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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    386

    Default Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    A little potential market research here today. Back to the same old subject, spring replacement bees for the folks in the colder parts of our country.

    I've only got 4 of these this year, so, this is not about what can be done now, but I am interested in feedback on this stuff. Sun came out for a bit earlier today, and I was curious how things are shaping up in the yard. I popped open the nucs a couple weeks back when the weather started to warm up a bit, pulled an empty frame out of the side, and put in a feeder. They all got half a patty, and a gallon of syrup. These are nucs I started with 2 frames of bees and a cell around June 1 last year, left them to winter in 2 high stacks of 5, which they built out over the summer. They are all still in the top box, but starting to use the bottom box now for pollen and nectar, no brood down there yet.

    I remembered to take the camera (phone) with me when I went back there today and popped the lid to see how they are doing. Here's what I found, and this one is typical of them.



    The two middle frames have nice big brood patches in all stages. Center of the patch has emerged, and there are fresh eggs there. Outer edges are almost ready to come out now. I didn't find the queen in the center, but found her looking over the empty frame beside the feeder. She's just started to lay on that one, so it'll be the third frame with brood in another week. There are some eggs in the cells, but nothing is in larvae stage yet.



    These pictures are today, April 4th, taken around noon. In another two or three weeks, they wont fit in a single 5 frame box anymore. I've done it two years in a row now on this small scale, and, this is typical of what they look like, except we are 10 days behind based on last year. So now it's time to ask questions of those more experienced, that actually do this for a living.

    a) What is good about these ?
    b) What is bad about them ?
    c) Is this a product folks in colder areas would find appealing at this time of year ?
    d) If so, how early would you want them ? How late ?

    We bought a new place this year, so, I have more than a little incentive to scale this up. I've now got the space to do it, and our new place in in the agricultural land reserve, so no issues with zoning / neighbors anymore with respect to keeping bees. If I scale this up, aside from direct sales revenue, I've got significant tax incentives to show specific levels of revenue from an agricultural product now, and early spring bees are a qualified product.

    Am I even on the right track here assuming one can scale this up and produce a much larger quantity ?????

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Arras, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    A little potential market research here today. Back to the same old subject, spring replacement bees for the folks in the colder parts of our country.

    I've only got 4 of these this year, so, this is not about what can be done now, but I am interested in feedback on this stuff. Sun came out for a bit earlier today, and I was curious how things are shaping up in the yard. I popped open the nucs a couple weeks back when the weather started to warm up a bit, pulled an empty frame out of the side, and put in a feeder. They all got half a patty, and a gallon of syrup. These are nucs I started with 2 frames of bees and a cell around June 1 last year, left them to winter in 2 high stacks of 5, which they built out over the summer. They are all still in the top box, but starting to use the bottom box now for pollen and nectar, no brood down there yet.

    I remembered to take the camera (phone) with me when I went back there today and popped the lid to see how they are doing. Here's what I found, and this one is typical of them.



    The two middle frames have nice big brood patches in all stages. Center of the patch has emerged, and there are fresh eggs there. Outer edges are almost ready to come out now. I didn't find the queen in the center, but found her looking over the empty frame beside the feeder. She's just started to lay on that one, so it'll be the third frame with brood in another week. There are some eggs in the cells, but nothing is in larvae stage yet.



    These pictures are today, April 4th, taken around noon. In another two or three weeks, they wont fit in a single 5 frame box anymore. I've done it two years in a row now on this small scale, and, this is typical of what they look like, except we are 10 days behind based on last year. So now it's time to ask questions of those more experienced, that actually do this for a living.

    a) What is good about these ?
    b) What is bad about them ?
    c) Is this a product folks in colder areas would find appealing at this time of year ?
    d) If so, how early would you want them ? How late ?

    We bought a new place this year, so, I have more than a little incentive to scale this up. I've now got the space to do it, and our new place in in the agricultural land reserve, so no issues with zoning / neighbors anymore with respect to keeping bees. If I scale this up, aside from direct sales revenue, I've got significant tax incentives to show specific levels of revenue from an agricultural product now, and early spring bees are a qualified product.

    Am I even on the right track here assuming one can scale this up and produce a much larger quantity ?????
    I am pretty sure you could sell as many 4 frame Nucs as you could produce for ~$150 a piece as long as they showed up before June 1st (May 15th is better May 1st is optimal). I have spoken to many suppliers and they are all sold out and were last December already.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    Quote Originally Posted by JodieToadie View Post
    I am pretty sure you could sell as many 4 frame Nucs as you could produce for ~$150 a piece as long as they showed up before June 1st (May 15th is better May 1st is optimal).
    That is fascinating feedback, thank you. Your area in particular is VERY interesting to me, no need to cross a provincial boundary to get there. I've had april deliver timeframes in my mind, thought that May would be getting to late for folks up there.

    But hey, that's why I'm asking. I've got a lot to learn yet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,287

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    As long as I have them, there are no issues with selling them. Keep in mind the more of them, the greater the opportunity you have to sell them. I mean that no commercial beekeeper is going to go to the trouble of getting to Vancouver Island for 50 nucs. If you have 500 then some people might take them all or 2 guys take them all. They might think it is worth their trouble to make it over there.

