2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,793

    Default 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Each year, I bring in a small group of packages for the beekeepers in my area, so I am always watching what the major bee supply companies are selling their packages for. Last year, we all thought the package bee prices with Tractor Supply were outrageous, but I am seeing similar prices with Kelly's and Mann Lake this year. I think I understand that with the poor showing at almond pollination, packages are in low supply, but is that the reason for the crazy prices?

    My vendor still has his Georgia packages for the same price this year, so I know not all the prices have increased. And I also know that his packages are not off almond pollination. Maybe it is just west coast suppliers that are experiencing the increase? Years ago, when I got a few packages from Mann Lake, I know they came from Oliverez in CA.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    743

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Supply and demand... the former flat, the latter up (prob a combination of hobbyists and commercial guys growing/replacing their herds). If they get those prices this year, they'll bump them up again next year.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    I'm picking up packages from Oliverez in two weeks. They were selling them for 150 each. If I buy the exact same package, delivered to Utah (where my buddy sells OHB packages there), I could pick it up for $120.

    If I buy off craigslist they will sell for $165 as high as $220 a package while our local club can do a small bulk order and get them for $120 - from unknown genetics and sources.

    I've even seen places selling queens for as much as $55 and I can order the exact same queen direct from the supplier for $32.

    I'm not sure about other areas, but the pricing varies greatly out here in Central/Northern CA - at CA prices. I'm guessing the pricing varies for who it's marketed to. An experienced keeper will know where to look to find the best deals where a new keeper will likely go to a local bee shop and pay a premium?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,132

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Ruth, I have been wondering the same thing as I get into the business of selling bees. I noticed that Scottsville is advertising $130 for a package. Last year I paid $105 from them through our bee club.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    This year and the past 2 years the packages have been running $110-130 around Denver, Colorado from the local shops and bee clubs. There are several groups/companies that bring in 300 to 1100 packages at a time though, so they are getting a bulk price.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Scottsville, VA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Ruth, I have been wondering the same thing as I get into the business of selling bees. I noticed that Scottsville is advertising $130 for a package. Last year I paid $105 from them through our bee club.
    Hi JW, I would put us in the middle of the market for supply stores with a storefront to support - we are neither the highest or the lowest in Virginia. We definitely will never match a club price which (in my mind) shouldn't be profiting on a package, just covering costs of the pickup. Our queens are also coming marked this year. We adjust each year as needed based on costs/marking, etc.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,132

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    I wasn't trying to be negative, y'alls pricing seems very competitive, especially when compared to some of the big names. Last year I think the club or its agent picked up around 200 packages, I bought one of them and then resold it for the same price to a friend. The bees have done very well.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Scottsville, VA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Awesome, thank you for replying.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    I don't know how Mann Lake sell any:
    Mann Lake PA pickup: $175.91
    Kelly KY $136.50
    NE Bees MA $131

  11. #10

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Madsen View Post
    I don't know how Mann Lake sell any:
    Mann Lake PA pickup: $175.91
    I keep getting emails from them reminding me to order packages. It's practically April. When was the last time any sizable seller was still offering packages in April?
    The point is.....they may not be selling many.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,456

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Well, when these suppliers see products like the expensive flow hive selling so well I am sure they think they can raise the prices for packages. I think our club had them for $106 this year.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    washington, vermont, USA
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Mann lake might not sell many... till the last min when everyone else is already sold out. People always looking for bees first of May and every one is basically sold out. Might make sense to try holding out with a higher price and just getting late buyers who knows.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,715

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Don't be a sucker learn how to keep your bees alive then buy them. Just to many start without knowing anything.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Allen, Texas, USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan the bee guy View Post
    Don't be a sucker learn how to keep your bees alive then buy them. Just to many start without knowing anything.
    Sometimes you just need extra bees at the last moment, not necessarily for yourself, and don't want to tap into your production hives and risk jeopardizing spring honey crop.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by vtbeeguy View Post
    Mann lake might not sell many... till the last min when everyone else is already sold out. People always looking for bees first of May and every one is basically sold out. Might make sense to try holding out with a higher price and just getting late buyers who knows.
    I hope they don’t and their investors choke on every last package along with Kelley. Dadant can have my business from here on out . If you think for one second these investors care about the beekeepers think again.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,715

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by hypsin View Post
    Sometimes you just need extra bees at the last moment, not necessarily for yourself, and don't want to tap into your production hives and risk jeopardizing spring honey crop.
    Try telling that to Michael Palmer he knows how to do it right.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    washington, vermont, USA
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Honeyguy I'm not delusional I don't expect investors to "care" about any business past a general hope it succeeds for repayment of investment purposes. However there is a market for it most years. Maybe if the average bee supplier charged a bit more than more people would learn to actually keep their bees alive. That said as long as it's not a monopoly I don't begrudge any business getting what they can for their product.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Aroostook, ME, USA
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    And then you have the farmer trying to be nice and snowblowing the yard and couldn't see your hives till they got ground up the chute OR a bear decides to have a snack. Things happen. Try to breed your bees to weather those ones. Both of those just happened to have happened to me this year.

    When you have critical mass of hives, you can weather things that a guy with a small number of hives might not be able to. I was pretty happy with my survival rates until this year. I'm still going to have colonies alive come spring (yes I am STILL under 3-4 feet of snow and haven't finished counting my losses yet) but not where I want to be and my expansion plans are going to be set back a bit. But to tell a guy with a couple hives that boo hoo he should have bred his bees to survive the bear is stupid (note I have way more, not talking about me here). Look back and you will see how Michael Palmer's yard survived the bear visit. If that was his only yard, he would have been ordering bees too, but being that he has many yards he could recover. Give the small guys with only 1 yard and limited number of hives a break, will ya? And if that's your situation, just wait till it happens to you.

    But anyways I noticed that Mountain Sweet Honey's prices went up from $99 a couple years ago, to $115 to $125 for popular dates. But you also have to pay for shipping which has gone up quite a bit. Maybe the high prices are covering the increase in shipping?
    46.91 N

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,132

    Arrow Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Ha, I see that ML is lowering delivered price of their packages. They credit renegotiated freight rates for the savings. How about, your bee prices were too high and nobody with a brain was buying them? I love a free market.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Jackson County, Missouri
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Well, if any of you are in Missouri and need Bees next year look me up. I would be happy to help. As for the big prices from the corporate stores, they are in it for a profit. Who knows maybe it will make better bee keepers.

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