My wife wanted to get me something practical that I would also enjoy for my birthday so I told her to get me beekeeping stuff so that I'd get something I needed anyway. Well she took that to mean BEES instead of equipment and bought six packages from Terry Hester the guy selling package bees on ebay.
The auction was for the packages with shipping included and they were priced fairly enough considering what shipping costs are doing. The problem was that they were sent snail mail and arrived at the P.O. ten days later...all dead.
I contacted him and the morning that the dead packages hit his doorstep, he had new packages sent second day ups despite the fact that the P.O. would't honor the insurance on the first batch due to the distance involved.
I installed these packages last night. They were all closer to four than three pounds with live queens and full feed cans.
All in all, I didn't like the slow shipping, but it was made right without any hassle on my part. Here is a guy who is learning the hard way about shipping bees but he is learning and he is working hard to keep his customers happy.
If you find yourself in need of package bees or queens, give this guy a try.
I'll post a followup after I see what these bees are going to do.
So far I have really gentle bees with good laying queens that are holding their own. Five of the six have drawn eight or nine of ten frames. It was one hundred and ten degrees here the day after I installed them but they rebounded and are doing OK. For their conditions, I would say that things look really good so far.
I would buy here again.
What is Terry's e-bay user ID?
I found Terry on e-Bay. User ID birdsnbees60 --Thanks for posting this I had forgotten about his offerings on e-Bay.
Your wife is wonderful! I told my bride the same thing. Only, I get things like cute honey pots for the kitchen table, antique retail honey & comb containers, bee novelty items, etc. She even got an oak shelf to display these items prominently in our kitchen. So now we have an attractive shelf in the kitchen displaying some antique and novelty items, but nothing practical for out in the bee yard. It does make a nice display for visitors, though. This from the woman who said "that &@#% hive in the back yard must GO", just after it showed up a year ago to now someone who promotes and sells more honey than I do! It takes some people a while to get on board, but then when they do, they want to ride shotgun.
Please see the apitherapy forum... My wife has taken an abrupt and positive step towards beekeeping as a positive thing.
update on birdsnbees60 bees
No complaints here folks.
I had record heat when I installed these packages. The day after I installed hit 114 degrees. It stayed that way for quite a while. I did't see much going on for a while and I thought I was going to have some supercedure, but they were just playing.
The weather finally backed off into the nineties and those queens took off. Now I have nice full frames of brood and plenty off feed coming in.
I just pulled a few frames of brood from the two strongest and added a spare queen that I didn't have a use for. I accidently dropped a frame packed with bees on my toe and wound up with bees crawling up both legs with no stings. These hives are placed about three feet from a path that I walk about three times a day and I haven't even had an offer to sting.
They are also a very uniform size and color (dark Italian) which to me suggests a stable breeding program.
Based on what I've seen so far, I have no problem recommending that you buy bees from birdsnbees60 and I would't hesitate to buy more queens from him.
He gets great reviews on ebay. I didn't think you could get a package this late. Glad to hear they are doing do.
I also had a great eBay experience with the Hesters
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! -Danno