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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    221

    Default I will never buy packages again.

    Long story short, a buddy of mine was getting deployed and had ordered nine packages. I have not bought a package in years, but he had already paid for them, and they would arrive after he left. I paid him for what he had in them. They arrived, I installed them, and they did well over the summer. They built up to two deeps, with full ofhoney in the top deep, and lots of bees. . It was my usual winter set up with a deep of honey and a candy board on top for good measure, had a warm day today, checked hives, and four are dead. My other thirty hives which are local queens that I have raised or gotten from a friend are doing fine. Before anyone asks, yes I checked for mites, yes I treated, and yes they had plenty of food. It has been somewhat of a mild winter, with flying days at last once a week. The package hives are in the same yard as my local bees. I knew I should have requeened as soon as I got them, but they were doing so well over the summer, I didn't. I don't claim to be a Michael Bush or Michael Palmer, but I usually have pretty good luck overwintering bees. The only common factor is that the dead outs were all spring packages.
    16 y, 30 hives ULBN, treat when needed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    1,384

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Dare I ask from what direction these packages came?
    Thomas Bartram - 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,566

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    How about an update when winter is over with on the balance of the bees! The test is not over with yet is it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    How about an update when winter is over with on the balance of the bees! The test is not over with yet is it?
    No, the test isn't over yet, but an almost 50 percent loss on the packages, when I am used to about a 5 percent loss? Kind of speaks for itself.
    16 y, 30 hives ULBN, treat when needed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    440

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt903 View Post
    Before anyone asks, yes I checked for mites, yes I treated, and yes they had plenty of food. The only common factor is that the dead outs were all spring packages.
    They must have died from mites, what were your counts when you treated What did the other five hives look like? What about the dead clusters, or were there any? Also, why did you anticipate needing to requeen them? The common factor may or may not be the common demise, particularly if the other five are "kicking".
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat :)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    allen,indiana,usa
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    You lost 4 out of 9, almost 50% and winter is only half over, I totally agree with you local queens are best.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Look at it this way, you helped a bud out of a jam and now you've got drawn out comb for spring splits. I haven't bought a queen in years, mutt queens don't cost you a thing except the time it takes you to raise them, no matter what method you use.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Quote Originally Posted by rwlaw View Post
    Look at it this way, you helped a bud out of a jam and now you've got drawn out comb for spring splits. I haven't bought a queen in years, mutt queens don't cost you a thing except the time it takes you to raise them, no matter what method you use.
    You are exactly right. I am glad I could help him, and I do have 80 frames of drawn comb now, the post was really an observation of the unreliabllity of package bees.

    Fields, how do you figure it was mites? I treated. There were 0 mite counts using alcohol wash going into fall. One of them I know was a queen failure, because I found two cells. The other three just dwindled away.
    16 y, 30 hives ULBN, treat when needed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Skiff, Alberta, CA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Who was the package supplier?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Santa barbara, CA
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haraga View Post
    Who was the package supplier?
    Yes, all package bees are not the same. And perhaps there was a difference in climate adaptation to your area. Just a thought...
    If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
    Abraham Maslow

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,566

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt903 View Post
    the post was really an observation of the unreliabllity of package bees.
    Hold on there JR Scientist: If you are going to base all your beekeeping decisions on studies containing only 8 or 9 samples in every test I personally have pity for the scientist who mentored you on obtaining valid results which would provide both an accurate and meaningful picture of what you are studying!

    8 is a poor sample size considering the hundreds of thousands of packages produced every year.

    Bees die and bees live but to blame "packages" in general is just plain absurd.

    Beekeeping today is way to complicated to narrow this all down to either packages or "locally" adapted!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sequim, WA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    I agree With Honey-4-all. But as a supplier of bees Ill tell ya Local queens are somewhat better if everything goes right.
    But finding local queens in Spring is impossible in the Northwest. Even if you re queen it isnt 100% certain. I have lost new queens from great breeders. But I don't blame him. Its farming folks. Plain an simple. It great you helped him out.
    If you got comb and some honey that's great, don't ya think?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,566

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    180....I'm sure you get many a newbie who wants one of your packages delivered with a local queen. In some cases it possible but in many instances the season will be well on the way down the road of ancient history when they are available.

    Case in point in my best estimation: Not much of a viable option for those that insist on "local" and want them delivered to Homer or somewhere along the Talkeetna spur and hope to make a crop.

    Some places the buyer is bound to be more upset when they find out their "locally" raised July only queen just missed out on all the years crop potential and the winter is going to take out the bees no matter how local the bees are.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sequim, WA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    I don't even offer local queens. I tell the cusotmers where the Queens are from and to requeen with a local one if they like. I have never had a problem anywhere in Alaska or the Northwest with California Queens, but we never tried to keep them over winter. I konw some guys that do keep them over winter but they are new to the program. It can be done with a Russians which I have and they make it, but not many other types, Winters are just to long. Russians also require some different management.
    It's Farming...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    N.E. KY
    Posts
    245

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    If you start bee keeping with a southern package, How long do you have to rear that hive and keep them going, before they are considered local?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sequim, WA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Well, that depends. It all depends where the queen comes from. A local queen is one that has servived the conditions for the area. Usually bred for a few generations in that area from what is termed surivor stock. Evaluated by an expert in queen breeding and genetics and hope it works.
    Read up on it in a breeding book.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Brownsburg, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    had 6 hives in November, now have 2, just happens to be the two I got from ferrel swarms.
    Maybe there something about package bees!
    My ferrel's are all different colors it's neat.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    346

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Quote Originally Posted by rookie2531 View Post
    If you start bee keeping with a southern package, How long do you have to rear that hive and keep them going, before they are considered local?
    Till they say, "You guys." See y'all.
    It's hard not to smile when you look at a penguin.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    1,318

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    I too once said "I will never use packages again"................ just ordered 2 for replacements. Cant bet on a swarm, but will be there to catch all I can. G

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Washington, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: I will never buy packages again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Riverderwent View Post
    Till they say, "You guys." See y'all.
    That's just funny right there!!!

    Maybe all the package producers, both Southern and West Coast, should stop producing packages for a year and concentrate solely on making splits and honey production. I'm sure no one would complain then...........................not about pollination prices, or honey prices, OR the availability of bees, OR about Nuc prices................
    What would result would surely be a "beekeeping utopia"..........
    Tim Wilbanks
    Kalona Honey Company, LLC www.kalonahoney.com

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