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Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to learn more about how to make packages to sell. I probably will not have a chance to work with anyone this year.

Can anyone suggest equipment tips etc.?
I just shook out some packages and as soon as I get some queens mated I'm going to give it a try with the empty cages I have.
Where do you get the syrup cans? My packages didn't come with any.
 

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You need a funnel to get the bees into the cage. For small quantities ...find the queen......then shake bees from brood frames. For cans use soup cans and fill with "candy"(granulated sugar, powdered sugar and water boiled for a specific time)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My plan was roughly...
Super a single on top of excluder.
During flow smoke entrance to move bees up thru excluder.
Shake super into box with plywood pyramid bottom sloped down into a 3" or so tube.
Add queen from mating Nuc (in cage)
Add syrup can and lid. I'm not sure how the can is held in or what the holes in the can look like
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ohh!
I see so there must be the perfect size can to fit so that the cover can be stapled on.
Thanks for the explanation.
 

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I imported packages a few years ago. The company I bought from used upright screw top plastic bottles. The lids would extend out the top of the package and the bottom would rest on the bottom of the package. 2 holes were cut so bees could access syrup in bottle from just under the top of the package. Foam cubes and a wire screen allowed the bees to access syrup with out drowning too many. Sorry, no picture readily available.
 

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The "can" that fit in my package box (and plugged the hole in the box) seems to be just a "normal" 32 oz can. If I take the label off a 32oz can of peaches, its identical to the syrup can. I assume you can buy sealed cans of syrup from bee supply vendors.

If I was making packages and needing to put holes in cans just prior to sealing the package, I'd put some small nails through a block of wood sized so that the nail points stick out of the back of the wood by about 1/4", then cap the top of the block with another block. The cap keeps the nails from backing out when you put the combined block on the syrup can and hit it with a hammer to punch all the holes in one blow. Note, I haven't actually tried this.
 

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Most big package producers buy cans and tops. Fill the cans with syrup and put the lid on with a machine just like the cans of anything you would buy from the store. This is a simple machine but expensive, even used, if you can find one. You can buy the cans filled and ready to go, but they aren't cheap.
 

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I'd like to get some training also on making up packages for sale. Thinking about using those cardboard nucs for now and adding cost to purchase to price. But I can't image selling more than a few each year and only if my hives are at full strength and number and I need to get rid of extra bees. I also saved two old package containers and might ask a few people at my bee club for theirs.
 

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Thinking about using those cardboard nucs for now and adding cost to purchase to price.
Why would you go through all that trouble for packages when you can sell 3-5 frame nuc's for so much more. A package is 60-80 bucks and a nuc is 100-125. Surely that is less trouble and you have way happier customers. Let the package guys sell packages don't reduce your Cadillac operation to a commodity package operation. You cant charge a premium on packages like you can nuc's once people get you name out there about your premium nuc's you will have a better investment.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Eastside,
I'd like to give it a try...see what I can learn from the process. However all you points have merit. Thanks for referring to me as a Cadillac operation I was trying to keep that a secret so that when I bust out of the gate I have the element of surprise.

A 1 quart new paint can almost fits just need to cut the hole a little bigger. A can of peaches in light syrup fits perfect.

Fact is if I made packages I would probably never need to add a can of syrup the few I made wouldn't be going far enough to need it.

I would like to make them proffesional grade... Never know when that knowledge and skill could come in handy!
 

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The way we did it was use a shaker box, it fitted a super and went down in a kind of funnel that went into another box that held the bees.

No time was wasted finding queens, we went around the yard taking lids off and put a queen excluder on each hive, and then a box with 6 empty frames evenly spaced, and the lid got put back on, we then walked around smoking the hives heavily in the entrance and "drumming" on them with a rubber hammer. This got done to each hive 2 or 3 times. Then the boxes we put on, now full of bees, were taken off and put on the shaker box and bees shaken off the 6 frames. As the bottom box got full of bees, one guy would lift the bottom box onto his knee. The other guy had packages and a set of scales. the guy with the box on his knee would open a hatch in the box and tip bees into a funnel the other guy put into packages on the scales. The guy doing the packages would yell the other guy when there were 4 lbs of bees in the package, so he would stop tipping and the other guy would stick the tin in the package and put a new package on the scales, with the funnel, so the other guy could tip more bees in.

Hope all that makes sense. :eek:
 

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Thanks Oldtimer - that is extremely helpful. Any tips on managing hives for bulk bees - before or after harvesting - would be extremely appreciated. I don't envision selling packages, but being able to efficiently produce a few of my own bulk bees would sure be helpful at times as I get into queen raising more. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Makes sense the way you explained it.
One of the videos showed someone shaking from an elevated position with a person below weighting out and controlling flow of bees.

How did you keep the frames from falling out?
 

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OK well for us most of the packages were taken in our fall, after honey harvest, to send to Northern Hemisphere countries who were in springtime. So the hives were two boxes and boiling with bees, very easy to take packages from and no loss to the hives, they didn't need all those bees for winter.

The rest of the year, we only took packages off for our own use to make up our own mating nucs, so not such a big demand on the hives, but basically, we ran the hives as bee producers rather than honey producers, they were always on a flow, we'd move them to ensure that. We kept the hives stimulated as much as we could, and took packages off as the hives could spare them. Swarming was a non issue, the bees never got a chance. No varroa then so hives could do extremely well with a little TLC.
 

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Makes sense the way you explained it.
One of the videos showed someone shaking from an elevated position with a person below weighting out and controlling flow of bees.

How did you keep the frames from falling out?
Hmm.. I tried to find a you tube video showing it but can't find one. For us anyway, the shaking and pouring was done seperately, there was an aluminum bee collecting box that sat on the ground, then on top of that was put the super holder / funnel. The super was put on top of this, and each frame given a good shake the bees fell down through the funnel, and into the bee collecting box. Then the super was removed, and the super holder / funnel, leaving the aluminum bee holder box, which then had the bees tipped out of it into the packages.

I know there is a you tube video showing pretty much this method because I've seen it in the past, but I couldn't find it.
 

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OK well that first video shows pretty much what we used to do, it's the fastest most efficient way, but it doesn't show how to get the bees into the shaker box.

But the second video, at around 3.48, shows them using a super holder / funnel, but it's slow cos they are shaking directly into the packages. If you can imagine that funnel dropping bees into the shaker box as used in the first video, that's pretty much what we used to do. The bees can then be weighed more accurately than looks like those guys in the second video could do.
 
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