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Thread: Russell Queens

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    North Tazewell, Virginia
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    345

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    I washed my hands with Russell apiaries last year after I recievedmy order. The quality of their queens is poor from my experience 4 died within a month of getting them and the other 2 one died over the winter and only 1 survived a non weather winter. My other bees might be a little grumpy but I will say this for the girls they produced 275lbs of honey last year and his sunkist queen produced 55lbs of honey. I requeened all my hives with a quality bee of my own. OH I sent e-mails called them and even talked to them on yahoo. They never returned any of my messages and blew me off. Poor customer svc and there is always something wrong weather Etc. Moonbeam strain my bees are out in the sun at daybreak and comeing home at dark I have even been stung when it was dark from a returning bee. Just a fancy name nothing more. I might send him a real queen bee that actually does all the things he says about his. 2 hive bodies on all my hives and 2 supers full of honey. If they ignor enough people maybe folks will start doing the same to them. There are to many reputable queen breeders with I am sure better quality queens. His queens look good on paper I have seen nothing from them that I would call quality. The only surviving queen nothing special and I have givin her the benefit of the dought. I will send her back to him rather than kill her. Send him some toilet paper to go with all that ---- they are shoveling.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Harsens Island , Mi , USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    We must have a harbor seal making all these threats. Please don't think a navy seal would have such poor contol of himself.
    Wow ...just wow .

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Dell Rapids, SD
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Thank you for your service & sacrifice seal.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    I have had a lot of experience providing goods to individuals. Mainly on a volunteer non profit basis on groups such as this. I can say without question if I where to get into producing queens. I woudl not even consider selling to the individual. It would be strictly a large operations. There are a lot of reasons for that but the only way you woudl really get it is if you tried offering anything to anyone. Everyone thinks they are the only customer you have and are basically a P.I.T.A. that is not worth dealing with.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Just an observation from a queen producer. Producing queens is a very time sensitive endevor. When you graft cells on a certain day you know what day you have to set up mating nucs because you know what day those queens will emerge and nucs have to be ready. You pull those queens so many days later because that nuc has to be ready to accept the next round of cells. Once this ball is set in motion you cant stop and say lets wait till tomorrow. Rain or shine, sickness or catastrophe you must keep this schedule.

    The, this is agriculture excuse will only work so far. This year has been as perfect a queen rearing year as I can imagine. Early spring with no cold snaps. Beautiful mating weather, just enough rain to keep things blooming but no 5 day dreary cold rainy spells.

    I know how many mating nucs I have and I know about how many queens I can expect each week. I don't book more than that. I have a list of will calls if I have extra or I call someone from next weeks ship schedule and see if they want theirs a week early, many do.

    In most businesses the customer comes first if you want to succede. I think that is especially true in beekeeping.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    etowah,Alabama
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    There queens are a cut above the rest and the service is too.
    BB's Honey
    www.bbshoney.com

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Dallas,GA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Broke-T View Post
    Just an observation from a queen producer. Producing queens is a very time sensitive endevor. When you graft cells on a certain day you know what day you have to set up mating nucs because you know what day those queens will emerge and nucs have to be ready. You pull those queens so many days later because that nuc has to be ready to accept the next round of cells. Once this ball is set in motion you cant stop and say lets wait till tomorrow. Rain or shine, sickness or catastrophe you must keep this schedule.

    The, this is agriculture excuse will only work so far. This year has been as perfect a queen rearing year as I can imagine. Early spring with no cold snaps. Beautiful mating weather, just enough rain to keep things blooming but no 5 day dreary cold rainy spells.

    I know how many mating nucs I have and I know about how many queens I can expect each week. I don't book more than that. I have a list of will calls if I have extra or I call someone from next weeks ship schedule and see if they want theirs a week early, many do.

    In most businesses the customer comes first if you want to succede. I think that is especially true in beekeeping.

    Johnny
    Spot on.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,851

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Broke-T View Post
    Once this ball is set in motion you cant stop and say lets wait till tomorrow. Rain or shine, sickness or catastrophe you must keep this schedule.
    So you can imagine what happens when, say, a tornado rips through and destroys whole mating yards. Or a tornado takes the roof off your office building. Or you have a death in the family, or a very close and personal friend. All has happened this year to Russell's.

