Agricultural Hall

An Urban Agriculture Supply & Resource Center

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Agricultural Hall?

In 1818, the Massachusetts Society for the Promotion of Agriculture built the original Agricultural Hall on Dighton Street in Brighton.  It served as the hub of the Brighton Fair and Cattle Show, one of the earliest and largest such fairs in the country.  In 1829, "a 17-pound turnip, a 19-pound radish, and a bough on which pears hung like a cluster of grapes were among the outstanding exhibits of that year."  In 1844 the building was moved to its present location at the corner of Chestnut Hill Avenue and Washington Street.

Dr. William P. Marchione & 

The Bostonian Society

Brighton Allston Historical Society

Agricultural Hall

245 Amory Street

Jamaica Plain, MA  02130

617-388-7378  /  e-mail Ag Hall

Sat.&Sun., 10:00am-2:30pm & by appt.

Agricultural Hall orders from several suppliers who, in turn, get their bees from suppliers in southern states like Louisiana and Georgia.  Here's what bees are available so far (striked out = sold out):

Package / Nucs / other Variety
Marked Queen
Arrival Date (est.)
Package Italian (Rossman Apiary) Yes April 3 $145
Package Italian (Rossman Apiary) No April 3 $140
Italian (Rossman Apiary)
Yes April 24 $145
Italian (Rossman Apiary)
No April 24
Package Russian hybrid* (Hardeman Apiary (to be determined) TBA $145
Package Russian hybrid* (Hardeman Apiary No TBA $140-145 
Packages Carniolans
Yes May 12 $145
Carniolans No May 12
Packages Italians
Yes May 9 $135
Packages Italians No May 9 $130
Nucs Texas mutts n/a TBA $225

* Hardeman Apiary mates their Russian queens in an open mating yard.  Drones are not selected/ controlled, which means they could drift from non-Russian hives.  When bred this way, the queens are referred to as Russian hybrid queens. These are not Russian queens from the RHBA certified program. And contrary to rumors, there are no Trump-authorized rebates for Russian bees.

To order bees:

Send an email to Bees2017(at), and please tell me:

1) How many of...
2)  ...which variety (Italian, Russian, or Carniolan) you want;
3)  Whether you want a marked or unmarked queen, and
4)  Which date you'd prefer.
5)  Please also include a phone number where I can reach you in a pinch.  (Sometimes things move quickly when the bees come to town.)

I will respond with a confirmation email, along with payment instructions.


Ordering background info:

The earliest bees (April 3) cost a bit more because they are delivered so early, and because that particular supplier simply charges more -- although the price stayed the same from 2016.  I feel it's worth paying more for early bees.  If you successfully hive a package in early April, you could  be taking honey in June.  Later packages seem to merely survive, but not always thrive, until year two.

Dates are estimates -- best case scenarios.  We can hope and cross our fingers, but they'll come when they come.

Your bees come from three different suppliers, and each supplier has a slightly differnet reimbursement policy for dead queens and packages containing laying workers.  In general, dead queens and laying workers will be replaced if reported within a few days.  All but one require returning the dead queen for documentation purposes.  (They sometimes use her to determine cause of death -- helps breeders keep stocks healthier.)


Briefly, here are some characteristics of Italian, Russian, and Carniolan bee stocks:

  The most common.  Great honey producers.  Generally gentle.  Long brood season means large colonies well into fall.  Italian bees are more likely to rob honey from other colonies, putting healthy colonies at risk of catching and spreading disease.
Carniolan:  They build comb and gather honey very quickly.  Reportedly the most docile bee (but aggressiveness in any variety can vary widely).  Not likely to rob.  Because their buildup is fast, they require more careful management to control their tendency to swarm.
Russian:  Brood production is more closely related to nectar flow than in other bee stocks; spring build-up is good, and when nectar falls off in late summer, the queen cuts back dramatically on her egg-laying.   They are more hygienic (especially better at fighting-off parasitic mites) and generally more resistant to disease.  Defend well against robbing.  Reportedly less docile than Italians.

Again, there is always variation from colony to colony, even within varieties.

For more details, see; 
...or do a web search.  There's a lot of info out there!