Best Package Bees
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Geneva, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    50

    Default Best Package Bees

    I live in Northern Illinois and want to buy package bees. I got 2 from Blain's last Spring. They died and Blain's said they are not selling them again. Any recommendations on where to order from that is quality and reasonably priced? I would like 2 Italians and 2 Russians.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Chicago, ILL. USA
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    I'm fairly certain that Lake County Beekeepers Association will be doing a club group order. There's a meeting tomorrow night, you'll probably get more info about it there http://www.lakecountybeekeepers.org/

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Buy local; nucs, hives or swarm trap.

    If you can't then recommend you requeen.

    http://mainebeekeepers.org/the-bee-l...-bee-colonies/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,279

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Figure out why they died before you get all concerned about the details on any replacements. If you dont know why they died this year, and how to prevent that from happening again, there is no reason to expect next year will produce a different result.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    2,563

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    By nature packages are hit or miss. Difficult to control quality. Alot of things have to go right, many are by chance. Sorta like the butterfly effect. Something little and small early on could lead to disaster down the road.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    Figure out why they died before you get all concerned about the details on any replacements. If you dont know why they died this year, and how to prevent that from happening again, there is no reason to expect next year will produce a different result.
    This!
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Dade county, Mo.
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post

    If you can't then recommend you requeen.

    http://mainebeekeepers.org/the-bee-l...-bee-colonies/
    The results in that SARE project is an eye opener with regards to northern queens.
    It makes sense in that southern breeders can't cull based on winter hardiness when they don't have winters...

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    camden, tennessee, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    If one had access to local nucleus colonies I prefer nucs. They are usually roughly 50% more expensive but are typically much more user friendly. No guarantees on them either though. They can still die off from a variety of ailments.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Molloyjp View Post
    I live in Northern Illinois and want to buy package bees. I got 2 from Blain's last Spring.
    What happened to them? Examining why they failed will give you good info going forward. That said, package queens from big package operations are a bit of a crapshoot...just because the queen failure rate is high. Either force a requeen as soon as you can once there are lots of drones around to get a nicely raised queen to replace that package queen, or buy from a local beekeeper with a good reputation (ask around your bee club).

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,312

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Good people,good bees!

    https://www.honeybeesonline.com

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    st anne illinios usa
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    Good people,good bees!

    https://www.honeybeesonline.com
    got five packages from them last year so far all is good

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    DuPage County Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Best Package Bees


  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    DuPage County Illinois
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    But you really should figure out what happened to your hives this year because that will help you find a good package source next year!

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    8,912

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    "They died".

    Rather a blase statement.

    Did they die before they were delivered, did they die under your care cos they starved, did they die cos you allowed them to get overun by varroa mites?

    End of day a package is a box full of bees. Long as they have not been abused in some way, one box isn't that much different to another. The queen is a bigger factor, and the beekeeping done to them after reception is usually the biggest factor of all.

    I think history may well repeat regardless where you get the next package from, unless you pay more attention to caring for them. They are not normally set and forget.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 12-06-2017 at 12:51 AM.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    5,219

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    In my experience package bees are hearty wax builders, quite prolific at quickly building up the population in the hive, and excellent honey producers.

    On the flip side, along with other concerns, they are typically Varroa Mite factories as well. It is a myth that you don't need to treat packages in the first year of hiving them. Most package bees shipped to the northern states must be put on a Fall mite treatment program, or winter survival is not likely. If your goal is to go treatment free then package bees is not the answer, unless you are willing to replace them each spring.
    To everything there is a season....

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,327

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Hamburg, Germany
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    In my experience package bees are hearty wax builders, quite prolific at quickly building up the population in the hive, and excellent honey producers.

    On the flip side, along with other concerns, they are typically Varroa Mite factories as well. It is a myth that you don't need to treat packages in the first year of hiving them. Most package bees shipped to the northern states must be put on a Fall mite treatment program, or winter survival is not likely. If your goal is to go treatment free then package bees is not the answer, unless you are willing to replace them each spring.
    Once you get them straight spray them with Oxalic still in the box 2hr prior the putting in you hive or OAV them within the first five days after installation.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post

    On the flip side, along with other concerns, they are typically Varroa Mite factories as well.
    I agree, but then IMHO any colony is a place mites love to be! In the history of our bee club we have NEVER found a newbee whose bees did not need Varroa control by midsummer.

    A substantial number of our new beekeepers come into the craft with a desire to run treatment if not feed free. We will support them in that endeavour, but counsel them to keep bees "plain vanilla style" for a season or two before trying alternatives. Then they get to see what a bee colony is really capable of (when given room to expand, fed in dearths and protected from mite infestation) before they start to experiment. That gives them a better benchmark for evaluating new practice.

    It also supports their primary stated desire which is universally to get some honey and have the bees overwinter.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    5,219

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    Molloyjp,
    Please don't feel like we're all beating up on you personally. All the posted observations and suggestions are not necessarily directed towards you, but it's just an opportunity to share information and guidance to benefit new beekeepers who may be reading the thread, trying to absorb everything so they can make good decisions in the future.
    To everything there is a season....

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    52,437

    Default Re: Best Package Bees

    >...but counsel them to keep bees "plain vanilla style" for a season or two before trying alternatives.

    Plain vanilla is to put poisons in the hive? I think you need a different allegory. I would say start keeping bees the way you intend to keep them. Don't contaminate your comb and you equipment if that's now what you want. Talk to the people who are keeping bees without treatments if that's what you want to do.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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