    Once the ball is set in motion you can't stop and wait till tomorrow. When something else comes in and stops your ball, you were planning so far in advance it's difficult if not impossible to every come back up to speed. And yet Russell's is.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Dallas,GA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    So you can imagine what happens when, say, a tornado rips through and destroys whole mating yards. Or a tornado takes the roof off your office building. Or you have a death in the family, or a very close and personal friend. All has happened this year to Russell's.

    Once the ball is set in motion you can't stop and wait till tomorrow. When something else comes in and stops your ball, you were planning so far in advance it's difficult if not impossible to every come back up to speed. And yet Russell's is.
    The issue is not that the unexpected happens and impacts your business. The issue is how you handle the unexpected to minimize the impact to your customers. If I could have confirmed my order online and seen a revised expected shipping date I wouldn't have even bothered attempting contact. Since no such system is in place and it went a month with no updates on the website other than a vague "we're catching up" I had to contact someone for information. And when a business is either unequipped or unwilling to provide their customers that source of information, that is the problem. It has nothing to do with the specifics of what put them behind.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Unfortunately, beeker, I think one of the biggest "roots" of the problem that many of us hobbyists have with ordering from Russell Apiaries is that Russell Apiaries aren't set up to cater to hobbyist beekeepers. They are an industrial-scale apiary who's set up to handle primarily commercial-scale orders & customers. They chose to start allowing orders from us hobbyists (I'm guessing) as a service to us, and likely had little if any idea how much of a deluge of correspondence it was going to cost them.
    In the end, our 1, 2, 5, 10, and even 20 queen orders, though they may represent large investments to us, are truly microscopic to an operation of that size, and likely represent almost no part of their "profit margin" whatsoever, so it's really not worth it for them to hire more ppl to service us. I don't know what "the solution" would really be here, but I hope the one they choose isn't to simply stop selling to anyone who can't order queens in batches of 100, because that would cost us access to some really great genetics.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Some people on here are sounding pretty dang sanctimonious. Well I'm so perfect if my operation got tore up 2 years in a row by a tornado I would have had perfect communication with my customers. If a close friend and employee loses his life while working for me along with his child, well I'll just buck up and get the queens delivered. I for one am more than happy to buy queens from someone who has a heart and has in my experience gone above and beyond for me and my piddly little 4 queen orders. Stop treating Russell apiaries like they are supposed to be the Amazon.com of queens and nucs, and hopefully he won't decide that the hobby beekeepers aren't worth it. I would also like to comment on the fact that posts are being deleted at a bit of an alarming rate around here. What's the deal?

    Rod

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,871

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    I understand the shipment dates are approximate. My shipment is not that late. Although it states orders MAY be up to 45 days, perhaps a few days later. 70 days is a little beyond that I'd say.

    It is those huge numbers of people who have ordered FAR earlier than I did that STILL have not received their orders OR any contact from Russell's staff that concerns me the most. I would be foolish to think I am higher up on the list for delivery then they are. Some paid last year and can't get any response from this company, starting BEFORE their run of bad luck.

    My husband and I run two businesses, a commercial construction company and own and operate a charter boat off the coast of WA. (Not to mention my Agricultural stuff. I run by myself, as a 2nd year keeper, 52 hives,, not counting my recently made nucs. I own and manage two APHA stallions for breeding + mares+ take care of the family and farm) Certainly I know how hard it is when problems arise. But those problems are NOT the customers problem. As a business owner they are mine, and up to me to fix them -regardless of how hard or inconvenient.

    If the weather is too bad, the seas are too rough or the boat breaks down and we can't take the customers out, do we just keep their money? I think not. Do we just not call them and let them show up on the dock? I think not. Do we just ignore them and hope they will go away?? I do know about weather dependency.

    My initial order may be small, but I could have been a good customer. I'll be keeping a close eye on how this business handles it's problems.

    But I have seen it far too many times. When a business's phone mail box is full for days or weeks on end, they don't answer their emails and everyone and their brother is spitting mad at them, it is because they are usually out of control and have No good or reasonable answers.

