2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Ha, i'm on the other side of this, I'm supplying bees to a New Zealand exporter, i get NZ$40 per kilo. Which translates to NZ$18.20 per pound, or US$12.52 per pound.

    Got to consider though, additional costs are a queen per package, and the actual package, plus get them to the other side of the planet in good shape. There is also a slew of paperwork to be done, and the seller (in Canada in my case) would have to absorb the costs of unsold packages and losses at their end.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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  3. #22
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    Apr 2012
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    Ka'u Hawaii
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Ha, i'm on the other side of this, I'm supplying bees to a New Zealand exporter, i get NZ$40 per kilo. Which translates to NZ$18.20 per pound, or US$12.52 per pound.

    Got to consider though, additional costs are a queen per package, and the actual package, plus get them to the other side of the planet in good shape. There is also a slew of paperwork to be done, and the seller (in Canada in my case) would have to absorb the costs of unsold packages and losses at their end.
    I'll bet the shipping (to Canada, I assume) will be much more than the price of the bees. Do you know the freight charge on 3# of bees from NZ to Canada?

  4. #23
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    I don't know. But I'm next meeting the guy who freights them in around 10 days, I'll ask him and report back.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  5. #24
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    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gino45 View Post
    I'll bet the shipping (to Canada, I assume) will be much more than the price of the bees. Do you know the freight charge on 3# of bees from NZ to Canada?
    The bees shipped into our area come as 1 kilo cardboard packages using plastic screen, air freight is based on weight so they have put a lot of effort into keeping the weight of the packaging down. Never seen a 3lb package here, seen lots of 1 kilo (2.2 lb) packages go thru. A few years ago I was at the local reseller location when they arrived, 2 pallets was a LOT of bees, he had over 700 packages in the barn. He implied that about half the cost of those was shipping. Our local supplier picks them up in Vancouver with a reefer truck to manage temperature control on the trip from Vancouver over to Vancouver Island. Here on Vancouver Island we tend to get the Kintail variant which arrive in nice little square cardboard packages, over on the mainland they tend to get the Aritaki variant which arrive in the tubes.

    My understanding is that the logistics of shipping those packages got considerably more complex over the last few years as they can no longer change planes in Hawaii, so they go thru a stop in Asia, then onto a non-stop to Vancouver from there. I dont know the exact numbers on the various parts of costs, but this year the 1 kilo Kintail packages delivered on March 7 to Vancouver Island cost $212cdn and it was suggested that half of that cost was freight.

  6. #25
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    Dec 2016
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    Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    If I can nurse my 5 colonies through til May, I hope I never have to buy bees again.
    Third winter, and so far best survival rate.
    For the past 2 years I got 2 Aritaki packages, but had to re-queen each, each year. Not great.
    I am hoping that this Winter’s survival is a testament to my increased abilities as a Beekeeper, but that might be a bit of a stretch, not to mention hubris.
    It will be an interesting year.
    Brian

  7. #26
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Why did you have to requeen them?
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #27
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    May 2015
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    Sacramento County, CA
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    One factor that may be driving the prices up in California: Many, many professional beekeepers are saying the brood levels are way down this spring...probably due to all the rain and the lack of gathering opportunities for the honeybees.

    Mann Lake prices are kinda high, but I believe they are a high quality honeybee.

    We made grafts from the very best queens in our yard nearly a month ago. These queens had somehow overwintered so well that they laid entire frames of eggs in January. Still trying to figure out how they made nearly entire boxes of sealed brood by February. Never seen this before and we are excited to see the results of the grafting. Our first batch of queens came from eggs laid March 6th, capped on March 14, hatched out March 21, and now are all properly mated. We hope to begin selling packages of bees with mated queens in the next couple of weeks for $100 per package to off set our costs.

    I still believe Randy Oliver's statement that raising queens from local stock is the way to go.

    Moral of the story: Make yer own packages and yer own queens!

  9. #28
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    Jan 2016
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    Kansas
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    51

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    I advertised early for 5 frame nucs for $165. Had 20+ spoken for in 2 days and regretted that I hadn’t asked more. Especially considering the package prices I saw later on...

  10. #29
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    Aug 2013
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    Tampa FL USA
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    I am getting a nuc for 150. I should have the bees in my yard Tuesday. I am only getting one for now, the beekeeper even allowed me to bring my hive over so he can put them in the hive so they can get use to the hive.

  11. #30
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    Jun 2016
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    washington, vermont, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Kinda off topic I know but I just cant help myself. How DUMB is it that Canadians fly bees in from across the world but wont import bees from the U.S.? I got a simple guess on where the next terrible bee pest from Asia is going to book a ticket to get to North America. Canada has every bee pest America does at this point. It doesn't have all the pests that exist in Asia. What are you thinking Canada???

