2018 sales update

We are sold out of bees for 2018!

We do have a selection of boxes, frames, and other supplies for your beekeeping needs!

Please see our online store for details.

•     •     •

Looking to host bees?

Thanks for your interest; our application process for 2018 is now closed. If you want to receive notice about 2019 hosting, please sign up for the mailing list (see sidebar); you can also drop us a line with any specific questions. Thanks!

Honey Bee Nucs ready 3/26/16


Urban Bee Company is offering a limited number of 5-frame nucleus colonies for sale. The bees are scheduled to be ready for pick up at our Capitol Hill location in Seattle on Saturday March 26.

UPDATE 3/25: Our nucs described below are SOLD OUT. If you want to be on the WAIT LIST, please inquire in case our inventory changes, and in case we have spring splits available in the coming weeks.

Order now by contacting us with your request. Price is $200 plus tax, payable in advance.



4035703_origThese bees started in the almond orchards in California, then will move to the fruit orchards in eastern Washington. They are a hybrid Carniolan/Italian breed that does well in the Pacific Northwest. Each nuc is assembled in Eastern Washington from the parent colonies the week of delivery and includes a field-bred queen.

Each colony comes in a waxed cardboard box and contains four wooden frames of bees and brood, and one more frame with bees and honey. The queen is guaranteed to be a laying queen in the colony or we will replace it.



4343315The best way to increase colonies is by raising your own nucs or by picking up swarms starting in April and May. Raising your own might not be possible, however, and relying on swarms is by nature unpredictable. Supply of whole colonies for sale can be limited and in any case, expensive.

Over the years we have tested bees from many sources and configurations, from packages to nucs from different suppliers. These are the best alternative we can find from the commercial operations, and we have used them successfully in our own operation. We pick them up ourselves; rather than a 14+ hour drive from California, they are only in transport a few hours before you can pick them up.

Simply put, these nucs are high-quality.



Last year the main nectar flow around Seattle–from blackberry–started the first week of May and was mostly wrapped up in a month.

We use these nucs in our own operation.

We use these nucs in our own operation.

Worker bees take 21 days to gestate, and two more weeks before they become foragers. If you want to put yourself in the position to collect surplus honey this year, you need to have enough bees to collect the main nectar flow, which means if your colonies are not building population in early April, you are looking at numerous issues before you have even started.

Using the nectar flow itself to build up a colony means you will have a lot of hungry bees right when the summer dearth hits. Droughts the past couple years have only exacerbated this problem of “phenological mismatch.” One solution will be to rely on sugar-water and pollen-substitute feeding, which creates its own problems of dietary diversity, and adds cost.

If you are looking to start a colony this year, these bees offer you the best chance of building population, catching the nectar flow, harvesting some honey, and offering you different overwintering options for next year.



Since 2009, Urban Bee Company has been raising healthy bees and growing resilient communities in the Pacific Northwest. An exclusive supplier of honey to Theo Chocolates, we are also partner to community farms at the Beacon Food Forest, Alleycat Acres, Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands, Marra Farm, and others.

We support habitat restoration projects at Sea-Tac airport, operate a bicycle-delivery honey CSA, and provide free classes to youth on bees (of all kinds) and the ecosystem. Our efforts aim to build “community through the hive.”

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

three beeks

Urban Bee Team: Travis Stoner, Dave Schiefelbein, and Bob Redmond

We’ve been quiet, but not idle. Whether it was wrapping up field surveys of wild bees, participating in the fall conferences, or building our web store (soon to launch), it was a busy end to last year. Then 2015 started incredibly fast out of the gate, with dandelions blooming in January and everything still weeks ahead of schedule even now (mid-May). We have news — lots of it — and will be sharing it soon. Look for welcomes to our new staff (teaser in the photo!), upgrades to the site, new stuff coming from our shop, news on the first honey from 2015, CSA sign-ups, news on clases, and other ways to get involved. Sign up on for our email newsletter (right hand column) to stay up to date. And thanks for cheering us along meanwhile!

— Your pals at Urban Bee Company

We’re hiring!


Urban Bee Company seeks a skilled, motivated beekeeper who wants to be part of one of the most environmentally-conscious beekeeping organizations in the region. See below; reply to drone -at- urbanbee -dot- com with any questions. Please note: our offices are in Seattle, Capitol Hill neighborhood.

POSTED:     October 15, 2014

CLOSES:     November 7, 2014

INQUIRE:     To Bob Redmond, Proprietor. drone -at- urbanbee -dot- com

INCLUDE:     Cover letter and resume


  • Manage woodenware inventory (Langstroth), including sourcing, building, repairing and cleaning hive parts, and keeping shop in order
  • Assist identifying apiary sites and building physical infrastructure
  • Manage selected beehives and apiaries, including occasional transport of hives
  • Assist with honey harvest including extracting, bottling, processing wax
  • Assist with delivery (may be via bicycle)
  • Assist with native bee surveys
  • Other duties as assigned and qualified: may include community partnerships, staffing events, teaching classes, and/or posting blogs


  • Beekeeping experience, 3 years minimum, with successful chemical-free approaches such as drone brood trapping and summer splitting.
  • Organized, self-managing, takes pride and ownership in work, able to work fast and mistake-free. Detail oriented and capable of recording and tracking myriad info with the hives.
  • Light carpentry
  • Customer relations
  • Food service experience a plus; cleanliness a necessity
  • Computer savvy, WordPress a plus
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Community engaged with knowledge and experience of local organizations and farms
  • Landscape, Plant I.D., Native Pollinator knowledge and other agricultural experience is desirable
  • Bee-friendly vehicle is a necessity; a truck is a plus


  • $15/hour DOE, straight time
  • Average of 15-20 hours/week, variable given seasonal peaks and lulls, also requires some schedule flexibility due to weather
  • Travel allowance negotiable, no health insurance or retirement benefits at this time