    Those that have gotten good service sing the praises of this company. It's funny they just can ignore the fact so many people have paid and have been ignored.

    Now with this recent tragedy they will be set back yet again. As I said, when my son was killed it was a horrible time and even though we wanted to, it was almost impossible to function. Of course we all are saddened by the turn of events. Who here has not had a loved one die? Horrible to see them go slow and suffer as my brother and father did, but equally as bad when they are taken unexpectedly and you didn't get the chance to say goodbye and that you loved them. A young person is hard because you think of all of life's adventures they will never get to experience. A good lesson for us all to live your life well, love your family and never take anything for granted.

    I wish I lived closer to this apiary to volunteer to help in their time of crisis.

    My queen order means nothing to me now. I expect I'll get a refund at some point.

    One of my favorite phrase is "Over prepare, then go with the flow" Months ago I bought queen rearing stuff and now my weather is good enough to raise my own queens.

    Now, I'll just go with the flow.

    Lauri Miller

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miller...56954971040510

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lycoming New York
    Posts
    193

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Something I heard a long time ago, and I do mean a long time ago."Take care of the pennys and the dollars will take care of themselves" I don't understand how they can take care of large orders when they can't take care of small orders. Is it harder to package 20 queens or 200 queens. If they are producing 150,000 queens at $30 or $40 a queen hire someone to answer the phone. Something that might help is at least delete the phone messages and e-mails at least you would think you are being heard. Tony

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,851

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    Those that have gotten good service sing the praises of this company. It's funny they just can ignore the fact so many people have paid and have been ignored.
    I don't think anyone is ignoring anyone else. I placed an order and paid on September 1, 2011 requesting a ship date as early in 2012 as possible (preferably before the end of April, in order to breed from them during the Tulip Poplar bloom). I also ordered a nuc. I have not received my queens or my nuc yet. Communication is hit or miss in these difficult times. Key words above were REQUESTING and YET. At least, to me. I'm not concerned. Not even a little. I know I will get my queens or I will get my refund. The Doc has always made things up in the end for me, and I know he is swamped. I'll give a man some breathing room.

    If you aren't as patient, aren't as sure you will get your queens or get your refund, aren't as sure the Doc will make it up to you in the end, I understand. I disagree, but I understand. What gets frustrating is when people accuse him of being a con-man, a cheat, a liar, or a swindler. All he wants to do is help. All the customer wants is their demands fulfilled.

    I for one hope Russell's starts placing a minimum order requirement. I hope that minimum isn't that small either. I won't be able to get queens anymore, and I'll be pissed about it, but at least I'll stop hearing people whine and complain (either justified or not). Russell will be fine regardless.

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,871

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    All the customer wants is their demands fulfilled?

    More like, All the customer wants is his ORDER filled.
    Saying we are demanding makes it sound we are unreasonable and pushy.

    As for larger orders, there is no reason several people can't get an order together to meet minimum requirements for ordering if that should be the case.
    Last edited by Lauri; 05-19-2012 at 09:50 PM.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    It is not as simple as 20 Queens or 200. THe work is not packaging up a bee. It is in answering orders. writing shipping labels answering questions. filling special requests. being expected to know that the customer ordered a queen to meet the June honey flow. Fact is at the supplier end they are not going to remember or care when your flow is. that is your problem, plan ahead.

    In my experience. I can fill one order for 200 units for an average of one label. one package and three e-mails. In addition I can remember and fill every minute detail of that customers desires. 200 units to 200 customers results in 200 labels 200 packages on average 600 e-mails and a real big I don't give a **** what else you want. It is not the sale that causes the problem. It is the customer. Multiply the customers you multiply the problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by mudlake View Post
    Something I heard a long time ago, and I do mean a long time ago."Take care of the pennys and the dollars will take care of themselves" I don't understand how they can take care of large orders when they can't take care of small orders. Is it harder to package 20 queens or 200 queens. If they are producing 150,000 queens at $30 or $40 a queen hire someone to answer the phone. Something that might help is at least delete the phone messages and e-mails at least you would think you are being heard. Tony
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,851

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Now I know why the Doc won't come back . . .