    Jean-Marc

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    455

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    A potential market for earlier nuc sales could be to those Alberta beekeepers that winter their hives in B.C.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    Quote Originally Posted by jean-marc View Post
    I mean that no commercial beekeeper is going to go to the trouble of getting to Vancouver Island for 50 nucs.
    Funny how things work sometimes. The liability insurance for my business has a clause that specifically excludes customers on the property. It is cheaper for me to buy 3 tanks of gas and a ferry ticket, than to take that rider out of our insurance, just due to the nature of my business. Add to that, the kids bought a house in Dawson Creek this week, so, now it's pretty much cast in stone. For the next few years, at least one of our get-a-way trips will take us thru the Peace River country, my wife will make sure of that, she wants to go visit the kids.

    I may as well schedule that visit for early May, hook a trailer up behind the camper van, and pull a hundred nucs along for the ride. Turns into a win-win all around. Visit the kids in early May, I get a happy wife. I'm sure that folks may not think it's worth the drive for small lots, some will re-think if that small lot is delivered to the door.

    Time will tell, we will see where we end up. But, going to have a lot more than just 4 when fall rolls around. Will be fun to see if we can have a hundred survivors in the spring a couple years from now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    If you deliver in May you would find buyers across the prairies be it 1 or 1001. Give it a go and I am sure you will be rewarded.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    One thing that I would suggest, is to get the provincial inspector to inspect prior to making the trip.
    Luke

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    1,287

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    If delivered that will undoubtedly open the doors to a market.

    Jean-Marc

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    628

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    Ok, another question selling overwintered nucs. Are those beeks in the priaries alright with buying a nuc that has a queen goin into her second year? Brother adam talks about the queen being at her best in the second year. a queen bred in the summer before and maintaining a 4 frame nuc isn't going to wear out obviously. another up side is that the queens are tested tried and true. I would think that nuc buyers would rather have a local bred queen of good genetics and going into the second year than over seas queens just introed with undetermined qualities. What say you?
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Arras, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    Quote Originally Posted by chillardbee View Post
    Ok, another question selling overwintered nucs. Are those beeks in the priaries alright with buying a nuc that has a queen goin into her second year? Brother adam talks about the queen being at her best in the second year. a queen bred in the summer before and maintaining a 4 frame nuc isn't going to wear out obviously. another up side is that the queens are tested tried and true. I would think that nuc buyers would rather have a local bred queen of good genetics and going into the second year than over seas queens just introed with undetermined qualities. What say you?
    As long as she is laying good most won't care. I see we have bigger concerns about the border possibly opening to package bees from the US. That could drastically change the landscape for nuc production.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    628

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    Quote Originally Posted by JodieToadie View Post
    As long as she is laying good most won't care. I see we have bigger concerns about the border possibly opening to package bees from the US. That could drastically change the landscape for nuc production.
    For dollars worth, I would think that the nuc would be the winner. price wise, nucs and packages are almost on par, maybe nucs are a bit more but the percentage of packages the don't turn out versus the near 100% turn out of nucs is a good incentive for beeks to buy local nucs. I think local overwintered nucs would be a lot less hassel for canadian buyers, don't you? Not to mention the shotty queens that come along with the packages amongst the other things that can go wrong with packages like nosema induced supercedure, ect.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Arras, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    Quote Originally Posted by chillardbee View Post
    For dollars worth, I would think that the nuc would be the winner. price wise, nucs and packages are almost on par, maybe nucs are a bit more but the percentage of packages the don't turn out versus the near 100% turn out of nucs is a good incentive for beeks to buy local nucs. I think local overwintered nucs would be a lot less hassel for canadian buyers, don't you? Not to mention the shotty queens that come along with the packages amongst the other things that can go wrong with packages like nosema induced supercedure, ect.
    Hey Will, (You been around a long time as I recall, I recognize the name but don't remember if you are the Sr. or the Jr. but as I recall it was a father son operation?)
    The concern I have with packages vs. nucs is timing and price. Up here in the Peace Region I can get a package of bees 1kg on May 1st (even earlier if I want) from New Zealand. You are right I pay the same price or more than a nuc. But typically some of the nuc suppliers want to sell nucs at the end of May. By that time the nuc is even with the package.
    My concern would be if the US border was opened to packages I could see that a package would have distinct advantages. I could purchase a 4lb package with an extra queen for around $120 from the US vs. the $150 for a nuc or $165 for a 2lb package from New Zealand. Why would I want the effort to even try to winter a hive or buy a nuc if I could fill my hive for $60 each? Since it isn't worth wintering I could care less about disease or performance other than honey production. I have a concern that we would go back to the 1970's when we all gassed our bees at the end of the season and those raising bees for sale would be out of business. Here is the link to the recent discussion in the Canadian Senate. http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/sen/co...FO/51195-E.HTM

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    628

    Default Re: Questions for the Canuck prairie / peace river folks

    JT, I'm the Jr. my father hasn't been in it for 12 years now.

    I thought of the same thing when I heard about the possibility of the border opening. for those folks up north, you could see those glory days restored. I wonder how many of the old beeks from those days are still running bees that haven't either gone out of business or passed away, it's been a long time, 30 years or so, i think.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

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