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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Well Michael, your certainly entitled to your comments, so no need to pull fur out over it...... I did look closer at the study info where the lost 60% And the glaring issue the shows up is the timing of the requeen. When you install a package and then requeen it 2 months later with "local queens" you unwittingly gave them a huge advantage. you have in effect done a brood break for mites. That alone will explain a huge difference in survival. I am not sure if the guys putting out this info do it on purpose, or just don't think it thru. I tend to believe for the most part its intentional misleading. Seems to be some money involved.

    I do know when you hang around with guys who think alike your going to hear the same stories...its group mentality. I assume Michael that your customers are going to tell you that stuff. Just as many of mine love their packages....... The question is can you look past it and get to the bottom of it?

    Reality is that a packages is a queen and some support staff. in 2 months. all that support is gone. so how well the queen is mated and produces is really the key.
    I do wonder at times how we get good queens at all from some areas. the sheer number of queens to be breed makes me wonder where the heck all the drones can come from! but it does seem to happen.

    Like I said before, despite all the rhetoric, there doesn't seem to be a magic bullet. look at your operation and decide what fits.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    I would like to add a point here, something I hope makes it thru. sometimes putting things to words is not my strong suit. I am an engineer, with a lot of experince, who has for the last 10 year has been hired to solve problems. To do that takes a a few pieces principle to be able to follow. Much like a real Scientist. (not claiming to be one) Most people see what they want, form a Hypothesis, and then collect data or opinions that support that. Take "the world is flat" how long did that go on??
    I see the same here, anecdotal discussions, comments and a chorus of support. Very little backed by facts or reasons. That is a problem to me. When a Hive fails, be it package, nuc, or swarm. the question is why? what happened? do I really know? what was different about that one?? I formulate a theory, and then try to test it. not just on one but many. Take screen bottom boards. most here will swear they solved mite problems. I found in my yards hive with them either move up or fail to thrive. I can't make honey at all on a single with a screen Bottom. doubles will do about the same as a solid single.

    So I take this approach to this conversation. How much of "packages suck" is fact and how much is ignorance?? Packages have limitations, so do nucs and swarms. the real key to me is understanding those REAL truths and deciding what fits your operations. Michael has found nucs to be a asset. Honey housholder works straight off packages, both are pretty happy with there operations and success.
    So far for me, well it doesn't matter...... Just try not to let offhand diatribe cloud opinions and misguide reality.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,601

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    I liked that gm.

    When something goes wrong in my outfit I blame the beekeeper first and try to figure out what I could have done wrong. Not finding any fault of mine, which isn't the norm, I blame the weather. But, if I find other beekeepers w/ the same problem, maybe it's the supplier or the quality of queens these days.

    Once through w/ that exercise I try to figure out what to do differently next season.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    If your going to be negative lets be truthful and put the blame where it lies. Bees and queens don't last like they used to. I don't care if they are produced in Greenland or tierra del fuego or in the show me state. They are all a poor reflection of the way things were in the past........
    How were things in the past?

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,452

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Before we became migratory we used to rely on lots of southern packages and queens (mostly from Weavers BTW). I remember my dad complaining 30 years ago that queens just don't have the vitality that they used to (he started in the late 30's). Queen raisers have always struggled with the vagaries of weather but frankly the mass production techniques that have pretty much always been used aren't a very good way to get consistently high quality queens. How long were they allowed to lay? 2 days? 3 days? 7 days? It can make a big difference and when shipping schedules are tight.....well you get the picture. How big a drone population for how many virgins? Again, it can make a pretty big difference, maybe those drone hives just didn't come through the winter very well.. I don't say this in any way to knock the large queen producers just to point out some of the difficulties they face. The ones I personally know are quite dedicated to producing a quality product but when the phone is constantly ringing with anxious customers it's not an ideal situation.
    With all that said, though, I think too often queen producers become the scapegoats for lots and lots of other problems from pesticides to varroa to a lack of forage. It's just a whole lot easier to blame someone rather than something.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,938

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    >12 of 25 packages had drone layers on installation.
    Or became drone layers over the summer.
    This was my experience with California packages this year. My little experience with about four years of package purchases over the decades is that they don't compare to any locally caught bees.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    >12 of 25 packages had drone layers on installation.
    Or became drone layers over the summer.
    This was my experience with California packages this year. My little experience with about four years of package purchases over the decades is that they don't compare to any locally caught bees.
    With the drought this has been a bugger of an year for sure. Sure it affected bee health. From your tag line you say your at 50%. Looks like the same ratio with your swarms as with the packages unless my math is a twisted a my beekeeping back is? Willing to clarify?

