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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had some losses over the winter, decided to get a couple new packages, and bought for the first time from Mike Radford's company (Northwest Bee Suppply, formerly Alaska Bee Products). Within 2 weeks of release, one of the queens was failing - spotty brood on only 2 frames, and the bees had already begun superseding her - 10 queen cells on those frames. Mike refused to provide a replacement. "It happens sometimes", he said. Told me I could come up to Sequim and he'd sell me one for $35.

I'm a 3rd year beek and had purchased packages only once before, not from Mr. Radford. I checked with the seller I'd previously used and asked if this was standard practice in the biz. He told me that the wholesaler he deals with gives him 3% overage in stock just for this type of eventuality. Mike will only give you a new queen if your old one is DOA, apparently. I was not in a position to make a trip to Sequim, much less pay for gas, round trip ferry fare plus the queen replacement costs. I let the bees make their own replacement queen, but it's set them back.

Northwest Bee Supply may have competitive prices, but you risk end up paying a lot more over the long run, as he will make you pay for another no matter what, and you'll have to travel if you want another mated queen asap. Others on this forum have had similar experience; I wish I'd checked reviews ahead of time.

As a side issue, he inconvenienced his customers in the Seattle area by not getting clearance beforehand with the owners of the parking lot where he planned to do the package delivery (Boeing Field parking lot). He was late to the delivery, and there were so many people milling around waiting that it drew the attention of the security guards. Turns out he didn't have permission to conduct his business there, and we got shuffled around to 3 other parking lots (a restaurant down the street, then a state office building lot next door to that, and finally a perimeter parking lot near the Boeing Field terminal). At each place we kept getting kicked out by the facility manager/security. It took close to 3 hours to finally get my package.

It's not Mr. Radford's fault that one of the queens failed, but be prepared for crappy customer service. You're better off doing business with a local seller if you can find one. Ballard Bee Company has been my go-to place for last-minute needs (you pay more for convenience, but it's worth it).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not trying to get into a "war". Just stating the facts and my opinion. Readers can draw their own conclusions. People (especially new beeks) need to know what level of customer service they can expect. I wouldn't buy anything from NWB again, there are other options. Glad I had better support my first year of beeking.
 

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Not trying to get into a "war". Just stating the facts and my opinion. Readers can draw their own conclusions. People (especially new beeks) need to know what level of customer service they can expect. I wouldn't buy anything from NWB again, there are other options. Glad I had better support my first year of beeking.
i appreciate your good attitude.
 

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I am sorry to hear about your bad experience. I have bought a dozen or so packages from Mike over the last several years and have been happy with my experience. He replaced two queens for people I know, 1 dead in the package and another that wasn't laying after 2 weeks.
 
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