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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Westchester NY
    Posts
    238

    Default Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Hello,
    Being that it is getting to be about the time of year--already--that package orders need to be put in because of huge demand I was thinking something that should get more posts--namely getting off the package treadmill. What I mean buy that is the tread many have of just buying packages every year to cover losses. This is really alot more important than many folks around here are obsessed with the treatment treadmill


    If more time was spent concerned with propagation at least through splits, many new and intermediate beekeepers would have more stock to play with treatment free, top bar hives etc, but instead people waste too much time and energy only on treatment methods and alternative beekeeping first. Making more hives should really be a beekeeping basic its not that advanced or mysterious but many feel that way because they never try it. Part of any good treatment method is being able to recover from a failed method or experiement. That and packages are starting to get really expensive! Of course if you are completely wiped out or brand new to beekeeping this may be necessary but otherwise it is very important that every beekeeper knows how to make increase of their hives.
    Just my two cents
    Last edited by xcugat; 12-06-2012 at 03:24 PM.
    http://www.peekskillnurseries.com
    Specialists in Ground Cover plants since 1937. Talk to me about ground-covers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Oshawa, Ontario
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    This should be re-posted in the spring.
    You're right, but it's too late this year, and people won't remember this in the spring when they start their hives.

    I more than doubled my hives this year, but only took 60 lbs of honey from 8 hives (2 deeps and 1 medium for each lang for winter), and took nothing
    from my top bar hives.
    Bees cost honey or money.
    I'll keep the money and take the hit in honey.
    The bees will make more next year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,465

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    I hear there are beekeepers wintering nucleus colonies in the north, and getting off the package treadmill. Rumor has it this is going on everywhere fro Maine to Michigan and New York to Virginia. Can it be?

    Is there any good information on BeeSource about this, or should I just jump on the wagon and buy packaged bees from the dealers?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,898

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Xcugat..Michael... I sell bees, but, I completely agree with you. If people would really take care of them, they can make a split or two in early Spring and still not hurt the parent colony, and have the new colony for only the cost of a new queen. You could also let your split make it's own queen from queen cells you will find in the Spring, and help reduce swarming. Only problem with them making their own queen is, you lose valuable time during the Spring honey flow, but, it is valuable experience for the new beekeeper, and every newbee should do it, just for the experience.

    Get your name on the local Agriculture and Police Dept call list for swarm removal,(check with local and State requirements for this), might also want to team up with someone (if you don't have the experience) and do a cutout or trapout. Get as many free bees as you can.

    If you are going to purchase, look into nucs vrs packages. Nucs are already established, queen laying, and will have a headstart on Package bees, but, they are a little more expensive.

    I agree with Gord, repost this in the Spring. Good Info. Get the discussion started again.

    Will be interesting to see how the bees come through the Winter, and how many colonies we have to work with.

    cchoganjr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,946

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    @Mr. Hogan - you do realize that Michael Palmer has long been speaking out on the benefits of a "sustainable apiary" both in this forum and at bee events like EAS. Oh yes, and he produces queens and nucs that are highly sought after in my area.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,643

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    xcugat, mr. palmer was being sarcastic, here ya go:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...=overwintering
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    As much as Mr. Palmer extoles the virtues of nucs and local bees (which I too very much like), I'd like to extole the benefit of remembering what it's like starting out and maybe only having the time/money/personal resources to have, say, two hives. Very small hobby beekeepers like this shouldn't be scolded for not keeping more hives, and because local nucs/bees normally have to be ordered long in advance to ensure not being on a waiting list where one may or may not get the bees, packages are a reliable, later-orderable option. Those two factors, reliable and late-orderable, are really what makes very small beekeepers who don't want to expand use packages.

    I don't want to argue about the benefits of local bees because the benefits are clear, I'm just pointing out why packages are still ordered a lot, and why those who have expanded and can cover their own losses often forget that others cannot. This is akin to giving the advice of "just give them some frames of drawn comb" to a first year beekeeper who is staring at nothing but frames of foundation.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Swarms are often available sooner and grow much better than packages.

    Silly to buy bees at all IF you have swarms available for capture in your area.

    Hell, I charge folks to come get them, so my new hives are making me money even before I get them home.

    AND, it's a blast catching them!




    Don

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,328

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Allow me to point out that while the original post never actually used the word "splitting", its quite clear that that was he was referring to.

