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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Southern Oregon
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    Default Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

    Assuming a price of $7.50 in 1975 adjusting for inflation a queen should have gone for $32.49 in 2013 in US$. Can anybody verify the cost of queens in 1975? I have heard anecdotal reports of $6-$8 bucks per queen.

    This seems counter intuitive to me. How could Varroa, CCD, and a tighter bee supply contribute to relatively cheaper queens? I feel an economics lesson coming on. Note the demand curve for queens should be relatively inelastic. There are no substitutes for queens. This means demand should not fluctuate very much with price increase. Efficiency in production could be a possible factor. Are we really that much better at making queens now than in the 70's or is actually more difficult now? Are there more or fewer suppliers now?

    Was debating putting this in the general bee forum. Beekeepers often under value their pollination services (see some of Burgett's studies); have we made the same mistake with queens??
    Last edited by JBJ; 01-09-2014 at 09:05 AM. Reason: punctuation
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
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    900

    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    I don't know the answer to this. I do know that when I started out in '91, the first thing I did was lose my queen. The replacement from Weaver was $11--I still have the receipt!

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,572

    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    Ouch! $11 in 1991 is only $18.82 in 2013. All kidding aside, I'm not too sure how much credibility to give these inflation calculators wrt queen bee prices. I think you'd be better off judging the current market and making +/- adjustments based upon your product. Just my 2 cents (2014 money, of course, which would have been only 1 cent in 1975 )
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    Shhhhhhh,, what the heck are you trying to do?? you know those guys read these post!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    JBJ (the OP) is a queen breeder and seller.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
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    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    JBJ (the OP) is a queen breeder and seller.
    Very true.

    Using the same calculator for a gallon of milk which cost about $1.57 in 1975 would be $6.80 so perhaps milk is not a good parallel and maybe the inflation calculator is fallible as average price for milk was about $3.48 in 2013(there are some who predict much higher prices in the near future). One could very well argue there have been much more efficiency gains in the dairy industry since 1975 with breeding and production methods than there has been in apiculture.

    To know what the actual current supply and demand for queens was would be great. Demand seems very strong from my perspective and seems to the the consensus among other producers I have spoken with. I would be willing to bet queen bee economics closely parallel pollination economics. Rental prices have not followed crop value very closely historically. Burgett's pollination survey and articles make a strong argument that beekeepers have historically undervalued their pollination services and I would be willing to argue they same could be true of queens and honey.

    If the demand curve for queens is relatively inelastic then an increase in price should not negatively affect demand? Econ class was a way long time ago.

    I would argue that demand for queens should be increasing as they are an integral component of our food production system as vast monoculture farming acreage increases and wipes out wild pollinator habitat; this is all in the face of an ever increasing population that like to eat.

    Maybe all beekeepers should get paid better?
    Last edited by JBJ; 01-09-2014 at 01:09 PM. Reason: typo/omission
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
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    1,355

    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    I don't know the answer to this. I do know that when I started out in '91, the first thing I did was lose my queen. The replacement from Weaver was $11--I still have the receipt!

    Rusty
    If you still had the queen ( alive) I would have to say " Now were talkin."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,108

    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    >Equating a queen to the value of 10 pounds of honey

    Retail or wholesale? The average retail price for honey, last I heard, was over $6 a pound which would be over $60 a queen. That sounds about right to me...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    For good queens that can be TF 60.00 is a no brainer........ thats kinda been my point for months!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,363

    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Equating a queen to the value of 10 pounds of honey

    Retail or wholesale? The average retail price for honey, last I heard, was over $6 a pound which would be over $60 a queen. That sounds about right to me...
    The people that get quantity discounts from queen suppliers are pretty much the same ones selling wholesale to packers. Currently the ratio is pretty close. $2.15 a lb, and somewhere in the low 20's on queens. I haven't seen it vary dramatically from that ratio. Remember when the ABBA used to meet each winter and come out of their meetings with unified pricing? We used to rib them and refer to it as the queen cartel,
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    Wow I remeber ABBA too them blondes were nice....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Queens are relatively cheaper now than before Varroa????

    > There are no substitutes for queens.

    In a literal sense that statement is absolutely correct.

    But, the commercial price for a queen is driven by the interaction of demand (those wishing to purchase queens) and supply (those wishing to sell queens).

    If more beekeepers raise their own queens (not offered for sale), then the demand curve is altered and the intersection of the demand and supply curves occurs at a lower price point.


    Of course, economics is the dismal science, and some would say not science at all!
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

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