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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Mt. Vernon, OH
    Posts
    128

    Default catching and selling swarms

    does anyone have any knowledge or experience catching and selling nucs made from swarms?

    here is my thought, i have plenty of access to ground in multiple counties in central ohio. my thought is to make a bunch of five frame swarm traps and catch as many as i could. keeping some for myself and selling any surplus i would be lucky enough to catch?

    i assume it would be similar enough to selling nucs from my existing hives, so....should it be priced the same? does anyone have any experience doing this? is the market close enough to selling nucs?

    just looking for info on this!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,587

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    Note that I have only purchased packages, not nucs.

    IMO, most beekeepers buying a nuc would expect that the queen in the nuc laid the eggs/brood in the nuc. Unless the nuc is described as "overwintered" one would not expect that the bulk of the workers are offspring from the queen. I realize that not all nucs sold meet the forgoing description.

    In my opinion, as long as you provide an accurate description of the nucs/bees/swarms you are selling, there should not be a problem. I would think that an overwintered nuc would fetch a higher price than a recently hived swarm, but since nucs and hived bees aren't really shippable items, pricing is almost entirely dependent on what your local customers are prepared to pay.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,080

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    Same thing? Same price.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Mt. Vernon, OH
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    i did think about the laying queen. maybe i should elaberate a little more.....

    i thought of catching the swarm (hopefully earlier the better) and keeping them until she was laying, marketing them by what ever means, when one was sold, transfer it to one of those cardboard nuc boxes and move forward.

    with her laying, there should less of a chance of queen rejection or supercedure like you sometimes run into with packages.

    but you are right, as long as the are labeled accurately, i could sell them honestly. as far as pricing, with a laying queen, i would think "nuc price" or there abouts would be fair.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    I did just that this summer. I caught 9 swarms and sold off some splits from overwintered queens and some from captured swarms. I was up front with the buyers and gave them their choice in which they preferred. I tried to mark all the queens so a first time beekeeper could more easily spot them. I monitored until they were laying well and the NUC was strong before sale. Giving them a monitoring period allows you to see queen laying pattern as well as watch for mites and any other disease. I run all medium equipment and make my own custom 6 frame NUC boxes. I have gotten feedback from buyers that they were great bees and they want more next year if I have them. I would love to establish a new out-yard where I could quarantine captured swarms before integrating with my production apiary.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,712

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    Just as long as the hive is EXACTLY like a nuc (laying queen, full frames of drawn comb, bees, eggs and larvae I don't see why you couldn't get nuc pricing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    I did as Mr. Beeman describes and let my swarms build up to fill my 6 frame medium NUC boxes. Waited until they were packed with brood and pollen and then sold them. I wanted to know what kind of queen there was before I sold them. I did not want a buyer to come back at me because the queen had a bad pattern.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    5 frame trap seems kind of small

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,993

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    5 frame trap seems kind of small
    They work well for me. This one came three hours after placement.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    995

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    Only issue I can see is that a swarm has an old queen from the mother hive of unknown age and genetics and when you purchase a nuc you generally expect to get a relatively young queen of known age and relatively known genetics.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,080

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    assume so, or do you ask?
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    So requeen the nuc with a young queen . Or be sure to tell the buyer what he is getting. I think we are going to be at that point soon.
    We do a side business of bee removal and the number of hives in our back yard is getting where there is not room for the dogs to do their business. I have got to start moving some of the bees we collect to new homes so I plan to advertise them in the spring. I will produce some queens from our better hives and use them to requeen the feral hives that we have. After the hive builds out and the queen is one that I would be happy with we will sell them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, NY
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    I caught a swarm this year, probably from one of my hives. I ended up keeping it for 3 weeks or so and letting it build out 4 or 5 frames. Once they were working on drawing and filling out the 5th, I sold them (underpriced, but I didn't want another hive at the time). I was upfront with the buyer, and they knew exactly what they were getting. We both made out in the deal.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    705

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    On the flip side of the coin some people might be more comfortable purchasing a local "warm nuc" as opposed to a queen raised in another state and or climate who could be superseded as soon as the colony builds to substantial size and they realize she's not exactly the cream of the crop so to speak. Remember a robust colony having swarmed, was able to be in a position to swarm because of the queen's capacity for egg laying. Why wouldn't you want her to head up your captured swarm? Don't be so quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    My research indicates that colonies from swarms often do very well, even if they are escaped apiary bees, if you catch them early enough in the season. I caught one swarm this year, in a 5 frame nuc box, and it's now one of my most vigorous colonies.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,169

    Default Re: catching and selling swarms

    I captured 13 swarms this past season sold two of them. my best example was from capture to sold for $160 in less than 30 days. Not bad for an hour or so of effort plus the equipment that went with them. It is exactly like selling nucs. I just keep them long enough to be able to evaluate the queen and the colony overall. I keep the best.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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