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    How were things in the past?
    Don't even get me started. Like comparing Night and day or Heaven vs hell! I will see if I can copy some of my old posts that address this and then pm you at a later time.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey Hive Farms View Post
    Our farm is getting at least one call every other day that they have had Queens die off very early and really weak bees.
    HHF Regarding queen loss and "bad" packages from the South east!

    How about a little info on your customers results???

    1. Have you polled your own customers from last year?
    2. How many customers and how many packages are in the cross section?
    3. What did the data reveal if you have done so?
    4. If you are using more than one supplier for your packages is there a disparity in their comparable data?
    5. Have you classified the losses in groups based on "hobbiest vs sideliners vs commercial'?
    6. What percentage of packages you resold are in the sample?

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,938

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    [QUOTE=Honey-4-All;1024428line you say your at 50%. Looks like the same ratio with your swarms as with the packages unless my math is a twisted a my beekeeping back is? Willing to clarify?[/QUOTE]

    That is hard data to compile. The local bee clubs import about 500 Olivarez packages to my swarm trapping zone which is 94010 in the north to to 95123 in the south, Burlingame south to San Jose. So many of the swarms I catch might only be localized for a few months or a year or more. But swarms and cutouts seem to survive two or three years without treatments, versus this years packages from two different suppliers of which about half did not even take. I made crops, even substantial crops, on many of the early bait swarms I caught, but almost none on the packages I bought. And the dates of introduction were similar. Both Newbees and experienced beeks expressed disappointing in this years packages.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,938

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    How were things in the past?
    Before mites I put suppers on any box of bees and made a huge crop. After mites came I spend my time making new colonies.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    593

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post

    But it's not just talk. It's not just beginner beekeepers who don't know how to keep bees. If you want surveys, look at the survey from Maine by Mainebeekeeper on this list. 60% dead before winter. Look at the survey by Jim Haskell in Virginia. 80% failed to make it for one year. These are good beekeepers with years of experience. Ask Winevines on this list what happens with package bees from Georgia.

    The package bee industry in GA has real issues, and it's not just poor mating weather in the spring.

    Let the fur fly boys!
    Your 'statistics' compare to WHAT from other regions of the country? I had great 100% success with Georgia-supplied bees.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    St Louis, Missouri
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    I bought some form down south and they didnt do that great, but that was about three years ago, now buy them out of Missouri and they have been good so far.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,659

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    I got 36 packages last spring out of GA and they were exceptional.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Bees View Post
    I bought some form down south and they didnt do that great, but that was about three years ago, now buy them out of Missouri and they have been good so far.
    Where the ones from "now" Show me bees or California Bees delivered to Missouri?

    Cordovans or Carniolans?

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    We say poor packages it really boils down to poor queens. I have always gotten packages in a fair time frame from GA companies. They have always (save 1 package out of hundreds) come with plenty of healthy bees.

    It is the queens that need work. I had to stop. It was costing me way to much to buy every year. Drone layers, poor acceptance, quick to supersede ( 3 months or less) and a lack of consistent vigor. Shoot many looked like unfertile virgins even.

    I think the commercial industry needs to take a step back and focus on better quality queens and better fertile drones. I would rather wait another month for a queen that is hot than one April 1st that is not suited to head a colony. Sorry it has been a rough couple of years for them but business is rough on everyone in the bee industry. I don't buy and don't ever recommend a packaged bee to anyone unless nothing else is available.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    546

    Big Grin Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.

    hobbyist here well to join this discussion I have been keeping bee for 5 winters now, I always buy packages.I seldom do splits off my own hives I pick one hive and do one split a year.For one i don't want inbreeding going on since i only have 11 hives current breed Carnolians, Carnolian x Russian,new world Carnolians but i figure there Carnolians too.all of them i bought from different suppliers ya some don't make it Thru the winter.It's not the fault of the suppliers some bees just don't make it or some slow to start,but i have had a slow starter never build up to a double deep wintered in a single deep made it just fine.no extra feed but went to let them re-queen. pinched her in may either by chance or bird they failed.it's probably very tough out there different conditions apply.still learning tho had no mentor learning as i go lots and lots of reading still doesn't make up for a experienced beekeepers help.now as far as cut outs done my share all currently living,caught swarms from my hives as well.11 hives in five years doesn't seem like much but all survivors no treatments,no supplement feeding,winter over in double deeps,no plastic foundations only in the suppers,no queen Excluder. I have no complaints here yet had one supplier that went out of business so no packages last year.sold some hives as well mostly the swarms or the split don't know if that's right to sell my daughter hives but I think the rest that i keep will be healthier in the long run.again ordered more packages this year 6 all together most i ever ordered, but also this year i have to re-queen my older hives.Some this is there 3rd winter so a new adventure begins bought a jenter queen rearing system now I have to choose what queen or Queens I want to use.

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