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Thread: Shipping Queens

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Fayetteville, Arkansas
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    Default Shipping Queens

    I'm interested in shipping queens in 2014.

    What I'm looking for is methods, carriers, packing, timing, any relevant information.

    Specifically, I'm interested in methods for shipping small numbers of queens, but I'm interested in all possible iterations.

    How have you received them successfully? I've only purchased queens once and they came in a little Priority Mail cardboard box.

    How have you received them unsuccessfully? Please share your experience.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    I've received them UPS across country 2nd day. Three hole cages with attendants in each cage. The cages where glued (hot glue gun) inside a UPS box 4x12x15 approximate dimensions. The box had about 12 dime sized ventilation holes punched in each side. No problems.

    I've send 1-20 per shipment in JZBZ battery box, JZBZ cages attendants shook into battery box UPS and USPS flat rate envelope express with 25 ish holes punched in each side. Extra candy added in box and a light sprinkle of moisture before shipping.

    USPS... Each time I have to deal with a new clerk they have to "check" to see if its okay. They often give bad information and generally have a less then helpful attitude. It helps if you go and meet with the supervisor and makes sure at least one of the clerks is aware of the conversation. Take a mock up example of how you will ship and discuss packaging etc before you show up with queens. Maybe it's better where you live.
    UPS depot staff is better but still not perfect, they suggested that I mail queens with a piece of honey comb so they had something to eat! My local UPS store never gives me a problem and the owner is knowledgable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    It's hard to predict what some person from UPS or USPS may or may not do. I have been shipping mine through USPS Express mail. Most places are overnight. Some are 2nd day. If they are late I collect on that (easy to file and collect as it's all facts based on dates). If they die, I usually don't bother to try to collect on the bees as the paperwork is too time consuming and difficult. Usually when they die they are late...

    I never ship it the temperatures are predicted to be above 85 F either where I am or where they are being delivered. If it's hot, they don't survive. I put them in the express envelope with holes punched for air. I have a rubber stamp that say "Live Queen Bees" and I put four of those on each side of the envelope. The queens are in JZBZ cages with candy in the tube and a cap over that.

    If I were shipping close by, I might do priority instead, but all in all, it is less hassle to do Express.

    I also try to get specific instructions from the customer on whether I should or should not require a signature. For someone who is usually there or who can run to the post office easily this may be better than having them left in a mailbox. Sometimes, though, this can cause the queen to make several round trips in a hot truck and cause more stress and problems. It depends on the circumstances whether it is better to require or not require a signature.

    I try to get a phone number (which I put on the label) for the customer so hopefully they will call them, and I write a note on the label for them to call the customer.

    I recommend they notify their post office that the bees are coming. Many will call you, some even in the middle of the night if you like, to pick them up. But a dialog will allow the customer to make the best arrangements they can with the post office.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,538

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Had a bad experience with USPS Priority Mail. 2 day guaranteed delivery. Enroute from Mississippi to Ohio, chilly weather, queens sat in a Minn. warehouse for 5 days.
    Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,021

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Try your local Ag extension office first.

    Contact, UPS next day air. Beeweaver uses them. They're pricey, but I received a complete package from Texas with very few losses.

    Form an LLC, or whichever is best in AK.

    Let me be clear, they want your genetics, so it doesn't even need to be mated.

    Oh, look up Mel's on the spot queen rearimg.

    Good luck young man.

    WLC.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Solomon

    I received 10 northern bred queens last Wednesday that were shipped from the east coast on that Tuesday. USPS express and they arrived the next morning in Santa Fe. JZBZ cages with candy plugs. The shipper had the package clearly marked "LIVE BEES". The cages were just loose inside the cardboard envelope. The bees were some of the liveliest I have received. Bush is correct make sure you provide a correct phone number for the end customer. I always let my mail carrier know a few days in advance that I am expecting queens. The post office here always calls me first thing and holds the queens for me at the post office. I would strongly advise against any delivery by the mail carrier. The are much safer at the post office.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Elaborating on the cardboard box I recieved, it had four JZBZ cages in it, taped to the side (inside of course), with a wet sponge between them. Any views on the sponge idea?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Sorry I encouraged it by replying.

    I think it may be a good point to have queens help at depot or post office.
    I requested that UPS hold my last order but they delivered anyways. It was a hot day and the queens where left by my door in the sun.
    I shipped some queens marked with Name and Phone # and "General Delivery" to post office no way those would mistakenly get put on a truck out for delivery.

    Has anyone else had an issue with asking queens to be held at office and being sent out for delivery anyways?

