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The heading pretty much says it.

What has been your experience with delivery of package bees with the USPS and/or UPS?

Any nightmares ?!?!?!

Thanks.
 

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the usps has called me to come pick up 25 dead baby chicks twice in the last 2 weeks. call the company they said. the local farm supply store had all theirs delivered the same day, over half dead. i've never had bees mailed.
 

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Went to pick up my two packages at USPS and they were drowned in syrup. I'm sure there are thousands of success stories for every failure but I won't buy that way again. A friend received a queen, cooked in a closed mailbox on a hot day.
 

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A friend received a queen, cooked in a closed mailbox on a hot day.
Basically your friends fault. I get all my queens via USPS, go into the local PO before they are due and request they call me when the queens come in. I usually get a call around 5:30 am and the queens are at my house shortly after. I have received a package of queens that was damaged but all queens were alive.
 

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the usps has called me to come pick up 25 dead baby chicks twice in the last 2 weeks. call the company they said. the local farm supply store had all theirs delivered the same day, over half dead. i've never had bees mailed.
I hope you refused.
 

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We get queens routinely through USPS without issues. A small bottle of honey and a note is left in the mailbox the day we order, Post lady has provided her personal number and we get a call from the substation when they arrive. We either pick them up at the substation or coordinate with her on the route.
 

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I have never bought packages delivered by USPS or UPS, but they have been handling them longer than any of us have been alive. Problems can occur.

I do get caged queens via UPS and USPS. I always get a phone call to pick them up myself. I don't want a delivery person delivering them. I'd rather that they sit on a desk somewhere than that they sit on the dashboard of a car or delivery van.

So, if you are ordering packages or queens communicate w/ your supplier and ask questions. Set up phone call communication from the Post Office or UPS Station nearest you and then go get them.

I have had a funny experience that worked out alright. I ordered queens from a CA supplier one year and had two different batches of queens delivered to me where I was at two different times that spring, first Myrtle Beach and then Potsdam, NY. The next year I ordered from the same folks, sending them a letter clearly stating that I wanted queens sent to Myrtle Beach.

They called me when they posted the queens, next day air. I called the UPS Station the next morning. No queens. I called the supplier and got the tracking numbers. Tracking numbers are great. Turns out the queens went to Potsdam. I called the Potsdam Depot and they sent me the queens in Myrtle Beach, the next day. No harm, no foul.
 

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I have gotten queens and packages via USPS as well as shipped queens via USPS without issue.

I am a fairly detail oriented kind of person so COMMUNICATION is CRITICAL for me when shipping. For example when I shipped queens I told them to HOLD them on the other end and call the person who is picking them up. Along with that I told that person to contact their local PO and tell them to HOLD them and CONTACT them when they get there.

No probs.
 

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When shipping using USPS priority mail there is an option on the USPS site for "hold at post office." If you click on it you get to pick the post office and that eleminates chance that the bees/queens will be left in a hot mailbox. I have used the service with good results. I do put the customer's phone number on the package with a request for the postal employee to call.
 

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I've gotten bees at various post offices through the years. Some were excellent. Some were terrible. I've also gotten chicks. They were usually ok. People are scared of bees, but not chicks. One time they called in a panic and said the bees were getting out. When I got there the package was in a canvas bag on the dock in the sun on its side with the syrup leaked out all over the bees. Total loss. There were no bees getting out. Just one or two on the outside that either got missed when they brushed off the packages or stray bees that smelled the nasonov and clung to the cage. I've had queens where they called me the night before and I picked them up at 7:00pm. I've had queens they put in a black mailbox in the sun and never called even though the package requested they call...
 

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Small sample size (2 attempts), but 100% failure rate on the actual delivery to my house with UPS. Bees arrived OK at the distribution center in Frederick, MD both times. First time, they then proceeded to puncture the screen and I had to go to them to pick up my bees (minus who knows how many bees). Second time, everything arrived intact, but they refused to deliver to me. Had to go pick up again.

