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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Hello all,
    We are tentatively thinking about beginning a queen rearing operation next year, and I am wondering if 50 queens at a time, totaling to 200 hundred throughout the season, is too much to expect for a first year. I would plan to have 50 mini nucs, so that is all I can raise "at a time". I am just wondering if selling two hundred queens in our very first season is too preposterous to expect, or maybe should I expect to sell more? The queens would be Russians.

    Also, to those who ship queens: How do you estimate shipping costs? I am (not willingly) pretty ignorant concerning methods of shipping and suchlike, but I am stumped as to how I would find shipping costs.

    Any help and/or input on either of these matters would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    266

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    if you wish to sell,, make sure you have good quality certified,, queens,,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Thinking you'll get 4 rounds from your mating nucs is optimistic. Planning on 100% catch for your sales is asking for trouble.

    You might get three rounds of queens, if you can stay on schedule. Don't plan on more than 50% in your first year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Thinking you'll get 4 rounds from your mating nucs is optimistic. Planning on 100% catch for your sales is asking for trouble.

    You might get three rounds of queens, if you can stay on schedule. Don't plan on more than 50% in your first year.
    Thanks, Michael, for this information. I appreciate you letting me know this; I don't know what to expect on a first year commercial level, and giving a realistic view is very helpful. I don't plan for 100% success, but I got a bit of down-home queen rearing experience on my own hives this year (2012). I have the grafting technique down well, and have 80%-85% takes on grafts, and a little less with mating for same reason. I am pretty sure I need more drone saturation. Then I will plan for 50% for this year, and only three round out of my nucs. I am pleased with my small-scale success of the past year, having excellent quality in the final queens, and hope to do it on a larger scale this next year. I appreciate it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,374

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Just don't saddle yourself with bookings and schedules the first year. When you get some I am betting you can sell them on here fairly easily. Remember you can bank mated queens for a while if need be. Folks really like to know something about lineage, if you can afford a breeder from Glenn's or anyplace that can certify the stock it would make them easier to market and worth a bit more even if they are mated to your local drones.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Have you made your queen banks yet? You might as well make 200 cages to fit into about 4 queen bank frames. Equipment comes first, or you lose them all. 48 queens is just one 3-bar queen frame, which won't likely come out 100% your first few tries. With your 150 hives, you should try to make a run a day for about a 3 or 4 days, setting up a cell builder and a graft a day.

    Set up your calendars for each hive now. I use a 50-day cycle from cell starter preparation to judging the brood pattern of the new queen. PM me with your address and I'll send you copies of my combined calendars.

    A Cloake Board is a good thing to make, and read Dr. Susan Cobey's article about the method. There is also an excellent thread by Oldtimer regarding Cut-Cell method (Jay Smith).

    Are you using Doolittle method, Alley / Smith method, or another? Grafting (Doolittle) will take longer to learn, but is worth learning anyways. Cut-Cell method (Henry Alley / Jay Smith) will likely produce better queens.

    Shipping comes after you are successfully raising queens, but go ahead and ship some empty cages to your cousin in Wingnut, Utah, with "LIVE BEES" written prominently on them and a letter explaining what you are doing. You will learn more than just shipping cost. Talk to an eBay business owner in your area about setting up for shipping, cost charts, etc. - they usually have it down better than the Post Office, UPS, or Fed-Ex. Also, I find an instruction sheet for queen introduction helps the newbies. I ship mine with a Laidlaw introduction cage, and charge more for it.

    Also, try a batch of queen candy. Nulomoline or Dri-vert and powdered sugar formulas are in Harry Laidlaw's book, Contemporary Queen Rearing, amongst other places.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-20-2012 at 10:24 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,350

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Howdy westernbeekeeper,
    200 hundred is a lot of queens. Twenty thousand, wow. I sure hope I can reach that point, someday. Quite ambitious for a first year. My best guess is, I'm misinterpreting your OP.

    Anyway, welcome to the world of queen production. It is a very rewarding endeavor. Lots of very good information from all the other posters in this thread. Very nice.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Benjamin for your first year you may not have to worry much about shipping, I started raising my own queens a couple of years ago and as soon as the local beeks found out they were all asking about queens and if I would have any for sale. I have a fellow beek that would have bought 200 if I had them but I was really only raising for myself to expand. I may order a few breeders next year and raise 100 or so to sell but still am not ready for anything commercial, although it has always been the direction I wanted to take since we have plenty of back yard beeks and honey producers around here. The only thing holding me back right now is equipment which I am hoping to remedy in the off season. Good Luck with it.
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    I shipped around 500 this year thru the post office. For small orders up to about 15 I take a flate rate express mail envelope and punch holes around 3 sides about an inch apart for air. Cost for shipping is 18.95 For larger orders I go with the Right Way shipping box from Mann Lake. Shipped express mail it will vary, but usually its aroud 28 to 30 dollars.

