All UK Orders FREE DELIVERY Ends Sunday

Honey Bee Colony Northumberland Honey Co

Terms and Conditions relating to Purchases of Bees


1.1 Payment is required at the time of booking by credit or debit card.

1.2 Colonies of bees are for collection only. Queens may be collected or posted

1.3 Queen bees are only sent by Royal Mail Special delivery. It is your responsibility to ensure you are there to sign for the bees to avoid delay in receiving them. We do not and cannot accept responsibility for losses of bees due to you not being able to receive them.
1.3a We will e-mail with the dispatch date so you know when to expect them it is your responsibility to ensure we have correct e-mail details to contact you with and that our e-mails are not filtered into spam.
1.3b If we need to delay due to weather conditions, we are entitled to do so, and will only send queens out that are laying and where we have observed sealed worker brood. This means a delay in matings due to bad weather can delay expected delivery dates. If we need to delay we will e-mail with a link to a form to complete to submit a re-arranged date that works for you.

Registering / Authority to Keep Bees

1.4  By making a purchase of bees, you, the customer, understands that we are duty bound by law to notify APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) of your purchase, if requested, under the terms of the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006,  collection and use of this data complies with GDPR and the data protection act. You also agree to comply with any inspection requirements from the bee inspectorate/ NBU. 

1.5 Similarly to point 1.4 you are obliged to ensure you are registered on beebase when keeping bees. This allows the movement of bees and tracing of bee diseases by the APHA. To register see:

1.6 When keeping bees on an allotment it is your responsibly to gain approval/ permission for keeping bees on your allotment from the local council or relevant authority. If you purchase bees and later find you need permission to keep them, we will not be liable for any refund.

Choice of apiary site and insurance

1.7 When choosing an apiary site to keep your bees it is your responsibility to ensure the bees will not cause nuisance or problems for neighbours. You are liable for any damage or nuisance caused by bees to your neighbours.
1.8 In relation to point 1.7 you should ensure you are a member of the BBKA or other beekeeping association in order to ensure you have appropriate public and product liability insurance in place for keeping bees.

1.8a You should choose an apiary site that is sheltered from the prevailing winds, has full sun most of the day and is out of the way of the public/ neighbours.

Cancellation of Bee Orders

1.9 Please contact us by telephone or e-mail if you need to cancel your bee order. You can cancel free of charge for 14 days after purchase.

2.0 Northumberland Honey Co is not liable for any losses incurred if you have to cancel your bee order. If the bee order is cancelled due to force majeure then Northumberland Honey Co will not be liable for any losses or costs incurred. This includes severe weather events which may effect bees.

2.1 If you cancel at short notice, we will make every effort transfer your bees to another customer, this is not always possible at short notice; the more notice you give us the better.

2.2 If you have received bees and wish to cancel they should be returned within 14 days of your cancelling the order. Until they are returned you must retain possession of the products and take good care of them. You should return the bees to us as you received them.
2.3 Any deposits are completely non-returnable – under the Distance Selling Regulations bees are perishable items. In the event we are unable to supply you, you are entitled to a full refund of any deposit.
2.3a Queen Orders and Orders for bees/ nucleus colonies / package bees are made up of a 15% deposit / cancellation fee. In the event of a cancellation we incur extra costs in adminsitering the cancellation, re-stocking and the work already committed to producing the queen or bees. In the event of a cancellation of a queen or bees (overwintered nucleus colony / packages / summer nucleus colony) you will be refunded 85% of the purchase amount, with the remaining 15% non-returnable being the cancellation fee/ non returnable deposit. If you would like a breakdown of the costs associated with cancellation please ask and we will be happy to provide.  


2.4 Any bees that are to be replaced are to be fully returned at the buyers expense by royal mail special delivery.  They will be examined by us to inspect the problem and authenticity, before a refund or replacement is supplied. It is important that any returned queens are delivered to us alive, or sent under an insured / guaranteed service. If there is suspicion that you have returned a different item to the one supplied by us (this is fraud and will be reported as such), or if the bees have been mistreated / mishandled you will not be eligible for a refund or replacement.

