Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?
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  1. #1
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    Sold Out Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    I've been buying queens for years, and when I buy them they, depending on the quantity and company, range from 15-35 per queen. Why don't bee queen providers vary their prices depending on the time of the season, demand, and supply?

    Also, Any recommendations on who I should ask this question to or how to learn more?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    As a queen producer, I usually have no queens or a lot of queens... no point in raising the price when I have no queens...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    As a queen producer, I usually have no queens or a lot of queens... no point in raising the price when I have no queens...

    Thank you for responding, Michael.

    What you say makes sense. I wonder if it would be better to fluctuate the price with a software that monitors seasonal changes, and changes in supply and demand. If none are for sale, then nothing needs change of course, but when there are queens to sell, then it's best if the price changes to accurately reflect market forces. Or at least that is my thinking.

    I don't produce queens commercially, so I wonder if making more money that can be reinvested into producing more high quality queens (or nucs, etc) for people makes sense or not.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    One price is working well, why complicate it? If it ain't broke don't fix it!
    Frank

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    One price is working well, why complicate it? If it ain't broke don't fix it!

    I hear you, and thank you for writing/responding.

    Queen producers (nucs, etc) would probably make 5-10x per month, which they can use to expand their operations, develop better queens, and support their families.

    Most of us buy our food, and food fluctuates daily, which has been going on for hundreds of years. So that's not complicated.

    I would argue that money being left on the floor represents something being broken.

    Then again these are my thoughts, and I'm not a queen producer.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    I dont think reducing the price at times when demand is low would rev up demand. If you need a queen you dont dicker about price: if you dont need queens you cannot handily stock up on them either even if price were 5 dollars each.

    Yes I stock up when I see sales on canned goods or other non perishables; there it makes sense, but bees cannot be canned or dried.

    I am driving 600 miles Saturday to pick up a few nucs and queens with a good reputation. I could have got Chilean bees and queens by mail a month ago and cheaper. I dont think quality queen breeders are catering to the bargain hunters.
    Frank

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    "I dont think reducing the price at times when demand is low would rev up demand. If you need a queen you dont dicker about price: if you dont need queens you cannot handily stock up on them either even if price were 5 dollars each."

    I agree with this. I think of price fluctuations as mainly going up to meet demand when supply is low, thus balancing the supply v demand curve and making them more money.

    If you sell a queen bee for $25 per (ignoring bulk orders) a $5 increase would be a 20% increase, a $10 increase would be a 40%, and a $15 increase would be a 60% increase. Applied to all sales for that time period and it would really add up. It would take a bit of software integrated into the website to make it work right.

    "I am driving 600 miles Saturday to pick up a few nucs and queens with a good reputation. I could have got Chilean bees and queens by mail a month ago and cheaper. I dont think quality queen breeders are catering to the bargain hunters."

    You missunderstand me. I'm not suggesting they cater to bargain hunters. Instead I think there might be missed opportunities on their part to get their full value of what they are producing. I hope my above comment with numbers helps illustrate my point.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    Well I disagree about price regulating the demand for queens and that varying price would even out demand. Undoubtedly many things are merchandised through such manipulative pricing schemes but I would resists such machinations as much as possible. Like gasoline prices being put up for each long weekend!
    Frank

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    I believe that if the original poster would try their hand at raising queens, there would be an eye opening...
    Working to propagate my survivors and staying treatment free USDA Zone 7b

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    I feel you. I hate gas going up on weekends.

    I think the price should be reflective of demand, not regulated by it.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    I appreciate the free market.
    If the price is too high sales will suffer.
    There are always other vendors that buyers can chose from.
    But what about quality?
    And what about your position of seniority as a long term customer in getting early queens and large orders?
    I look at things as a relationship. A long term trust relationship.
    Oh, and when I receive an invoice from queen producers, or anyone else for that matter, the check goes out in the mail the very next day.
    As a small scale queen producer for in-house use only, understanding the problems, I really appreciate being able to pick up the phone and have a box of queens magically appear at my doorstep.
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    Thanks for writing, Harry!

    There is a graph that I found that illustrates the point I am going to make (link).

    The main point is that number of customers can go down, while overall cashflow increasing substantively. If customers go down, but net profit goes up, then that would put more an emphasis on ensuring quality is high to justify the cost.

    Rewarding loyalty should always be encouraged. A fluctuating price model doesn't hurt large orders or giving long term customers deals. It would emphasis the deal they are getting more starkly. There are some interesting resources/research on this concept as well (for those interested in doing the googling)

    I am of half a mind to find a few queen bee producers to try out the fluctuating price model I have in mind. At the same time, I'm not reinventing the wheel. This concept is as old as sales itself.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    Quote Originally Posted by IWASHERE View Post
    I feel you. I hate gas going up on weekends.

    I think the price should be reflective of demand, not regulated by it.
    You are getting there; The price, of necessity, has to reflect the cost of production.
    Frank

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    Iwashere; I think it be an eye opening experience for you to see if you can organize those queen producers; it is a shame that they are leaving so much money on the table! I think they would be very quick to tell you what they think of that connivery. Give it a shot and report back about how it went.
    Frank

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    The problem with your supply/demand curve is that supply and demand occur at the same time. As supply goes up, so does demand. When supply is low, so is demand. The need for queens corresponds to the same time that rearing queens occurs. It isn't like dry goods with two intersecting lines that vary. Raise the price, and I go to someone else because when I need a queen there are a lot for sale. The price drop usually comes at the end of the season when queen producers are off loading their surplus. Queens are a perishable good with a short shelf life. There simply is a queen season and the rest of the year is zero to near zero demand and production.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    The times there are few queens are early when the quality is low or late when no one seems to want them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    Smaller scale local market sales, yes the demand does shift with the season. Not so much for the larger scale producers. Seasonal demand essentially begins when colonies are being split after almonds in California. Not sure how package production in the south works into the demand cycle. As spring moves north and inland thru the continent, demand shifts into those areas. It reaches our area by April here in the Pacific Northwest as folks are making up pollination sets for blueberries, then in May we have a significant amount of splitting happening. When demand starts to taper off here, it's picking up on the prairies and that will run thru till end of June.

    For some perspective on how large this demand shift is, reference a couple years ago here in Canada when all the talk was tarriff wars. The provinces were all mandated to produce lists of states from which imports came and rank them by value. Imagine the surprise for politicians when Hawaii came out near the top of the list for american imports to Alberta. That's just queen bees coming from the producers in Hawaii. We aren't talking about a few hundred bugs there, it's a number big enough to register as a significant import product.

    At a small local level, there may be significant shifts in demand for queens thru the season, but on the larger continent scale, demand is fairly steady thru the majority of the season where queens are being raised. This has a tremendous impact on pricing as much of the overall queen price equation is based on what it costs to bring them in from the large scale producers. There is a limit on how much premium is available for 'local' stock vs how much sales potential one has when priced for a competitive market where the large scale producers are the competition. I'm sure I can sell 20 or 30 a year as some sort of 'local special magic queens' at a steep premium to what is available as imports from Olivarez and/or Kona. But if I want to sell in lots of a hundred or more, they are 'just queens' and will have to price as such.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Why do Queen Bee prices not fluctuate based on seasonal demand?

    some things depend on your market also. Some producers have a feel for supply/demand and produce accordingly. We produce queens every summer for beekeepers in northern IL that lose queens in the summer and do not want them shipped because of heat. The price of production is the same and so it the price for the queens. We will see a uptick around the fourth of July when weekend beekeepers start to see queenless hives. But the price is the same.

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