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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started beekeeping this year and was lucky enough to find a vendor still excepting orders in March of this year. I called several vendors from the list provided by Dadant on their website and only Koehnen had some available. The package arrived in good shape and they did well this season. I'm looking to buy a few more packages and started calling vendors from all over the country and find that many no longer offer package for sale and if they do they don't ship. I'm know there are vendors in California that I could buy from but my question is why are some vendors getting out of the business? Is it that the market for packaged bees is shrinking or is it too hard of a business to maintain? Just wondering if anyone has any insight into this.
 

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I"m guessing alot of it has to do with shipping issues. It doesn't take to many ups, usps, or fed ex mess ups to cost a packager a lot of money.
 

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read about what happened to Cedar Glenn Apiaries. Apparently they lost a whole shipment of packaged bees handled by UPS. Tests on the dead bees at a UPS terminal showed they were positive for pesticides. Cedar Glenn says it cost them a fortune to replace the bees for their customers and UPS is taking no responsibility in the matter. The bees were alive and healthy when they left the apiary. Thus Cedar Glenn is no longer shipping bees.
 

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Another factor can be that honey prices are up and colony loss is up. Some package producers are filling their own empty boxes and others already had large orders to fill other beeks empty boxes.
 

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I think it has to do with the shipping. Fedex was flying the packages for USPS. Which they are no longer doing. (I think)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, buying local is best but not all breeds are available. I was just curious why so many vendors are getting out of the business of shipping packages of bees. No money in it or just too much trouble?
 

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If you pick up a copy of the American Bee Journal or Bee Culture after the first of the year you'll likely find a good number advertising. Many are still in business. There are, as has been stated already in this thread, surely some shipping issues, particularly when the distances from the supplier are big. Many I've seen will only ship USPS (Post office) and then only to a limited number of zones. Fear not....they're still out there.
 

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Yes, buying local is best but not all breeds are available. I was just curious why so many vendors are getting out of the business of shipping packages of bees. No money in it or just too much trouble?
An alternative might be to buy local bees, then purchase a mated queen from the breeder that has the type of queen genetics you prefer. Might be easier to find a queen you want than it would be to find a package.

Just a thought.

Matt
 

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Local would be best, if available. Not only that, you could find a mentor with a world of knowledge.

My local bees are Italians. They're about 5 miles down the road. Just out of range with my Russians. That's the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it.

Not only when I order package bees, I must do so in November to get on a first come first serve schedule for next May. Don't ask why he does that, I don't know nor do I wish to hear. USPS, they ship. Expedited shipping and I'll call the post office and have them ring me at 6:00am when they get there.

I wouldn't trust anyone else to ship that kind of package. It's in your best interest to get to know your post office officials, believe me.

Why would any apiaries sell package bees in March ?
 

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Saw you ordered from Koehnen. Good choice, but they may not be best for your area. Lived in Santa Fe for many years. I am sure they produced well for you this summer, but in the long run they may not fair as well. I advise getting some bees or queens from Les Crowder if you can pry them from him. He hasn't worried about Varroa in over a decade. As far as fewer package producers, there are still many in business. As far as why people are dropping out: Shipping bees is just a pain. Others will take their place. As a beginner, nucs are the way to go anyway. Do you subscribe to a bee journal? There are many suppliers there. Stick with local and feral, and you will be better off in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I asked one vendor why he no longer ships package bees and his reply was:

Different reasons. So many problems with bees some people are just getting out period. My reason is the post office is getting very hard to deal with and they don't handle the packages very well, too many were dead on arrival.
 

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My local bees are Italians. They're about 5 miles down the road. Just out of range with my Russians. That's the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it.
Doesn't 5 miles still give you an area of overlap? If bees fly up to 3 miles out, your bees fly 3 and his fly 3 they should overlap.
I always heard they fly from 3 to 5 miles out.
 

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hello
I have had many nightmares with UPS so when I do ship queens I use post office at least when they take your money for insurance if lost or damaged they pay. UPS killed 20 my nuc's being shipped out west. after going down there to make a claim, they said read the fine print no live delivery's. so how does one stay in this line of work when the shipper kills your bees????
as far as packages I do its pick up only and have never had a problem with that.
 

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Can't beat the good old fashioned Post Office. "Live" anything must be difficult to transport anywhere. Look at all the preparation involved. Local keepers selling packaged bees are few and far between these days. Being hit with the economic conditions and CCD has literally put them out of buzz-i-ness. Can a residential beek file for unemployment and can they prove it is the question.......
 

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Buying packages is the traditional way of expanding. I think the hassles and the hardships are prompting the astute beekeeper to make their own splits, raising their own queens when the season is appropriate.

This is a movement to be sustainable, or at least less dependent upon someone else (including the Postal authorities), and a movement to be more self-sufficient. To use an old cliche, it's a shifting paradigm.

For me, the "appropriate" season is the previous summer as I cannot raise early spring queens. I split in the summer, requeen with my locally-adapted stock to bring "large" nucs through the winter in ten-frame singles. It also means I am forced to find alternative methods of swarm control rather than the conventional spring splitting.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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I am in Ohio. I have at least two apiaries within 65 miles that sell packaged bees. However, one gets his from Georgia and trucks them in himself. The other gets his from California and has them delivered.

I got lucky (at least I feel that way) in that I was able to pre order my package(s) now for March 31, 2010 pickup at the one within 30 miles. It might be a bit cool yet, but I have plans to deal with that. It may or may not work out.

Check around your area in the phone book and via the web. I found both doing web searches for bees in and around my town.
 
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