Queen Issues

2.5 If any queen is found dead on arrival this needs to be reported to us immediately upon delivery. Please note special delivery items are signed for and recorded so we are aware of when the items have been delivered.

2.5a The queen must then be returned to us by Royal Mail Special Delivery at your expense with her original attendents in the original unopened package for examination. We will then examine the cause of death, this is of paramount importance to us for our due diligence. Then if appropriate we will send a replacement. Queens will only be replaced once and in the case that queens are replaced free of charge, the postage cost to return the queen to us will be bourne by the customer, but we will cover the cost to re-send any queen(s).

2.6 Queens are guaranteed from being drone layers for the first 6 weeks (2 full brood cycles). We are the only Queen breeder currently to offer this.  Given the variable nature of matings and problems that can also co-exist in the hive we are only able to guarantee queens against drone laying for this period of time. If queens are suspected of being drone layers and a replacement is sought, the original queen must be returned in a queen cage with candy and attendents, sent by Royal Mail special delivery for us to inspect and test. Return postage cost to be bourne by the customer. It is important for you to send the queen by special delivery so there is insurance against transit loss etc, if your returned queen does not arrive to us, or arrives in condition where we cannot examine her we cannot offer replacement. On arrival we will examine her spermatheca, if she is found to be infertile we will replace the queen and the replacement queen will be sent by special delivery at our cost. In the interest of fairness across the board, the cost of returning a queen is to be bourne by the customer, but we will cover the cost to re-send any replacement queen(s).

2.7 Non laying queens. Mated queens are all in full lay before being sent out and checked, however due to circumstances down to handling, shipping, introduction issues or hive conditions, age of supporting workers in the hive and strength of the hive the queen may not come into lay straight away. Issues such as the queen being damaged on introduction (having a damaged hind leg for example) may also lead to non-laying if the queen is unable to adequately lower herself into a cell to lay. If a hive has been queenless for sometime workers may be reaching the end of their life and not able to support a queen in either strength or royal jelly production. The condition of the receiving colony is the customers responsibility. Please note weather and local conditions also play a major role in queens going off lay. Non laying queens must be reported to us within 21 days of receipt and sent back to us alive by Royal Mail special delivery for examination – the cost of returning the queen is to be bourne by the customer. Upon examination of the queen we will be able to feedback what if any issues exist, we will check the queens spermatheca and examine under the microscope for any evidence of trauma, stings etc. If there are issues that are attributable to the queen supplied a replacement will be offered. We will not however be able to offer replacements or refunds for any issues attributable to the receiving colony, handling on introduction etc. 

Reporting Queen Issues:

Queen Issues cane be reported by the relevant form and by attaching photos: Click through for Queen Returns and Refunds Forms

International Purchases

2.8 Given border delays, extra paperwork for customs clearance we are seeing delays in the shipping of queens across borders. It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with your countrys requirements when importing bees including notifying your bee inspectorate as appropriate. We are still aiming for a delivery time of 2-5 working days. But if any details supplied to us are incorrect then shipments will be returned, so please ensure all your details are correct, and keep an eye on your e-mails as this will be the first port of call for contact from either ourselves or customs.
2.9 We complete all customs information for export and all queens travel with a health certificate issued by FERA / National Bee Unit. We ensure all customs information is complete to facilitate a smooth entry to your country, however we cannot be held responsible and offer NO guarantees of arrival given issues around customs and border delays since Brexit and Covid.
3.0 The apiary from which queens are sent are inspected by NBU bee inspectors within 30 days prior to the shipment of queens, inspecting for foulbroods, small hive beetle and tropilaelaps. All of which we are currently free of. We are also lucky to be located in a part of the world where both AFB and EFB are virtually unheard of.