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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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I'm picking up three packages this Saturday. I have a postal scale and will weigh them . They are coming in from GA also.
 

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Wow...sounds like the packager did a number both on you, and the one you bought the package from. And if you know the original packager, of course they don't get any more of your business. Care to share that information with us?
 

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I noticed that a couple of years ago Hardeman's in Mt Vernon, GA made a note in their ads that #3 package was not a reference to weight but referred to a 'number 3' package. In their old ads they clearly said 3lb. Its a bit sneaky.
When package suppliers fill them in the field, they don't weigh them. No way they're gonna carry scales out into the beeyards. They have a point in the package that they fill to and trust that it is the appropriate weight....whatever that might be.
 

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The good package makers do use a scale and they weigh every package as they are made. The good ones also use excluders to eliminate drones and rogue queens that get missed that will kill the caged queen. Document your weights and send a bill to the supplier(package producer).

If a 3 lbs package sells for $60.00
The queen was $15.00
The cage was $5.00(new)
Syrup can/labor to fill/etc was $10.00
You are paying $10.00 per lb of bees

If the package producer underweighted all packages with that average(25%)
then for every 500 3 lb packages he recieved $3,750 for selling something he didn't.

To me that's theft. Post the package producers name so others can check their packages also. A scale can go bad. If it does the supplier should have no problem reimbursing those that were shorted.

There is also the possibility that you were shorted by the reseller of the packages. They could have purchased 2 lbs packages and sold them as 3 lbs. When the packages were sent from the supplier to the reseller there could have been an issue where the wrong size were sent.
 

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The good package makers do use a scale and they weigh every package as they are made. The good ones also use excluders
I've seen the crews of a couple of big, reputable package producers at work. They didn't have a scale but filled the packages to a point that they knew, from experience, would meet the weight spec. And I never saw an excluder. If they'd used an excluder in the funnels they were shaking bees into, the bottleneck would've killed more bees than would have gotten past. To be honest, I don't ever remember a package of bees without some drones.
 

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Maybe the package producer I worked with was to picky. He didn't shake the bees off individual frames. The young bees were forced up through an excluder while the older field bees were out working. That ensured that the package bees were young and most all drones were eliminated except the ones that landed on the funnel while packages were being made. He also weighed every package as they were made. If you sell by the lb you should be weighing every package empty and then full. I know alot of producers don't weigh each package but I think they should.
 

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That's how they do it out here in California. No drones no queens no older bees. The bees are weighed with a balance set for the tare weight of the package cages. Package bees with a fresh queen from a top tier producer is cheaper than making your own divides. And you can get them by the truckload in early April. Sounds to me like these were 2lb packages to begin with.
 

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If you sell by the lb you should be weighing every package empty and then full. I know alot of producers don't weigh each package but I think they should.
I won't argue with that. Which takes me back to the Hardemans. I don't know if they qualify as one of the 'better' package producers or not. But...they no longer sell by weight...which from their ads seems a bit tricky to me.
 

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Agreed with I think they shipped 2# packages, not 3#s. Either that or the post office is skimming bees off the top for their side business. There is a bee thing going on in Orland this weekend. Even with catching the swarms I have gotten, I still want a package. Packages will be $73 and change this weekend up there, if I go, I might just come home with one regardless. They are advertised at 3# packages, If I get one, I will weigh it. Bottom line is I wouldn't use that supplier ever again if they don't compensate you some how. 15 packages with an average of 1# short each? Better kick me down some cash or send me 7 more 2# packages.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #11
UPDATE
Yesterday afternoon, I talked with the owner of the package producer. First, he said 3# of bees could loose a substantial amount of weight from the time of packaging until they are hived, even though they have have a can of syrup (that in most cases was not completely used up.) He also said that live bees weigh more than dead bees, allthough I had told him that the packages were healthy with very few dead bees. He did not really respond when I asked him if they could loose over one pound of weight from not being gorged with water or nectar.
His next point; he told me that the carrier took 40 or so-2# packages installed in 3# cages (they appparently are out of 2 # cages) for a special order along with the 500-3# packages and he must have given my supplier the 2# packages accidentally. Now both he and the carrier claimed that these 2# packages were clearly marked (I believe he said with a red # 2 on them.) My packages had no distingushing marks on them.
His next retort was that he could not guarantee that the carrier or my supplier had not shook the packages and skimmed off some bees for themselves. As far as I can tell these packages have not been tampered with. When I removed the plywood lids, many times the staples would pull through. I did not notice any marks on the top of the cages from prybars and I did not notice any additional staple holes. If someone stole bees from these packages, they were really good at covering up their butts.
Finally, he told me that he always sends additional packages and queens with his order and I really did not reason to talk to him. My problem was simply with my supplier. He started to get a little annoyed and the conversation was ended.