When I initially contemplated beekeeping, a buddy of mine ordered an extra package for me to ship with his via USPS. That arrived covered in syrup and mostly dead.
 

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There will be as many answers to your question as there are post offices in the US. If you think about it, a good outcome depends on an efficient path being followed:

seller-->their local carrier-->origin P.O.-->central depot-->transit-->another central depot--->your P.O-->your carrier-->you

One or more problems along that path will lead to less than optimal results. There are ways to shorten the number of exchange points on both ends, and it is under your ability to shorten things on your end of the shipment.

Like others have said, stopping by your post office in person to request that you be called works very well. I have, however, had the experience in which I was called from the central depot and not my local post office. It was a bit more of a drive, but I was grateful to have been able to shorten the overall transit time.
 

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Basically your friends fault. I get all my queens via USPS, go into the local PO before they are due and request they call me when the queens come in. I usually get a call around 5:30 am and the queens are at my house shortly after. I have received a package of queens that was damaged but all queens were alive.
Not everything goes as planned all of the time, including executing instructions to hold a package at the distribution center and notify the recipient.
 

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We have routinely had bees and/or queens shipped by USPS pretty routinely. We DO visit the post office a day or 2 before delivery to give them a "heads up", and leave our name and phone number, and make sure we are immediately available to pick them up when they arrive.
 

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Communication works. Call the local UPS and pick them up. Talk to whoever is there and explain how to treat the package, especially which side is UP! You can speak with the supplier and have them mark the package with directions, i.e. THIS SIDE UP! etc. :) this should work...I even went up before they were due to arrive and introduced myself and spoke personally with whoever would be responsible.
 

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I ship all my queens USPS express mail with the hold at Post Office option. I print the labels on my computer using USPS Click and Ship. I put the recipiants phone number on the label. Each year I get a cpl of calls hunting the queens and when you check with the PO said they didn't know how to contact the recipiant. :scratch:

All in all I have had very good service at a reasonable price.

Johnny
 

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Ordered queens last year from Vermont. Were sent USPS Express Next day. They sat in the PO in Vermont for 36 hours before leaving, then went to California and 3 days later arrived in Fort Wayne. Candy plugs had melted and all but 2 queens were dead. Those eventually succumbed too. Were not insured so I was out cost of queens and shipping. Quenn breeder could have requested refund on the "guaranteed next day delivery" but said it was too much trouble. Lesson learned. Have had previous good experience with USPS and queens so maybe it was just the podunk Vermont PO issues.
 

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Generally speaking, you should always try your best to order your bees locally, and drive to pick them up yourself.
Most of us do not have local suppliers of packaged bees. So, generally, we can't order locally.

I have ordered bees twice, delivered via UPS, and both times were a total success. I really wasn't sure what to expect the first time, and like has been mentioned before, learned to cordinate the local UPS branch to schedule a pickup on delivery day. It worked out best for all parties involved.

bp
 

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I've had both nightmares and good experiences.

I had 8 packages shipped a few years ago via UPS. 1 package broke open during shipping which resulted in all my bee packages being put into breathable fabric bags. Getting the packages out was a bit of a pain, and it made inspection of the packages at the time of delivery tough - but I did accept them all and they all were installed successfully. That said I will drive to pickup packages in the future.

Queens are an entirely different matter. I've had queens shipped both by USPS and UPS. I always give the PO a heads up that there are bees on the way and make sure that they have my phone number. I don't get mail delivery at my house and try to be at the PO within 10 minutes of their call. All have arrived alive thus far. Same with Queens by UPS. I love two day delivery and tracking!!! I have had issues with non-bee Priority mail and so I tend to stay away from that service. If you do get delivery at your house it helps to be on good terms with the driver. They are probably delivering you lots of bee equipment so you ought to have plenty of opportunities to make their job a tad easier.
 
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