    Quote Originally Posted by xcugat View Post
    Making more hives should really be a beekeeping basic its not that advanced or mysterious but many feel that way because they never try it.
    You can't read Beesource for very long without discovering that Michael Palmer has posted volumes on techniques for increasing one's hive count by splitting.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,142

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    xcugat,
    You are timely, so many will not start to look for bees until too late. True last year, will be true next year. Making splits out of packages is a hard game to win. Splits out of a 2nd year package, if it is alive, is only a little easier when it is hanging on itself.

    Libhart, could not have said it better.

    I wish more local spring splits were available for the beginner. Even sales of one or two from locals would reduce the package need.

    MP, I laughed.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Rumor has it this is going on everywhere fro Maine to Michigan and New York to Virginia. Can it be?
    Hey don't forget us "other" northerners from the Pacific NW (WA state). I'm wintering 20 nucs this year thanks to you and some others.

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    havana fl
    Posts
    1,358

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I hear there are beekeepers wintering nucleus colonies in the north, and getting off the package treadmill. Rumor has it this is going on everywhere fro Maine to Michigan and New York to Virginia. Can it be?

    Is there any good information on BeeSource about this, or should I just jump on the wagon and buy packaged bees from the dealers?
    Say it ain't so
    Im really not that serious

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by libhart View Post
    As much as Mr. Palmer extoles the virtues of nucs and local bees (which I too very much like), I'd like to extole the benefit of remembering what it's like starting out and maybe only having the time/money/personal resources to have, say, two hives. Very small hobby beekeepers like this shouldn't be scolded for not keeping more hives, and because local nucs/bees normally have to be ordered long in advance to ensure not being on a waiting list where one may or may not get the bees, packages are a reliable, later-orderable option. Those two factors, reliable and late-orderable, are really what makes very small beekeepers who don't want to expand use packages.

    I don't want to argue about the benefits of local bees because the benefits are clear, I'm just pointing out why packages are still ordered a lot, and why those who have expanded and can cover their own losses often forget that others cannot. This is akin to giving the advice of "just give them some frames of drawn comb" to a first year beekeeper who is staring at nothing but frames of foundation.
    Interesting topic for me, an aspiring beekeeper with limited funds. Local nucs are not only expensive, but already sold-out. The downside of having so many newcomers to the hobby is lack of contacts/increased competition for limited resources. I'll count myself lucky if I'm able to catch a swarm, but chances are someone like myself will have to shell out the cash for a package and do the best they can.

    Hopefully the hobby will evolve to deal with the increased interest soon.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Packages do much better than overwintered hives or splits. Although we sell, produce, and use both packages and splits I am convinced that the extra work and expense with the packages is outweighed by the "umph" they exhibit compared to all other forms of increase.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    should I just jump on the wagon and buy packaged bees from the dealers?
    I don't know if word gets out about this thread the guys that shake packages might not even bother this year! Here in Florida it's hard enough to overwinter Nucs when they will only fly and take feed for a couple hours during our coldest days.The constant mite pressures, hurricanes and high heat and humidity make them a great choice for survivor stock if you can find them!

    (Thanks for your contributions, I enjoy your post)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,643

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    most of my increase this year came from overwintered nucs, although i got a few from splits and swarms.

    luckily, overwintered losses are not high in my area.

    now that i have gotten close to my 20 hive capacity, i won't overwinter nucs again, but rather rely on splits and swarms to fill in the gaps.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,452

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    I think that there is a bit of a misconception among some northeners that southern beekeeping is a panacea. While they do get milder winters and much earlier springs that is offset by the mite challenges that result from longer seasons and quite often long hot summers with a dearth of nectar. I love the benefits of getting bees down south for the winter but I hesitate to ever move them there too early as I prefer to see the queens shut down up north first.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,142

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Outcomes with a package are a crap shoot. A drone layer is a package quality issue. A package installed in a warm spell with flowers everywhere will probably do well. A package installed before 2 weeks of rain and cold is going to struggle for a long time, without drawn comb a really long time. Not my first choice but often the only choice. Try for a nuc, but count on a package to a least arrive.
    A swarm here is so rare it makes the news, not counting on that.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    854

    Cool Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    Just upped my order for packages. went from 900 to 1200 packages. With the big honey shortage, the price of honey will go up again this year. The GOLD RUSH is on. Some have the time to try things and see. Well for me I'm not getting any younger. Would love to try some new things, but if you have something that works and works well why change. LOVE THIS ICON.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,643

    Default Re: Getting off the "package treadmill"

    jim, very good point about the mites. lost one this fall from them, but will keep a watchful eye next year...
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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