Bolton Bees starter colonies are bred for select traits: high honey yield, low mite load, favorable temperament and hygienic characteristics. These colonies are already established-- meaning that we did not combine a Queen with brood from other colonies. Each Queen has laid the brood that you are purchasing, and all the worker bees and drones are her offspring. All hives undergo a rigorous selection process to ensure the best quality Queens.  We are non-migratory; our hives have genetics to withstand the long, cold, northern Minnesota winters.  


Our Spring-Made hives have over-wintered genetics. These Queens are genetically adapted to survive Minnesota's harsh northern climate. Throughout the beekeeping season, mishaps happen, beekeepers use spring-made hives to replace their Queen and/or boost their established hives. Spring-Made hives are also great options for beekeepers to overwinter as a nucleus hive and transfer into a production hive the following spring. These hives will be able to smash a honey crop the following year.


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We offer two different genetic lines within our Starter Colonies. These lines are named after the locations where the Queens were over-wintered.


Our MN Northern Line of Queens withstands a Winter that is on average 10° colder and lasts considerably longer than those that have over-wintered in the Metro Area. Typically these long and cold winters would impact honey stores, cleansing flights, and brood-laying. Our MN Northern Line has survived these conditions.


Our MN Metro Line of Queens is located within the Twin Cites region. Although the winters are not as cold and long as Northern Minnesota, these hives have still endured the cold Minnesota temperatures. Most nucleus and Queen suppliers sell bees that have never survived a Minnesota winter.  


Interested in purchasing a 5-frame Starter Colony with our distinct Minnesota-hardy genetics?

To learn more about how we select specific traits, read about our Queen selection process.