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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Russell Apiaries

    I was curious if anyone has had any issues with Russell apiaries.

    I ordered 60 queens for the last week of March and received confirmation on the 23rd that they would be shipped on the 28th. Assuming there would be any issues, meaning that by the 23rd they should have been mated and allowed to proof out for a couple days before shipping. I received a broadcast style email indicating weather issues for the 28th and 29th time frames. I checkked the weather at there location and it only called for cloudy skies on the SHIP date. Additionally, the phone number they have listed is always either busy, no answer, or the ole' this VM box is full and you can't leave a message. My issue is that with a company as large as Russell Apiaries advertises its self to be the customer service is just not there.
    I was asked to PAY in ADVANCE for my queens. I feel that I have some cause for concern at this point.

    I have tried to communicate with Russell Apiaries but don't feel satisfied with the service.

    I also ordered 50 queens from another supplier here on beesource for the same time period, paid in advance, and will be delayed there to.

    Think it's time to start learning how to raise my own queens!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    677

    Default Re: Issues with Russell Apiaries?

    Can you say NICOT system???

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,536

    Default Re: Issues with Russell Apiaries?

    Look at it like this would you rather have the queens on time and not mated well or a little late and mated, beekeeping is farming.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 03-29-2011 at 08:15 AM.
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default Re: Issues with Russell Apiaries?

    First of all, I have never purchased queens from Russell, but I have communicated several times with him and of course he is VERY willing to provide input to this forum with the level of experience that is not typical of most members. From my perspective, they appear to be expanding their operations by increasing their web presence this season, which may result in some growing pains (full voice mail, etc) until they get it all figured out. However, you don't build a business with the history that Russell Apiaries has by not performing well over the long run. I am confident that there will be NO significant issues. If by chance there are minor problems, they appear to be the type of business that would go the extra mile to make it right. BTW, it is pretty much the norm for queen breeders to request some level of payment at the time of the order. Can you imagine the "issues" if they didn't?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    449

    Default Re: Issues with Russell Apiaries?

    I could understand your frustration over this, but think about how busy they must be right now. Just like Honeyman stated wouldnt you rather have your queens mated and ready to go than have them ontime but not be to the standard you expect. I have not purchased queens from Russell yet, but plan on it this summer. You can drop him a pm here or on his site
    http://russellapiaries.webs.com/
    just join the forums and he does get to every one. As stated earlier beekeeping is farming, the weather is out of our controll.

    Jason
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keller, Tx
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: Issues with Russell Apiaries?

    Papar,
    I am in the same situation as you. I actually have 20 frames of brood waiting for the queens that were supposed to be shipped yesterday. However Robert seems to be making things work. I am sure they are busy. Every response I have gotten from him seems to be from his mobile phone. He probably has no time to sit at the computer. Yes I am going to start trying to breed my own queens as I have a Nicot system from last year.
    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    So I must ask a small question & that is how do you control the weather???

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,395

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    Maybe you're saying the same thing, but I would phrase it this way:

    How do you control your potential customers? One can't control the weather, but you do have control over how you manage the unpredictable within your business.
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orange, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    382

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    I find Robert, or Russells Apiary is on the up and up. He has personally gone out of his way to help many people to include myself. As others as says, and I know for first hand, the weather has hindered breeding in my area. It happens in this field, heck check with the Cali breeders and package producers they will tell you the same.

    ChristopherA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,996

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    When you get your queens be sure and revisit this thread to tell us how it turns out. Ever try to get in touch with your accountant on April 13? I'm guessing this is crunch time for queen breeders. Try to be patient.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,876

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    Go to their website as directed and ask Mr. Russell civilly about your order and you will get an answer ASAP. He gives out a lot of experience helping people that is invaluable on his website as well as on this forum. Just cool yer jets a tad. They are pinching virgins in California by the hundred and probably thousands because of weather. You want some of them? If he just shipped to be on your schedule, you could very well get your drone layer. I understand your impatience, I just bothered my supplier about my order and it is two weeks out.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Thaxton, Mississippi
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    Don't know how the weather has been in his area but here in the north central part of the state the weather has been lousy. Cold and wet,,,, I have not opened a hive in 6-7 days.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Rankin, Mississippi, USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    Robert is VERY hard to reach by phone but email or pm him and he's usually pretty timely to respond. From what i understand he has SEVERAL mating yards and they are widespread so it may be only cloudy in the area in which you checked and pouring wherever he needs to be to catch your queens. I myself have sat on my porch and the weather said sunny when it was pouring and vice versa. If you want bad customer service you should have dealt with Robert's father!! He was a great man but he even took his answering machine out and only sold to those he happened to answer the phone for! Do anything he could to help you (as long as he wasn't busy and you were lucky enough to catch him). But the knowledge they bring to the industry is well worth it. In my opinion

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    We respond to every email and pm in the order in which they are received and have responded to each message from papar in a very timely manner.