  12. #31
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by vtbeeguy View Post
    Kinda off topic I know but I just cant help myself. How DUMB is it that Canadians fly bees in from across the world but wont import bees from the U.S.? I got a simple guess on where the next terrible bee pest from Asia is going to book a ticket to get to North America. Canada has every bee pest America does at this point. It doesn't have all the pests that exist in Asia. What are you thinking Canada???
    The two major items listed in the last assessment, SHB and AHB, two things we dont want to arrive into the general population of honeybees in Canada, there are a few others. With the exception of a small section of southern Ontario, we dont have SHB, and dont want it. Contrary to what may be popular belief, the folks sending bees into Canada are not just throwing a bunch of random bees into packages, they are doing a lot of tests on the population prior to them being cleared for shipment. Packages from the southern US wont pass those tests, they are very likely to have SHB and / or AHB. The Niagara peninsula population that has SHB has serious restrictions on movement to the rest of the country.

    As far as the economics go, this year the cost of a NZ package in early March was $212cdn, that woks out to $159us. If you take the cost of packages down south and add in the cost of shipping them north, they will not be any less expensive. Heck, looking at the Mann Lake website a Minnesota pickup package runs $178us. The $212cdn price I mention was retail cost in quantity 1, so equivalent to the $178us for a package from Mann Lake, which works out to $237cdn, so about 10% more expensive. Mann Lake mentions that as a pre-order, not sure about delivery date. In our case, we hived the packages on March 7 this year, first brood round is emerging now. The NZ packages come with a very significant time advantage for us.

    A common practice here on the island, take NZ packages during first week of March, long before they would/could be available from US sources. The colony needs patties and syrup for 3 to 4 weeks before our fruit bloom begins, When the brood emerges first week of May, the unit is large enough to split and make a couple 4 frame nucs which are sold on. I know of at least two folks that start with a couple hundred of the NZ packages in March each year, then ship nucs out to the prairies in May. Between their own wintered stock and the packages they deliver over a thousand nucs each year. Some folks in the BC lower mainland try add an extra twist to this model, the package colony goes into a blueberry set for 4 weeks before splitting so they pocket a pollination cheque before breaking up into nucs. After some years of prompting by one of the folks doing nucs at scale in our area, this year I decided to try a small scale test of that model, we hived 10 NZ packages on March 7 which are intended to become nucs riding on one of his loads east in May. I'm tracking the costs very carefully to balance against the revenues and we will see how this model works for us. We put a patty on each when they were hived, then another one a couple weeks later. I was out yesterday going thru them to see how they are progressing, most have two frames of brood now emerging. Weather is getting warmer and populations growing, we expect to see 4 frames of brood in another 2 or 3 weeks, and a full 6 frames by early May. Time will tell if this plays out according to plan.

    As much as many would try indicate otherwise, the real reasons for getting packages out of NZ are about timing and economics. Yes, it's expensive to ship bees from the southern hemisphere to the north, but there is a time advantage and when you really dig into the numbers, it's cost comparable to packages from the US, possibly has a cost advantage. One also wonders what would happen to the price of packages in the US if suddenly all that extra demand from up north showed up in the American market? I know there are many old time beekeepers in Canada that lament about the 'good old days' when they would gas the bees in the fall, then buy 20 dollar packages from the US in the spring to replace them, go on to make a 200lb honey crop with those packages. Even if the border was to open up again, the economics of that model simply wont work today, the packages have become to expensive.

    I dont make the rules, but I do understand the rationale behind them. I wont comment on wether or not I think the rationale is correct or not. I also understand how the business works in our area, and I know the model of making 2 nucs out of one package will not work with packages brought in from the US due to timing of availability. As for the comments on pests, it is something where careful attention is paid. If Tropilaelapse shows up in NZ, then that source will come to an abrupt halt for us, similar to how the border originally closed when varroa showed up in the US. Another concern is the queens used for early May splits. In our area, they all come from Olivarez in California. If that door Another model that's not uncommon, larger scale keepers from Alberta move hives to the BC lower mainland area in the fall, intention is to winter them in the warmer coastal climate and get a much earlier start on brood than they would in Alberta. Our bees typically start brooding mid February so they get a two brood round head start over those on the prairies. The wintered colonies can be set into the blueberry pollination, then back out to Alberta and be ready for splitting as soon as they arrive. Sounds great in theory, doesn't always work out thawas to close because the Olivarez population tests positive for AHB, then another source needs to be acquired. We cant raise queens early enough for the demand here, so for that reason there are a number of folks now starting to figure out ways of wintering queens in quanitity.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Hey thanks for that explanation Grozzie. Very interesting to hear some well thought out rationale from what is to me, the other side of this transaction.

    Also got to admire the entrepreneurialship and adaptability of beekeepers, as you guys find ways to maximise returns from the resources at hand.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #33
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    Jun 2011
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    Chicago, ILL. USA
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by soarwitheagles View Post
    I still believe Randy Oliver's statement that raising queens from local stock is the way to go.
    Yup. Randy Oliver was a speaker at our annual Bee Forum yesterday and his almost 5 hour long presentation boiled down to a few things; do the right thing at the right time and propagate the local queens that overwinter well in your yards.

