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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005


    Being a business student, I can't help but wonder why people have such a hard time finding bees and queens midway through or towards the end of the season. It appears that bee suppliers cannot ever keep up with demand. Why are suppliers not able to provide bees year-round? The laws of economics would suggest that if money was to be made (demand existed) then the supply would increase. Is there something I'm not understanding? Perhaps the biology of the bee does not allow for collecting and/or shipping of bees outside of spring. Can someone fill me in?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    Fall queens are popular, and most, if not
    all the queen suppliers do a brisk business in
    fall queens, ordered by those who are not about
    to allow their businesses to be buffeted about
    by the multiple problems that can impact spring

    "Year-round" would be very difficult to do unless
    one had apiaries both above and below the equator.
    One can't expect queens to mate in winter.

    Queens from Hawaii can be obtained earlier than
    US mainland queens, but even then, the weather
    must be warm enough so that the bees to not
    freeze to death in shipping (or, just as bad,
    become overheated from being carried/stored in
    heated buildings and vehicles).

    > The laws of economics...

    Have little or nothing to do with it. Beekeepers
    are headstrong, tradition-bound, and unlikely to
    be the "ideal consumers" used in economics.
    If beekeepers in general were "smarter", there
    would be more orders for queens, more splits,
    and less focus on "packages". Any moron can
    do a split and add a store-bought queen.

    The problem with fall packages is that there
    simply is not enough time to feed them and get
    them built up to a colony size that can overwinter
    with any chance of success (except for NWCs, where
    even 4-frame splits can overwinter atop a full-size
    "heater colony" quite well if fed for a few weeks
    before the weather gets cold).

    Bees tend to react to seasonal changes, so a
    queen that is still laying in September or
    October is not laying very many eggs not matter
    what tricks you try. (The exception to this is
    some of the more shoddy breeds of bees, where
    the colony will eat through winter stores
    raising brood in late fall, and then starve
    to death before Christmas.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Inver Grove, MN


    You also need to consider that people who can't find what they want can make a lot of noise, even if there are only a few of them. I expect the market "sounds" larger than it really is at certain times of the year.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Vanc Wa


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    College Station, Texas


    Robert sezs:
    ' Is there something I'm not understanding? '
    tecumeh replies:
    Well the short answer Robert is: yes there is quite a bit you do not understand. There is also a much, much longer answer.
    By its very nature beekeeping is a seasonal activity. Demand for queens and packages is greatest in the spring, when there is still the possibility that a honey collecting force (field bees) can be reared to collect a honey crop or pollinate a crop. So why would anyone wish to supply a product when there is no demand for that product?
    Numero two: economic often gives people the impression that the interaction between supply and demand is instantanous and that one side of the supply-demand equation respond positively to the other side of the equation. We know from practical application that any action-reaction in the economic world is NEVER instantanous and most often require huge lag times of years, if not decades. If you cross reverence cob web (?spelling?-yep tecumseh is a lousy speller) therorm in any elementary economic text you will discover that the two sides of the supply-demand equation OFTEN do not react in a positive way. Other example of non positive feed back loop in econmics includes titles such as 'Giffin Goods' and Keyne's Demand for Liquid Funds.

  6. #6


    I do not have a tough time obtaining bees midway or at the end of summer, got queens a few weeks ago without waiting.

    (JF) Packages are used around here for instant hive strength when maximum splits have already been done. Buying a $30 package for a $40 pollination (or 2) and also making honey is a good investment compared to not doing so.

    Searcher, what generalization do you find offensive? Robert in his 2nd post asks questions of things he does not understand.


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