Last year I ordered bees from Ruth and John Seaborn (Wolf Creek). Because of problems with the shipping, I never was able to receive the bees - so I don't have personal experience with their bees (although their reputation is good).
What I do have experience with is their customer service and attitude. Ruth and John (in my experience) are GREAT people to do business with. When it became clear that the only way to get the bees to me was to VASTLY increase the agreed upon amount for shipping, Ruth and John refunded me in full.
They didn't have to do that - they could have held me to our contract (that is, my agreement to purchase bees), especially since this was already late April, the bees had been shaken and the packages already made.
Instead, they took the packages back and made things right with me. Additionally, prior to these unforeseen problems - I spent many hours on the phone talking to Ruth and John about small cell bees, strategies and beekeeping in general. They were very generous with their time and experience.
I bought three packages from them last year and I am picking up ten this year.
John met me along I 40 with my packages and we have talked several times.
They are great people.
I will be doing more business with them.
I got 2 packages last April from John and have really good luck with them. John is very helpful and both packages have developed strong hives. The bees are extremly gentle and non agressive. I talked with John last week and plan on ordering more bees from him in January.
I will be getting 3 packages from them this spring. They are super nice people to talk to. They have no problems spending time with you on the phone to make sure all of your questions are answered. I just hope I dont foul up and kill the bees.
Dan I think it is a pickup service, others could tell you if different.
Here is a quote from the website.
Our stock is derived from the wild feral stock of the Duck River Basin. We add a little Russian genetics, so that the bees will fly at 38 degrees if the sun is shining and the wind is not blowing. Some Italian genetics are added for honey production. The gentleness of the bees is acheived from the addition of Carniolan genetics. The result is a gentle bee that is a good honey producer.
When I picked up some Nucs in July, Mr. Seaborne just walked out with a smoker, no hat, veil or gloves, in a white T-shirt, shorts and sneakers. Opened hives, shook, boxed and we left. It was a magical experience for a new beekeeper to stand with "swarms" of bees around you, and not one really bothered us.
We wouldn't order from anyone else. We started with them, great product, bees and people. They answer all questions and the service is great. Love the fact that they are organic.... Highly recommended....
We are really blessed to have John and Ruth in our bee club in Nashville. In spite of being almost an hour away, they give unstintingly of their time and knowledge and are always willing to take the time to answer your questions. It's so great to be able to buy small cell natural feral stock bees from great people and have successful natural beekeepers as club mentors!
I bought two packages from them last year and put them on small cell foundation. Neither package would draw out the small cell and only drew out a couple of foundationless frames. Of course our weather in Kansas was brutal last season but the bees in general did more poorly than local swarms or nucs. They didn't build up at all this spring and I finally combined them with more active hives.
I fell for their claims on their website,, locally raised queens,, gentle stock,, I ordered five packages,, when I arrived a day early, was told John was out shaking,,, the next day ,, I arrived just before John drove in with a truck and trailer full of packages....that he had driven from Georgia,, I felt like a victim of a fraud..... when I got home and two out of five queens died after installation, it was nearly impossible to contact them,, I ended up buying replacement queens from elsewhere.. I won't be buying from them again.
I for one am very unhappy with them. I ordered 5 packages from them. After I sent my check, they would never respond to any e-mails I sent including questions re. shipping. We waited a week after supposed ship date and then e-mailed and nothing. Finally phoned and they said sorry, they decided not to ship for 2 more weeks. So waited and nothing. Phoned and they said they should be overnight. 3 days later phoned and they said they had no idea why whoever we talked to said overnight, but should be 7-10 days. Upon arrival half the bees in one package were dead and the queen was dead in two packages. We phoned immediately and she said they would send queens the next day. 5 days later we called and they said they did not have time to ship queens that week. So they ship within 3 weeks. Here we are June 20th and still no queens, I have sent 6 e-mails and phoned 3 times and nothing. Of the 5 I bought, 1 is very strong, one has only drawn 4 frames, one is disappearing and 2 are dead (they have done nothing after the queens were dead).
I fully expect a refund on at least one of the hives as they never fulfilled their obligation.
Another big thumbs down. Put in my deposit for 20 nucs a few years ago. Drove the 700 miles out there and he only had maybe half that. I say maybe because his "nucs" were 4 medium frames. Many did not have laying queens. I should have said forget it, but I had driven all that way and needed some bees. Of the 20, only 5 made it to the next year, and I combined those hives. He got his bees from Georgia (fatbeeman) in exchange for working in his yard (Don is pushing 80 I think). I assume this is still the arrangement after reading simplynaturals thread. Buddy of mine just bought two packages before speaking to me last month. One arrived dead, and the other is weak. There are more reputable and better suppliers out there. Had good experiences with Koehnen and Bweaver.
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