    Does anyone suggest shipping with sponge etc?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
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    608

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Solomon yes you will also need a certificate of health from your state to ship your queens. The package I received last week had it clearly identified on the outside of the envelope. It appears that your original question (simple as it was) has irked some by their response, not sure why.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Fayetteville, Arkansas
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    I certainly do appreciate the relevant information that I have received in this thread. I think I will ask the customer and see exactly what he wants.
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 05-31-2013 at 05:47 PM.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    3,585

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Actually if the customer is in the southeast region - and they probably should be if they are ordering queens from you - a USPS flat rate box with 3 hole cages glued to the inside and plenty of vent holes would probably work fine and be very economical. Regional mail usually arrives in 1-2 days.

    Mailing a test letter or two along the same route might be prudent though.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    611

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    I ship around 100 mated and virgin queens each week. Mated in JZBZ cages and virgins in Cali. mini cages. They all go USPS express mail, hold at post office. I don't just write hold on the envelope, that is part of the shipping protocol. I use the flat rate envelopes up to 20 queens. Punch holes around the exterior edges. For more than 20 use the rightway shippers.

    Like MB said sometimes they guarantee 1 day and it takes 2 but often they say 2 and they arrive overnight. So I don't ask for reimbursement unless they just don't arrive.

    My bees are inspected each year and I have healt certificates to send with each shipment. Check with your state Apiary Inspector for that.

    David, Why would you say that only Southeast beeks should be ordering from him?

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

  13. #13
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    Dec 2002
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    Fayetteville, Arkansas
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Broke-T View Post
    David, Why would you say that only Southeast beeks should be ordering from him?
    I generally only sell local. I only promote local results. I promote only local bees. I don't want those far afield to buy bees from me, I want them to support their own local treatment-free queen and bee producers. My first goal is not to make money, it's to get quality bees to local people who keep having trouble ordering non-local packages and do it all treatment-free. That's what I do.

    I am a specialty shop. Shipping is something new that will be done on a VERY limited basis and only with some volume in each shipment. If I do start selling queens in some volume (only one at a time for locals thus far) I think I will need to build more queen castles. I only have 10 3x3's and I use them to build up to 5-frame nucs. But so far, this is a one time thing for next year.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Broke T,

    Do you ship over the summer ?
    Have you had problems with the heat and what have you done to over come it?

  15. #15
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Broke-t - What Solomon Parker said. But anyone should buy from whoever they want, and will agree to sell. I didn't mean anything by it other than if you put any stock in the whole locally adapted concept, closer is better.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
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    611

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    Broke T,

    Do you ship over the summer ?
    Have you had problems with the heat and what have you done to over come it?
    No, I shut down July 1st, partly because of shipping issues and partly because we have very little blooming in July and August.

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

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    I need to ship 3 queens from WA to OR, so over a state border line. The customer suggested priority small box, 2 day shipping. I have read the thread, but I am not sure about a few things. Keep in mind I only use California cages for queens.

    0. Is priority box better than priority hard envelope or it does not matter?
    1. Where should the cages be glued, on the side, in the center, touching each other side by side with wire side up, or some distance from each other wire to the side?
    2. How many attendants does each queen need assuming they get stuck in mail for 3 days? When I sell "local pickup" I only add 2-3 attendants.
    3. Can I add insurance for live delivery?
    4. Should I give it a spay of water to make it slightly moist?
    5. Do I absolutely need heath certificate to ship, or it just depends on diligence of the post office?

    Thanks.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    >0. Is priority box better than priority hard envelope or it does not matter?

    I use an Express envelope... I didn't have much like with priority. You need holes punched around the edges and at least a few holes out in the center.

    >1. Where should the cages be glued, on the side, in the center, touching each other side by side with wire side up, or some distance from each other wire to the side?

    Mine are just in the envelope, not taped, or glued or anything else.

    >2. How many attendants does each queen need assuming they get stuck in mail for 3 days? When I sell "local pickup" I only add 2-3 attendants.

    I have never done less than 4.

    >3. Can I add insurance for live delivery?

    I've never had luck collecting. The paperwork is more work than it's worth.

    >4. Should I give it a spay of water to make it slightly moist?

    No.

    >5. Do I absolutely need heath certificate to ship, or it just depends on diligence of the post office?

    What do you mean by "absolutely"? If you're asking if the post office checks, I have not seen anyone check, but then I've always had a certificate. If you're asking it anyone would notice? Probably not. If you're asking if it's legal? That depends on the laws in OR.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
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    611

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    I use express mail only. USPS guarantees 1 or 2 days with Express but Priority can take 4 to 5 days with no guarantee even for that.

    I use flat rate envelope with holes punched around the sides. I use JZBZ cages for mated queens and they are just dropped in envelope. I use Cali. mini cages for virgins and I glue then to card stock on there side with space between cages. I am worried the screen will get turned up or down against the papar envelope if I don't glue them sideways.

    I use 4 attendants with virgins and 5 with mated.

    No water spray.

    Health paper is probably required and I would not buy from anyone who could not supply one.

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

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: Shipping Queens

    Mike and Johny, thanks for the heads up and instructions. This will definitely be very helpful.

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