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Re: Inspiration to keep going

what beekeeper need up here in Canada is access to relatively priced replacement stock
I agree Ian. Down here getting your losses replaced is relatively easy if you are willing to get set up in the south. Doing it in a northern climate takes a bit more skill and a little luck.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

The beekeeping model many of you American beekeeper really interest me. Your logistics must be a nightmare but the advantage of skipping the cold and allowing them to settle in a warmer climate, to which gives you a jump start on spring is a huge advantage.
not to mention the potential revenue earned from pollination
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

what beekeeper need up here in Canada is access to relatively priced replacement stock
Ian,
If we had access, there would be more competition. We'd revert back to calcium cyanide in the fall. Anyone could do it. I don't know weather I would laugh or cry if the border opened to packages.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Ian, you seem to be doing pretty well from where I'm standing. You have all your bees to hand. You are not dependent on the vagaries of other people's weather. You don't have to leave your wife and kids to go split in the south. Not to mention you only lost 15% on an operation your size with no help that I can see over the winter. Of course, there were a few posts you made that made me wonder if the prairie wind was getting to you...
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Ian:

Open up the border, and you can get yourself a nice spread on the Gulf Coast. :)
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Ian, you seem to be doing pretty well from where I'm standing. You have all your bees to hand. You are not dependent on the vagaries of other people's weather. You don't have to leave your wife and kids to go split in the south.
Yes, I totally get this. After years spent living out of cheap motel rooms, I made an investment on a second home. Best money I have ever spent. We have family and friends that love to come down and enjoy the beautiful east Texas spring weather, some even help out (right Rob Renneker?). A round trip flight can be had to the Shreveport airport (just 40 minutes away) from most any airport up north for around $300. Let me tell you, there is no comparison in our bee quality since we made the decision to raise all of our own bees and queens in the south compared to the old days on the package treadmill. We started out raising enough cells for our own use and now raise and sell to lots of other folks as well, of course there are always some bumps in the road along the way, just threw away over 1,000 nice cells and had a guy back out on another few hundred, oh well I just chalk it up as part of the cost of doing business. Que sera sera.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

just threw away over 1,000 nice cells and had a guy back out on another few hundred, oh well I just chalk it up as part of the cost of doing business. Que sera sera.
"Better to have and not need then to need and not have"
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

"Better to have and not need then to need and not have"
Exactly, there was such a severe shortage of cells in east Texas for weeks that we grafted longer than what we had either need or orders for. Apparently everyone else did what we did and the shortage turned to a surplus within days. It was our call, sometimes it works out , sometimes it doesn't.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Ian, you seem to be doing pretty well from where I'm standing. You have all your bees to hand. You are not dependent on the vagaries of other people's weather. You don't have to leave your wife and kids to go split in the south. Not to mention you only lost 15% on an operation your size with no help that I can see over the winter.
Let me tell you, there is no comparison in our bee quality since we made the decision to raise all of our own bees and queens in the south compared to the old days on the package treadmill. We started out raising enough cells

If there is anything you should be gleaning from this exchange between beekeepers is that you must be aware of the conditions to which your going to be beekeeping in, and then manage the conditions appropriately. The other guys beekeeping management model will not necessarily translate and fit into your operation.
Jim has the opportunity to head south for the winter and has developed a very successful beekeeping model. Huge sacrifice has been made to make this work but if you read closely to what Jim types on beesource here, he has turned that sacrifice into further opportunity.
For me, my circumstances are much different, so I have had to adapt to the conditions at hand. I brought in some intensive management practices and built facilities to manage that risk. And as Adrian has pointed out, even through the challenges, I have been able to achieve all my production targets.
The guys that are not able to accept change, or adjust management practices as new challenges arise ( because new ones arise every year ) are the beekeepers that seem to be struggling and in some cases are the ones who allow bad luck to bankrupt the business. Keep it real, keep that revenue coming in!