  15. #34
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    Boston, MA, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    The two major items listed in the last assessment, SHB and AHB, two things we dont want to arrive into the general population of honeybees in Canada, there are a few others. With the exception of a small section of southern Ontario, we dont have SHB, and dont want it.
    Arguing SHB seems like a moot point. My understanding is that SHB cannot pupate in the ground that undergoes a strong freeze. People in New-England get a few SHB re-introduced with packages every year but most of the SHB are killed in the fall when the ground freezes. Plus SHB can fly several miles. Every year SHB fly from packages on the US border into Canada only to die a cold death when winter comes. winter is coming .....

  16. #35
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    Jun 2016
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    washington, vermont, USA
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    To be fair the mann lake catalog is probably one of the most expensive places to find bee packages in the states. The other thing to be considered is the average U.S. package is 3lbs and the ones from N.Z. (from what I understand) are 2.2 or 1 kilo. So they might be 10% more but they have almost an extra 50% of bee weight. SHB is such a nothing problem imo especially up north. AHB is another "boogyman" that is way overblown. From what I understand their is traces of AHB DNA throughout the population of bees in America. To think there isn't the same bits of their DNA in Canada's bee population is wildly unlikely. Plenty of crossbreeding from colonies placed near the border not to mention the decades of importation from the u.s. that took place. So I have still yet to hear a good argument to be bringing in colonies from across the world. That is currently the most likely avenue for the next terrible bee pest to reach North America. Especially seeing as how they are doing changeovers in ASIA!!!! How many neon flashing signs on the wall does their need to be? You don't need packages from anywhere honestly its called overwintering nucs and keeping your bees alive. If it's between bringing in bees that come through Asia or no packages the answer is NO PACKAGES!!!!

  17. #36
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    All good arguments, also i have wondered myself about the tropilaelapse thing, i don't think they would be a huge issue in Canada, because tropilaelapse must have brood to survive, they would die in the Canadian winter. Neither NZ or Hawaii have them, but saying NZ is a risk because we might get them, is not a useful argument, because it's just as likely Hawaii might get them.

    End of day, New Zealand and Canadian beekeepers have a long established relationship spanning many decades that has worked for us both. Right from when I was a teenage newby more than 40 years ago we were sending bees to Canada, and most of the current diseases we are worried about now, most beekeepers had never even heard of then. Also, every year in the off season, NZ beekeepers make the pilgramage to Canada to work, which greatly broadens their horizons, and in our season we get Canadian beekeepers showing up here to work also.

    The bees i am sending to Canada, I have to take a 30 ml sample of bees from every hive, which is submitted to a lab and tested for among other things, tropilaelapse, even though we don't even have them here yet. There is a comprehensive and well enforced safety net in place, everybody wants this to work.

    The knot i use to tie down my loads is known here as a Canadian. That's because it was brought here by a beekeeper who learned it in Canada.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 04-01-2019 at 09:51 PM.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  18. #37
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    Apr 2016
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    Murfreesboro, TN (Rutherford Co)
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    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.
    I think I paid $80 when I got into beekeeping 2015. 2016 was $92. Luckily I've been able to stretch that $92 lol.

    I was gonna ask you a question in another thread. Hived a swarm today. Moved 40 yds and put a reducer down to smallest entrance. Should I obstruct the entrance? Maybe place some grass, branch or board forcing a new orientation?

  19. #38
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    I prefer using a robber screen instead of a branch to help them reorient. Learning to navigate the new entrance configuration seems to work moderately well, even when making splits that stay in the same yard. I also like using a queen excluder under the hive body to help keep the swarm queen from leaving. JMHO.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  20. #39
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Re: 2019 package bee prices very high with major suppliers, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnmyke View Post
    If I buy the exact same package, delivered to Utah (where my buddy sells OHB packages there), I could pick it up for $120.
    I think your buddy in UT is sold out and has been for several weeks, unless its not who I think. The other suppliers I know of here are selling 3 lb packages for $150 and one is $199 which is outrageous. It's boosted my motivation to get some nucs out but I haven't seen any purple eyes yet, so that puts having nucs well into May now.
    Zone 6B

  21. #40
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    Apr 2017
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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnmyke View Post
    If I buy the exact same package, delivered to Utah (where my buddy sells OHB packages there), I could pick it up for $120.
    I think your buddy in UT is sold out and has been for several weeks, unless its not who I think. The other suppliers I know of here are selling 3 lb packages for $150 and one is $199 which is outrageous. It's boosted my motivation to get some nucs out but I haven't seen any purple eyes yet, so that puts having nucs well into May now.
    He probably is. I was simply stating that location has a lot to do with pricing.

    Exact same product is $30 cheaper when shipped out of state compared to picking it up right at their home office.

    If only that made sense.

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