Frequently Asked Questions

Covid 19 - update on our activities

The most commonly asked questions at the moment are below.

  • Are you still open and accepting orders?

    Yes we are still accepting online orders for items in stock. As you place an order your stock is reserved for you and despatched as soon as possible or, for live plants, at the designated time.

    As of Monday 15th June, customers are welcome to visit National Bee Supplies in Okehampton to purchase beekeeping equipment. To protect our customers and staff we have set up an order and collect room. We have put in place a protective screen, social distancing and hand sanitizer for customers. Our trolleys will be sanitized after every use and surfaces regularly disinfected. Please try to use card payment and contactless where possible. The shop will not be open for browsing. This will be reviewed at a later stage. Opening times with be Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

  • Will you be able to despatch my pre-order of live plants at the time stated on the website?

    Yes, as these orders are for live plants we will ensure these orders are prioritised once the plants are ready to be despatched as per the date shown on the website.

    Please note, on despatching your goods, Royal Mail and other carriers are currently taking 3-5 working days to deliver.

  • How quickly will all other orders be despatched?

    Orders are currently taking longer than usual and we are very sorry about that. We will try to resume normal service levels as soon as possible. In the meantime orders for seeds are generally being despatched in 7-10 days and other goods are taking up to 28 days unless a specific date is shown on the website (E.g. for live plants as per the question above).

    Please note, on despatching your goods, Royal Mail and other carriers are currently taking 3-5 working days to deliver.

  • Can we still visit the shop?

    In line with government advice we have unfortunately had to temporarily close our shop in Okehampton. We are however still sending out orders placed via the internet and will advise as soon as we are able to re-open the shop.

  • Can I change or add to my orders?

    I'm sorry but due to the huge volume of orders that are currently in the system we are unable to make any changes. If you require additional items then please place a new order. If you have ordered items that you no longer need then please return them to us once received.

  • Can I cancel my order?

    Unfortunately due to the extremely high volume of orders and queries we are receiving it’s not possible to cancel orders before they leave our warehouse. Instead, please return the order to us for a full refund once received.

  • Not all of the items I ordered are showing on my order confirmation even though I’ve paid for them. Why is this?

    Unfortunately an unexpected system error has resulted in some items not showing on customer order notifications. We are working hard to resolve this issue. The good news is that all items in your basket will have been received and you will be able to see a detailed list of all them by logging into your account on our website.

  •  Click here to read all of our Covid-19 updates
    Email to our customers sent out on 19th March 2020

    Important Customer Update

    With so many people having to stay at home there has been a significant uplift in orders. We are working extra hard to ensure that these are sent out as quickly as possible but please do try to be patient if it takes a little longer than usual.

    We will continually update the ‘current questions’ section on this page to let you know how long orders are taking and you can of course also check online whether your own goods have been despatched. For tracking information on your order please go to your account by clicking 'Sign In' on the website. Once the order has been sent out to you it will be updated to say "Order Despatched".

    Temporary Shop Closure

    In line with government advice we have unfortunately had to temporarily close our shop in Okehampton. We are however still sending out orders placed via the internet and will advise as soon as we are able to re-open the shop.

    Telephone Information

    We have also had a big uplift in the number of customers phoning to place orders as well as asking about the progress of their orders and unfortunately, we are just not able to answer them all. We are keen to move more staff into the pick, pack and despatch area in order to get orders delivered to you as quickly as possible so we have decided to make the unusual and difficult decision to stop taking telephone calls with immediate effect, for a period whilst we concentrate on despatching orders. More orders than ever are being sent out and if you’ve ordered online then stock has been reserved for you.

    Email Information

    Our customer care team are working hard to respond to emails and can still be contacted. However, please be aware that we are receiving many more emails than normal for this time of year and we have fewer staff to handle them as we have moved some of our team onto packing out orders . It would be very much appreciated if you would only email us if absolutely necessary using the Online Form

    Responses are likely to take longer than usual because of the exceptional levels of demand so we would ask for your patience while our staff do their very best to get back to you.