    We send out "Weather Updates" via email to every customer that is going to be affected by our having to postpone shipping due to poor weather conditions.

    We will NOT catch queens in the rain, ship queens during bad weather, or ship any queens that are not mated and laying.

    Yes, we are a large operation, but quality is always our top priority over quantity.

    We fully understand the stresses that a delayed shipment can cause... but at the same time, we can not provide "junk" or DEAD queens just to meet schedules.

    We can not control the weather, and we DO make every effort to provide information to our customers to help them make adjustments when the unforeseen happens.

    In this case, we offered to purchase replacement queens from the customers choice of supplier at our expense and offered to catch and ship on Thursday (when we are expecting a shot of sunshine) and ship them Overnight Air at our expense to help the customer as much as possible.

    The terms "Weather Permitting" and "ALL SHIP DATES ARE TENTATIVE" are used on our website to remind customers of the possibilities of these issues.

    We do NOT bank queens... We catch queens on the ship date or the day before the ship date (which in this case was raining as well).

    Until last summer, we did not sell to the public... Only retail and large commercial operations... So we are still adjusting to going from 80,000 queens amongst 150-200 customers, to 80,000 queens amongst 3,700+ customers. I feel that we have done fairly well in this transition, however, telephone communications are still very limited. We did not expect to have anywhere near the call volume that we are having... Email and PM remains the best way to reach us.

    We do require full payment at the time of the order, because there is no way that we could keep up with tracking down second payments before the ship dates and keep up with who has paid before we catch... its is far better to get all of the payment issues out of the way in advance so that we know exactly what to catch and when to catch it.

    Its unfortunate that issues like this arrise, but it does happen, and when it does, we always make every effort to help.

  15. #15

    Smile Re: Russell Apiaries

    As a fellow bee keeper in the same state as Russell, the weather has been bad the last few days and even today the storm alerts have stated ealry on TV.
    Just google "Mississippi weather'

    Russell helped me when I first started out and is great to work with, just be patient and don't worry. Last year I order four Queens from him and I will order more from him this year.


    Thank You:
    BillyH
    Carson, Mississippi

  16. #16

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    In response to Russell's post...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    I appreciate what Barry said.

    I do respect and appreciate all the knowledge that Russell's brings to the beekeeping world.

    I don't need to be told about the weather and how that plays into beekeeping.

    I don't appreciate being told the queens will be shipping out, then 4 days later told they are postponed a full week. I call that being jerked around!!

    Weather can throw a lot of curve balls, I guess!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,721

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    I don't have any experience with Robert's queens, although I have two on order right now.

    His customer service, all things considered, seems excellent so far. He goes way out of his way, even considering his packed schedule, to help me with my own personal beekeeping issues. This includes helping me to learn how to rear my own queens (what queen producer is actually interested in helping you become self sufficient?). Robert is amazing, and I'd wait twice as long for his queens as I would for anyone elses, simply based on his mentality about the industry.

    Hopefully, whenever the weather clears and my queens make it here, they will perform HALF as good as Robert does!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Collierville, TN
    Posts
    90

    Wink Re: Russell Apiaries

    I would rahter be patient and get a well mated queen, rather than get a queen likely to be a drone layer due to poor weather conditions. It is not just the day that you catch the queen but rather the weather while she is taking her mating flights that is critical!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Russell Apiaries

    As a queen producer I can tell you that things are VERY unpredictable. You often end up with half as many or twice as many as you anticipated. The old addage "don't count your chickens before the hatch" is very applicable to queens. Unfortunately, this also applies to the customers, as you can't ship queens you don't have and you can't predict with 100% certainty how many queens you'll have when. Customers who are used to buying items that are simply on the shelf and ship the same day sometimes have trouble adjusting expectations to something as unpredictable as queens. It is frustrating, I know, when you have plans and those queens are part of those plans and they have to be adjusted. But that's the reality of it. And, as pointed out, sometimes the weather makes it impossible to ship either because of heat (and they would die on the way) or rain (hard to catch hundreds of queens in a day of pouring rain).

    The other thing is that spring is the busiest time of the year and sometimes it is impossible to keep up with everything.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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