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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default "Insurance" package etiquitte

    I'm a newbee who's (hopefully) going to make it through the first year with my one hive intact and ready to go. However, I'm getting a bit anxious as I understand a lot of die-offs happen right as spring approaches and the bees try to brood up for the oncoming season. So, I'm trying to think about the best plan to ensure I have bees for the coming year. I'm committed to having/needing 2 hives this coming year, but have space for no more than that. The plan (if everything goes well) is to split my current hive when the drones start flying around here, giving me the two hives I need.

    So, here's the question: I'd like to have a backup plan in case my hive tanks it in the final part of winter. The obvious choice is to reserve a couple packages from our local supplier before they sell out. However, if my hive makes it, then I don't need (or want) the extra bees. I'll have no space and no woodenware for them. Is it kosher to reserve a couple packages and then if my hive makes it, un-reserve the packages a few weeks before they are to arrive? Does that create a nuiscence for the folks selling packages, or do they always have a list of buyers longer than their supply of packages? What policies do your local suppliers have? (I'd ask mine directly, but they are.... challenging, shall we say.... to talk to.)

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    P.S. Nucs are probably not a viable purchase option, as I run Warre hives, and there are no suppliers of Warre nucs around here that I know of.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    Ask your supplier. Chances are that they will be able to sell the package.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southbury, CT
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    You could always just throw them in a couple of Nuc boxes, let them fill out the frames and sell them later in the spring...

    I think it will cost you your deposit if you back out on packages a few weeks ahead. But it is worth asking if they could re-sell them if you didn't end up needing them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lake County, Indiana
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    Our bee club always has someone looking for bees, especially beginners. If you belong to a club, that may be somewhere ask to see if anyone wants them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    I would definitely go the Nuc route that Keeper suggested, if you can manage it. It doesn't cost much to set up a nuc, and you can probably get your money back out of it, depending on what nucs and packages are going for in your area. You could also let the nucs stay and overwinter them, giving you a real insurance policy for next year, if that's an option.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    Wish I could go the nuc route, but I have a *tiny* back yard. The neighbors (and wife) have been very understanding so far, but multiple hives (even if not full hives) are probably not an option. If they were, I'd order the packages w/o a second thought.

    From what I'm, hearing so far, even if I get stuck with the packages, I can probably sell 'em. Maybe I'll just bite the bullet and hope I have the "catastrophe" of having more bees than I have homes for.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    824

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    ubernerd: Any friends or family in a reasonable drive distance that may be willing to take a hive or two that you can maintain? A shame to see you limited to just two hives. Maybe people you work with that are gardeners? Many people are willing to take a hive onto the property once you educate them a bit. Just a thought.

    Prior advice is very solid. Since most suppliers usually sell out, they may be willing to just keep the package, but you should run it by them first. Hate to leave them stuck! Good of you to ask.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    Quote Originally Posted by ubernerd View Post
    ....reserve a couple packages from our local supplier before they sell out.
    They sell out because there is high demand for bees. If you order and don't need them, you won't have any difficulty finding a buyer. I order a couple pacakges every year "just in case", and sell them to newbee club members if I don't need them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,959

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    If your wife doesn't want "extra" hives in the backyard you could just warn her you might have to take a drive to pick some up if needed. I'm sure you could find bees for sale anytime in Florida,California or Texas might be an option!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    If you are in a club, you will almost always find several people who want bees and didn't get them ordered. I've never had trouble getting rid of a few extra packages. Suppliers, however, may or may not have some people who want them and probably won't want to guarantee they will sell them to someone else. They have a lot of money invested and usually at not that much profit considering the risk. But I'd say there is a good chance they can find someone if you can't.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    If it were me, I'd buy the packages and sell any surplus.

    If I were a small operator selling nucs or packages, and you reserved one, (or esp more than one) and failed to buy it when the time came without giving a couple weeks notice, next time you called me about buying bees, you'd probably find I didn't have any available for you.

    If your commitment to purchase from me were conditional on your hive survival, I'd probably reserve a colony for you on the condition that if anybody else wanted it first, I'd sell it to them.

    In other words, I'd refuse to accept any risk attached to your ability to keep the bees you have alive.
    Money has time value, and if you are a no show on delivery day, not only is the money for the sale not in pocket, but there is labor expense in taking the colony back to the yard, if a nuc and hiving it, if a package.

    Then preparing it to be moved again when the *actual* purchaser buys it.

    It's unfair to transfer the risk of a availability of the bees for sale to the producer when that risk is created in your yard.

    So if you reserve one, make sure the supplier knows what's going on.
    If he's cool with it, no problem.

    If he's not, well, HE's who you should be asking about this in the first place.

    Or, again, just buy the bees and sell what you can't use.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    Thanks for all the perspective. I mainly wanted to know if it was a reasonable question to even ask my supplier, or whether it would be elicit a "Are you crazy?" response for even bringing it up. Seems like the consensus is that it's an "ask-able" question, and my supplier should feel free to say, "no" if they'd like. Fair enough.

    As it turns out, when I called this evening, they seemed totally unphased by the request and just asked that I let 'em know my final decision at least a few days before the scheduled package arrival date. Apparently, they have more requests for packages than they can fill. Hopefully my hive survive *and* I figure out a place to add a couple more.

    Thanks again for the responses. It's nice to get a range of opinions from reasonable and thoughtful folks.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,323

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    Is the supplier organized or not? Is it chaos on pickup day? In our attempt to get people bees in great shape I tell them not to order them if they are not sure if they are not 100 % sure they want them. If you do order them from us bee prepared to dump the package yourself. That or resell it yourself. If you were producing packages you would understand why. Last minute changes just screw up an already fragile situation in the busiest time of the year where every second counts. Do your supplier a favor. Decide and then be a man of your word. Don't make him and other beeks he is supplying risk their year just cause you cant make up your mind. Sounds like you want to sell both short and long?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southbury, CT
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    Package sellers are often pretty accommodating and receive a lot of odd requests. (queenless packages, two packages 1 queen, clip and mark, mark but not clip etc) I would have no problem re-selling two packages and would not have a problem doing what you suggested. But I would not be able to do it for a dozen packages.

    Glad this worked out for you.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,162

    Default Re: "Insurance" package etiquitte

    > I understand a lot of die-offs happen right as spring approaches and the bees try to brood up for the oncoming season.

    Most of the die offs this time of the year are due to starvation, Make sure your hive has stores and feed them if they need it.

    You can always look for another bee yard.
    You can never have to many bees

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