Due to higher than expected loses this year, I ordered packages from two local suppliers. I also purchased additional queens, intending to to make splits as I installed. I wanted to install a frame of capped brood, 2 pounds bees, and a queen. Net result, using 2 packages and an extra queen, I have 3 new colonies. This early in the season, these colonies should build up and produce a super or two of honey this June.
Last friday, I picked up my first order of bees. The packages came out of Georgia and looked healthy with very few bees dead during shipment. My problem; when I started to install, I quickly found out the packages were substantially short on bees. To make sure I get a good split, I remove the syrup can and queen cage. I replace the cover so no bees escaped. I carefully weighed the packages with a digital scale, tared to zero, and dumped the bees, hoping to install close to 2 pounds in a hive body. When I dumped approximately 2/3 of the bees into my first colony and weighed the cage, I had only dumped 1 1/2 pounds of bees. After dumping all of the bees from this cage, it totaled only 2.1 pounds bees in that package. After measuring all of my packages I quickly found that these packages were drastically under weight. In fact my average for 15 packages that we weighed, was 2.29 pounds of bees per package. The packages ranged from a high of 2.7 pounds to a low of 1.95 pounds. This whole shipment of bees was almost 25% under weight. Obviously, I did not make these splits as I intended.
Sunday, I was able to contact my supplier, who blamed the packager, who blamed the carrier. I am still dizzy from the run around. As I told my supplier, Krispy Cremes are really great donuts, but no matter how good they are, when I buy a dozen I don't want to open the box and find only 9 donuts. Should we as the ultimate consumers of package bees accept a product that is advertised as a 3# package, accept something substantially less? Would a consumer continue to buy from us if our honey jar said 2 pounds of honey and in actuallity it weighed 1 1/2 pounds? If I do not get any satisfaction, I will post in the future the parties involved.
My question is; How good are the packages that you have bought this year? Are they healthy and upto weight?
PS this saturday I am scheduled to pickup 18 packages from a different supplier and Georgia packager. I will let you know how these bees measure up.