    We enjoy speaking with our customers, by phone and will switch the phone lines back on as soon as possible. In the meantime we apologise but hope that you will understand.

    These are exceptional times.

    David Robinson,

    Managing Director

    Last Updated: 27/03/2020

Placing an Order

About our Hives

  • What type of wood is used?

    All our wooden hives are made from the finest quality Western Red Cedar. Imperfections and knots are discarded, ensuring you receive a top quality product which will last for many years.

  • What cut of wood has been used to build the hive?

    We don't skimp on the quality of the wood used in our hives. Only the premium cuts of wood are used. We cut from the centre of the sections, avoiding the sapwood that will rot easily and the tough wood at the centre which is prone to cuts, splits and knots.

  • Is the hive made from seasoned timber? Why is seasoned timber so important?

    Unlike other bee hives on the market, our timber is seasoned – this means cut and dried for many months, sometimes years, before we use it to build your hive. This ensures a much finer finish, and there will be less chance of wood shrinkage, splitting and twisting. Our comb joints will always fit snugly, with no need to use unsightly nails. (Properly dried wood also allows ease of assembly when purchasing flat pack goods.) Thats why we offer you a10 year guarentee.

  • Should I buy my hive ready assembled or flat-packed?

    Our craftsmen use Cascamite (powder resin wood glue, stronger than the wood itself) to seal all joints, and sand them all for a perfect smooth finish. No gaps in the joints means better insulation for the bees and sealed entry points for predators. Our fully assembled products give you reassurance and peace of mind, while our flat-pack product will fit together perfectly.

  • Does the hive contain plastic parts?

    We always use quality galvanised metal for our varroa floors, trays and runners. This not only makes our parts longer lasting and hard wearing, it also means that they can be blow-torched clean when sterilising your hive.

  • How Important is the finish on my hive?

    All our hive parts, including our cover boards are expertly finished, ensuring you a top-quality product throughout. The craftsmanship used in the joinery ensures water is kept out, essential for a healthy hive.

  • Can I paint my wooden hive?

    Your hive does not need painting however if you wish to do so then please wait for about 3 years to allow the hive to weather. Only when the wood has silvered can it be painted and then, only externally.

  • Can I paint my poly hive?

    Yes, poly hives should be painted to protect them. We offer a range of water-based paints for protecting and providing durability. View our poly hive paints.

About our Plants, Shrubs, Bulbs and Seeds

  • 200 Years of Gardening Knowledge and Expertise

    With 200 years of gardening knowledge and expertise, and a Royal Warrant, we are delighted to offer you a range of seeds, plants and trees from Suttons that will help you attract bees to your garden!

    They have a wonderful range of flower and vegetable seeds, young plants, bulbs, fruit bushes, and other horticultural products, plus a number of growing guides and regular newsletters to help you get the most from your garden, allotment or small holding, and to help your bees by providing them with the perfect plants for pollinators.

    Their programme of phasing out the use of neonicotinoids, and by careful control of the growing environment, they can ensure the plant stock is truly bee friendly and safe.

  • When will my seeds be delivered?

    Your seeds will be delivered by Royal Mail within 7 days.

  • Will the seeds come with instructions?

    Yes, detailed instructions, including sowing and harvesting periods, are printed on the seed packet itself.

  • Are the seeds genetically modified?

    No, none of our seeds have been genetically modified.

  • When will my shrubs be delivered?

    During April.

  • When will my plants be delivered?

    From May onwards.

  • Will growing instructions be included?

    Growing instructions will not be enclosed however please look on the address label where you will find a link to where the growing instructions can be found on our website.

  • Have neonicotinoids been used?

    None of our seeds are treated with neonicotinoids. At the beginning of 2018 we eliminated neonicotinoids from all of our plant production. It is possible that the compost of some plants grown prior to this may still contain diminishing traces of neonicotinoids but from June onwards we anticipate that all our annual and perennial plants will be neonicotinoid free.

About our Honey Labels

About our Clothing

Can’t find an answer to your question?

Last updated: 12/06/20

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