Paynes was started in 1922 by Fred Payne with around 300 hives. He was well known in the area for his kind and gentle nature - just like his bees. Fred sold bees, the equipment and a wide selection of beehive products, from local southdown honey to pure beeswax. His wife Betty was avidly involved herself in the hives too and entered many a honey show (and won many first place prizes too).
Over the past 90 years, Paynes has continued in its family traditions but has grown to include much more of the Apiculture available. Fred's 2 sons, Paul and Peter, along with the Grandchilden, Mark and Roger, now maintain over 1000 colonies, spread across Sussex, enjoying the wild fields of the South Downs as well as the rural gardens of the local villages and towns.
Paynes has become one of the biggest suppliers of Nucs and Queens in the UK. Supplying hundreds of 100s of Nucs and 1000s of Queens to beginner beekeepers and established beekeepers alike. Indeed, it was the demand of their nucs that brought about their original 6 frame poly nuc hive which is now used by thousands of beekeepers for nuc and swarm management.
Queens are very important for a bee colony and Paynes understands that quality is paramount. Paynes source Queens from the best Breeders from around the world to find Queens that are not only suitable for the UK climate but which have characteristics that are important to the beekeeper, whether that is one that has an early Spring buildup, a late season spurt or one that clusters small over the winter.
Paynes has also been working on its own 'local' strain of Queen bee. The operation, selecting from their best honey producing hives of that season, has over 400 mini nucs in operation at any one time, developing and mating perfect Queens.