a high level of Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH): they can detect that brood cells contain reproducing female varroa mites, they uncap a high percentage of those cells and eliminate most of the mites thus exposed.
  • Relative to other domestic stock, in Russian honey bee colonies a much higher proportion of varroa mites are found on adult bees rather than reproducing in the colonies brood.  This slows Mite Population Growth (MPG).  Simultaneously, this increases the efficacy of Russian honey bees VSG trait as a higher proportion of the colonies mites are exposed to that behavior.
  • Though the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association does not select for hygienic behavior, Russian honey bees exhibit a high level of hygienic behavior.  When compared with other stocks in multiple tests (removal of freeze killed brood) over time, these bees have exhibited excellent hygienic response.
  • Relative to other domestic stock, Russian honey bees are frugal, when appropriate, in brood rearing.  They are very resource driven regarding brood production.  Accordingly, in the beginning of the season they rear minimum brood until significant pollen and nectar are available to them.  Brood rearing is again minimized or ceases altogether when annual pollen and nectar flows end or during periods of dearth.  This shortens the total time of brood rearing.  Shorter total brood rearing time translates into less MPG as well as an increased period that the mites decline due to VSG. Russian honey bees frugality also serves to preserve the colonies stores.  Russian honey bees balance this frugality in brood rearing with extremely rapid population expansion in order to take maximum advantage of good honey flows.


Keepers of Russian honey bees have noted that during dearths and during the ‘off season’ they are the quietest bees we have ever worked with.  The presumption is that this is a part of the reason that they winter so well; by preserving stores as well as by preserving the individual bees resilience/longevity.


Out of Stock

    First Come, First Served.

    Order today to reserve your bees for Spring 2024 pickup in Driftwood, TX.



    • While Packages are cheaper, they are trickier to install get started without sufficient experience, and are better recommended for existing beekeepers with comb to get them started or colonies to boost them.
    • Unlike NUCs, they will need weekly feeding until established
    • Without some comb or brood, they have a tendancy to leave new boxes altogether (abscond), and/or have a much harder time building up in time for their first Winter.
    • As such, if you are a first time beekeeper, you might be interested in our Top-Bar NUCs instead (established existing baby colonies that come with their own comb, brood and food already built up - no queen release required, no absconds at installation, very low to no feeding requirements, simply transfer the combs into the hive).
    • The additional expense for NUCs is well worth it for 1st year beekeepers. 
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