For a beekeeper managing conditions like me, that so called "package treadmill" is actually called that "package lifeline". Totally different looks on the business models because both business models are completely different.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Ian:

Open up the border, and you can get yourself a nice spread on the Gulf Coast. :)
It would turn the economics up in Canada on its head. If I continued on beekeeping I would go back to packaged bees every spring. Likely those selling nucs in Canada wouldn't have a market anymore. So there would be more beekeepers chasing pollination, and more chasing honey. There would also be less reason for an Integrated Pest Management Program. There would be less barriers to entry for new competitors. Possibly lower honey prices on both sides of the border. I don't think it would be such a good idea from a Canadian standpoint. I can see why the decision was made to keep it closed as a protectionist measure.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

It would turn the economics up in Canada on its head.
Don't confuse the open boarder issue between the package issue and bees on comb issue. You do understand that there is already packages flowing into the country from New Zealand and Australia? How about packages also from California?
What exactly would the difference be other than more availability to bee stock? Queens already flow from many producers that operate in California.

By allowing package bees from California, more stock will be available possibly at $50 per package less and a pound of bees more than what comes from NZ now.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

I would think it's both packages and productivity (bees on comb).

Summers with very long daylight hours in the north; Winters with short broodless periods in the south.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

I don't mind paying 50$ more to keep it the way it is. If more bees were available the seed companies would just pay less pollination fees so it would be a wash.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Haraga, do you see the issue the same way with US imported queens? same thing, more queens available at opportune times promotes more colony numbers. Im sure you take advantage of import queens as I do.
I don't see the disadvantage to the industry by having cheaper available packages. More beekeepers will be able to recover from die outs quicker, and will be able to maintain hive numbers more effectively. Right now a two pound package from NZ runs $170. I dont see a flood of new beekeepers because of $125 packages.
Now if that was a three pound $50-$75 package, I would buy that argument.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Ian, what do you think the price for a US package would be if the border opened to packages, in $CND, given the increased demand and the protocols that I suspect that would need to be followed. As with US queens, I suspect there might well be few producers that wanted the hassles of selling to Canada unless the premium was worth it.

When the border opened to queens we were able to have a supply of more dependable. higher quality queens than the late season down under queens, but the price was not appreciable different. Packages might well turn out very similar.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Ian and Allan I understand where both of you are coming from. All I can say is I don't mind it the way it is.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Haraga, you misunderstood my position. I am happy with the way things are as well.

I'm concerned that opening the border may well be a case of "the medicine being worse than the disease."

I haven't bought bees for 10 years, have increased in size and normally have surplus bees. Economically, I would probably loose with an open border. However, I would never want to come across as smug about winter survival. Beekeeping has a way of keeping you humble.

As I stated before, I am not convinced there would be a great discount in prices and maybe not even supply.
 

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Re: Inspiration to keep going

Right now a two pound package from NZ runs $170. I dont see a flood of new beekeepers because of $125 packages.
Now if that was a three pound $50-$75 package, I would buy that argument.
I can buy a package for 90 bucks if I were in the US. If you could get your hands on that same package, why would you even try to overwinter? Why would you medicate? Why would you buy Canadian nucs? Why would you feed?
I am not playing the fool. Just simply looking at both sides of the equation. When would it stop making sense to overwinter? At that point, what are the barriers of entry to anyone keeping bees on a commercial scale?
Granted you would need less labor and for shorter periods. You could also keep bees one year and not the next. There are advantages to running a package operation. I am simply looking at the big picture. The outcome of cheap packages may not be what you actually desire, and we all acknowledge that really cheap packages would be destructive to our market. Heck, I've seen whole hives for sale coming out of almonds for $150. Providing they are 2 supers full as advertised, I could pay the keeper to shake 4X 2-3lb packages plus 3 queens. We would be getting close to the $50 range (Before delivery.) I think it could be done for $75.

The importation protocols would fall quickly as SHB and resistant varroa, resistant AFB arrive. Africanized hives would probably take care of themselves geographically.
 
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