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Dallas,GA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    It is not as simple as 20 Queens or 200. THe work is not packaging up a bee. It is in answering orders. writing shipping labels answering questions. filling special requests. being expected to know that the customer ordered a queen to meet the June honey flow. Fact is at the supplier end they are not going to remember or care when your flow is. that is your problem, plan ahead.

    In my experience. I can fill one order for 200 units for an average of one label. one package and three e-mails. In addition I can remember and fill every minute detail of that customers desires. 200 units to 200 customers results in 200 labels 200 packages on average 600 e-mails and a real big I don't give a **** what else you want. It is not the sale that causes the problem. It is the customer. Multiply the customers you multiply the problems.
    This is nothing unique to this apiary or even this industry. Russell charges a premium for their queens. There is no reason they shouldn't be able to provide communication with their customers.

  19. #59

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    It's called good marketing. If you the consumer are willing to pay for his high dollar bees, then he'll charge it. I pay it. I get good bees from him. I wouldnt say great, but they few Ive gotten have been good.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,871

    Default Re: Russell Queens

    All good information for the consumer. It would have been nice to know BEFORE we all sent out money. Perhaps Beesource should start a thread to the New keepers who get excited about ordering a few queens from breeders.

    Here's the problem:
    You click on Russell's web site, go to the queen page and think
    "Oh cool! Look at all these queens!"
    Like a kid in a candy store, new customers start choosing one of these, and two of those, etc.etc.

    You anxiously await your new queens,
    Then you start reading on this forum, folks are screaming mad and you think, "Uh Oh"
    Then you jump into a thread that gets out of control and runs amok.

    Some here seem to feel those people don't understand a thing about what it takes to fill their order and they are just LUCKY an apiary had the time to even take their money.

    This so reminds me of a few years ago I shipped in semen to breed my mare. After all the time and $$ of prep for the mare, vet ultrasounds, etc. When the semen came in my vet said it was all dead, the worst semen sample he had ever seen, dirty with white cells in it. When I called the breeder, she wanted to charge me again for shipping and collection. I was shocked she would want me to pay MORE money and said I would not do so, she spat out:

    "Shipping semen is a rich mans game."

    Funny, she never told me that before I paid for it. I was expecting , if not professional service , at least competent service and a viable product.

    If the farm, what ever the product, has dificulty handling orders or lots of customers, they need to say so right on the ordering page. Or just not offer a service they can't produce.

    If they have a good web site, offer tons of choices, then can't deliver???That is the fault of the buyer?

    OK folks, now we know. Be warned.

    After all this I expect, once the latest tragedy had been dealt with as well as possible,Mr. Russell will be posting a statement for changes to his business in the future. He will ether have to gear up with more office staff or turn away customers. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say after reading all this bickering. I don't have a fight with him, not mad at him or his business. It is those here that defend him to the death with no regard for our point of view that are starting to tick me off.

    Now we are all educated:
    "It is not as simple as 20 Queens or 200. THe work is not packaging up a bee. It is in answering orders. writing shipping labels answering questions. filling special requests. being expected to know that the customer ordered a queen to meet the June honey flow. Fact is at the supplier end they are not going to remember or care when your flow is. that is your problem, plan ahead.

    In my experience. I can fill one order for 200 units for an average of one label. one package and three e-mails. In addition I can remember and fill every minute detail of that customers desires. 200 units to 200 customers results in 200 labels 200 packages on average 600 e-mails and a real big I don't give a **** what else you want. It is not the sale that causes the problem. It is the customer. Multiply the customers you multiply the problems."

    I understand completly. Makes perfect sense. When I ordered my queens this never crossed my mind and am glad it has been pointed out.
    As long as this is disclosed to the customer before they place their order and they are aware, they can make an informed choice to take a chance on getting queens or not.

    I'd love to get my Sunkist Cordovan queens. As a "been their, done that" adult in my 50's, not much excites me anymore, but it is like Christmas when you get new bee stuff.

    A bit of a let down when it just turns so ugly.
    Last edited by Lauri; 05-20-2012 at 09:10 AM.

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