    I prefer not to bank queens and have been lucky and haven't had to this year. I have the queens presold and pull them on Monday morning and ship that afternoon. Express mail will be 1 or 2 day delivery so queens are back in a hive within 3 days and quickly go back to laying.

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    BrokeT - are you using Q-candy, or syrup in a can, or other feeding startegy?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Howdy westernbeekeeper,
    200 hundred is a lot of queens. Twenty thousand, wow. I sure hope I can reach that point, someday. Quite ambitious for a first year. My best guess is, I'm misinterpreting your OP.
    What do you mean by OP?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    OP = Original Poster
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,119

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    What do you mean by OP?
    OP means Original Post, referring to your first post that started the thread.

    Perhaps you should clarify whether you mean 200 hundred (20,000) or 200 queens! As Joseph Clemmons noted, there is quite a difference.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,350

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    OP = original post

    Oops, someone already responded, for me. Thanks
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 08-23-2012 at 08:17 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Broke-T View Post
    I shipped around 500 this year thru the post office. For small orders up to about 15 I take a flate rate express mail envelope and punch holes around 3 sides about an inch apart for air. Cost for shipping is 18.95 For larger orders I go with the Right Way shipping box from Mann Lake. Shipped express mail it will vary, but usually its aroud 28 to 30 dollars.

    I prefer not to bank queens and have been lucky and haven't had to this year. I have the queens presold and pull them on Monday morning and ship that afternoon. Express mail will be 1 or 2 day delivery so queens are back in a hive within 3 days and quickly go back to laying.

    Johnny
    Ahh shipping queens! Talk about RISK! After all the effort and hard work to
    produce fine queens you then have to SHIP THEM using a third party.
    My least favorite part of producing breeding stock for others!

    UPS: Disadvantages--more expensive, no insurance.
    USPS Express Mail: Disadvantages--erratic delivery performance and
    non-existent tracking of shipped package. Post-office lines often way too
    long.

    UPS: Advantages--almost flawless delivery. Excellent tracking--almost
    always know where the package is. Customer can auto-track package. Easy to
    ship (convenient drop-off).
    USPS Express Mail: Advantages--Insurable!

    We're going mostly UPS these days--we had a loss from the USPS folks where
    they could not tell us where the packages were after 4+ hours on the phone
    with several different postal managers etc. etc. etc.--that was not worth
    the time and angst for us and the customers waiting for the queens.

    If the USPS Express Mail service was more reliable, I'd stick with them.
    However, what UPS does give is excellent service, and almost perfect
    reliability. It costs though. One's volume determines shipping rates. We
    also use the "Riteway" style shipping container--now using Mann Lake's
    version too. We have to pass the cost of reliable shipping onto the purchaser, but the
    point is:

    If your going to shop for good queens and invest in them, why compromise on
    the shipping?


    Most folks see the sensibility in this.

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Wiyh breeder queens and large orders UPS may be an option. But with small orders it is cost prohibitive. If you only need one queen, $20 for queen and $20 for shipping put you at $40 with USPS. With UPS it would be around $60. Thats a lot for 1 queen.

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

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,350

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    I like the up front cost of USPS and it has worked well for nearby shipments, but when I'm shipping out of state, nothing beats UPS. USPS may be more economical up front, but once they've killed the first shipment, then the replacements for the first shipment are killed, soon I realize just how reasonable UPS's prices really are.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Sounds like the consensus is: large order out-of-state = UPS; small local orders = USPS and insure it.

    As for small orders - don't order out of state, make a queen! And for large orders locally, go pick them up yourself. Does that sound about right?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Sounds like the consensus is: large order out-of-state = UPS; small local orders = USPS and insure it.
    As for small orders - don't order out of state, make a queen! And for large orders locally, go pick them up yourself. Does that sound about right?
    It's tough to pick up orders when they're several states and seasons away!

    Most queen producers of any volume will ship queens to you anyway you want:
    however, they're preference would be UPS overnight because of UPS shipping's reliability and ease of use.
    The order size is irrelevant.

    Adam
    www.vpqueenbees.com

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