Getting started with bumble bees


Introducing live bumble bees to your garden is exciting, and will instantly increase pollination of nearby fruit trees, flowers and vegetable plots - bringing with it plenty of colour and fresh produce benefits.

The live colony will arrive as a single hive. They have recyclable plastic hive components, and an outer cardboard box for added protection. The hives are approximately 300mm x 300mm, and fit perfectly inside the Bumble Bee Abode.

 What do I do when my live colony arrives?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 ...

  1. If you haven’t already, simply purchase a Live Colony Redeemable Card, and go to to redeem your cardboard hive. Enter your preferred delivery address and your bees will be dispatched overnight between Monday and Thursday. Friday orders will be dispatched the following Monday, to ensure the bees aren’t left unattended at a courier depot for days on end.
  2. Accompanying your Bumble Bee Abode, the cardboard hive will slot nicely inside -with the Abode designed to be a more aesthetically pleasing option in your garden.
  3. Locate a suitable site for the Abode, preferably among bushes, away from prevailing winds and raised slightly off the ground. This will ensure the Abode remains dry. It is also important to ensure there is clear space immediately in front of the Abode for easy exit and entry, allowing the bumble bees to forage close to home.

 Initial setup

For initial set-up, open the flight hole no sooner than one after placing the hive outdoors, and not immediately before dusk. If late in the day, it may be worth waiting until the next morning.

To do this, simply slide the plastic slider to ensure the IN/OUT hole is open.

 What is a live bumble bee colony?

The live bumble bee colony is a ready-made option for gardeners to introduce instant pollination to their garden. Once the colony has been redeemed on the BeeGAP dashboard, your live colony will generally be shipped out by overnight courier (with rural addresses possibly taking an extra day).

The live colony comes complete with a healthy queen and a minimum of 50-60 worker bees, all fully self-contained in a cardboard hive. The colony will include a small amount of nectar to keep the bees fed during transit. The Bumble Bee Abode has been specifically designed to accommodate this hive, providing a compact and aesthetically pleasing addition to your garden.

The live colony will potentially last between eight to twelve weeks, in line with their natural life cycle. At the completion of that cycle, the queen will produce more queens and they will all fly out of that colony in search for suitable nesting habitats. And that’s where your Bumble Bee Nesting Boxes come into play . . . providing these boxes around your garden will increase the chances of these bees taking up residence in your garden and hopefully elongating that cycle by having a suitable habitat.

Bumble bee live colony

 What should I do when I receive my live bumble bee colony?

Once your box arrives, there will be full instructions within. However, simply put, place the cardboard hive into your abode, leave it a few hours to settle and then move the slider to open access. Before you know it, your bumble bees will be out pollinating your flowers, fruit trees and vegetable plots.

Due to the critical survival of these live colonies, it’s important to note the cardboard hives will not be dispatched on Friday to ensure the bees are not sitting in transit for any lengthy periods of time, or sitting idle at freight depots.