When I first reported the problem, my supplier said "go ahead split the packages in half, add a queen. They will build up by August." I told him that in the past four years, June was my predominant honey month. If I miss it, I may not get any honey at all. Personally, I don't want to spend money on a small nuc that won't make honey and have to baby through the winter.

Some would like to know the names of the parties involved. Personally, I am hoping and waiting to see if these businesses will own up to their responsibilities and make good on their promises. I agree, that if this matter is not resolved to my satisfaction, I will never order from these businesses again. I started this thread to warn others to check and to make sure you are getting what you pay for.
 

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hmmmm sounds like only the package maker, or your supplier, knows who got to you, and neither is owning up to it. Good luck, but sounds like you've hit a dead end. Bummer.
 

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If you don't get satisfaction and purchased with a credit card then see if you have any buyers protection coverage.

I purchased a number of packages this year with a card that covers damage due during shipping as a little extra insurance.
 

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The bottom line is...if you announce who it was, the GUILTY partys will threaten the web site and they will be forced to pull this thread! Seen it before! If you tell everyone who shows interest by responding on this thread by e-mail, it might make a diffrence to a few. The bottom line is that those that steal dont stop untill their in jail or in gods hands!!!
 

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Alf57,

POST THE NAME OF THE PACKAGE PRODUCER AND THE CARRIER!!!

They are totally not owning up to their end of the deal. They advertise a 3 lb package. Please tell me the names of the companies involved so I will never be taken advantage of as you clearly were.

Please, tell us the names.

Beekeeper1756:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
My intent is to not trash the producer, but to warn all that there is a possibility that we as the consumer may not be receiving what we pay for. I guarantee that when we order supplies from a woodenware producer, we check to make sure all was shipped and if shorted, we quickly get on the phone to let get it shipped. But when it comes to packages, along as the bees are healthy, we accept that they are what we ordered. In my case, a 3#package with almost 1# short, could build up a few weeks slower and I could easily miss the honey flow.
I started this thread to "let the buyer beware." Hopefully we all will check our packages. Let's hold our producers accountable. Let them know when we are satisfied and when they come up short. Possibly this thread could turn into a positive thread as we let others know the producers who are shipping a quality package. As I said in my first post, this weekend, I will be getting packages from another producer. I will let you know how they measure up.
Al
 

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The bottom line is...if you announce who it was, the GUILTY partys will threaten the web site and they will be forced to pull this thread! Seen it before! If you tell everyone who shows interest by responding on this thread by e-mail, it might make a diffrence to a few. The bottom line is that those that steal dont stop untill their in jail or in gods hands!!!
Really? I have been on the forum a while - and it least in the 'Consumer Reports' section, I have seen suppliers and producers get completely trashed in reviews - and haven't seen any repercussions such as that (search "Long Creek" or "Cedar Glen" for example).

Why not move this thread to Consumer Reports and post your dissatisfaction with the package supplier (as many others have done in a similar fashion)? I, for one, would like to know who the supplier is, if for no other reason - to check the weight of packages if I happened to order from them this year.
 

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Yeah, who is the supplier? It seems completely ridiculous to make a big deal about the packages being light without identifying the package producer and the supplier. Please fill us in...
 

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Additionally, by not naming the single, supplier with whom there could be a problem AND by simply stating that everyone should be checking all packages for weight implies that ALL suppliers are potentially shorting packages.

Why tar and feather the whole group? How can I reward the good suppliers with my business if I don't know who to avoid first? And why should suppliers take the extra time and expense to make sure their packages are the proper weight if they know that, even if caught, they won't be identified?

Last year, I got two packages through Long Lane (packages came from Gardner's Apiary). While Long Lane's service was great, the packages were, quite simply, terrible. The queens both failed before the middle summer and the packages never even made it to winter. I don't know why - maybe I was just unlucky, or maybe they really were poor due to the suppliers practices. Either way, I posted my experience. Others posted good experiences with Long Lane packages. Forum members can decide for themselves whether they want to try Long Lane for packages or not. That is the point of the Forum - dissemination of information so that fellow beekeepers can make good, informed decisions. Nobody threatened to sue, and in the best cases, suppliers have, in the past, contacted Forum members and made attempts to right the situation.

If you withhold information - you defeat the purpose of the Forum. Some of us order hundreds of packages at a time. Are we to weight check each one in order to 'hold our producers accountable'?
 
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