Bee Packages for Our Bee Club...Where to get them?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by DonMcJr, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. DonMcJr

    DonMcJr New Member

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    As most of you know I started a Beekeeping Club this year. I want to take a pre-order and then drive and get bee packages for the club members. We're in Michigan and I'd like to offer different kinds of Bees to the club members and some strains that are more winter hardy too if possible.

    So what better place to look than this great forum! Does anyone have suggestions or maybe even sell packages? I've called a few places and I am not seeing a discount for Clubs or even bulk orders except one place said $10 off for Clubs.

    Thanks!
     
  2. cheezer32

    cheezer32 New Member

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    Personally I like Wilbanks stock from Georgia, I've never had a problem with them overwintering but it seems that a lot of people do. Personally I think it's a lot of mismanagement. They are great Italians, so they need to be overwintered like Italians. They are gentle, heavy brood, and large honey crops in my experience. Roughly how many packages are you looking for?
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I suspect a lot of 'talk' (which sounds to me like a lot of speculation... that is not backed by any real science or personal experimentation) about winter hardiness in this or that kind of bee is down right silly. You (meaning I) can get into conversation with folks who talk about developing bees adapted to local conditions who frankly don't have a clue as to what they are talking about when it comes either to the selection required or the time for developing adaptation. Meanwhile you have people who produce packages that sell these all over the US and some folks (no matter where they are) will rear these thru the winter successfully. Other folks (including some well noted experts) meanwhile can seem to keep bees alive no matter what the bees origin or race.

    I guess in some way this is a long winded way of agreeing with cheezer's above post.

    At the end of the day the bees you have in a package are typically not even closely related to the queen in the introduction cage and it is the queen that you really want to consider with a large degree of focus when you make this kind of decision.
     
  4. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    "At the end of the day the bees you have in a package are typically not even closely related to the queen in the introduction cage."

    The above statement is one that never entered my mind until my second year of beekeeping. When I ordered my first three packages, I thought they were just one happy little family. i.e., the Brady Bunch
     
  5. DonMcJr

    DonMcJr New Member

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    All so true! That along with watching the weather were your bees come from is another good point...like this year it was rainy in Georgia and they have no real way of knowing if their queens made it out to mate or not...

    So it never hurts to re-queen your hive later in the summer with a good queen or at least watch your queen is laying good!
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    you of course bring up another good point Don in that no matter where you order queens from a lot simply depends on the weather. this makes it especially difficult since packages (+ a queen) are typically ordered up months in advance and often time how good that package performs is based on a fairly limit time frames (window of opportunity) around the time the newly emerged queen should mate. it seems to me sometimes Georgia gets favorable weather and sometimes it is Texas or Florida turn but rarely do all three (essentially all of the Gulf Coast states) experience exceptional weather thru out the primary package season.

    another factor which I do think anyone with even a moderate level of bee keeping experience should be able to allow for is proper timing in the establishment of a package of bees at your location. having package at just the right time (not too early and not too late) is something you do have some control over and it terms of priorities is almost as important as the kind and quality of the queen.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray Member

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    1) ".....that is not backed by any real science or personal experimentation" GUILTY :), but I'm working on it.

    2) "Personally I think it's a lot of mismanagement. They are great Italians, so they need to be overwintered like Italians."
    I agree, in principle.

    3) "
    winter hardiness in this or that kind of bee"
    Africanized bees cannot survive in Michigan.

    One can raise Italian Bees in the North Woods, if they are managed as Italians.
    The darker bees, that shut down brood rearing during dearths and winter, need to be managed differently.
    Does that make them survivors? Does that make them easier to winter? If so, in what regions?
    Is their slower build up in the spring a detriment everywhere, or only south of the Ohio River?
     
  8. cheezer32

    cheezer32 New Member

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    Ray: I don't normally treat a hive by its race, I was just generalizing for the treat them like Italians, such as expect them to burn through food, so leave them plenty, they winter better in large cluster, so do what you can to not have 3 frames in the fall but a large booming hive. You need to develop a "feel" when you look into a hive, such as this hive needs this hive setup/this population because this is what it has now and how it looks, a foresight almost.
    Slower buildup? You can stimulate the darker bees to raise brood early (before natural food sources) and with there heavy laying, they will build fine, it also depends what you are after. Management practices and expectations at certain times of the year differ from honey producers, queen rearers, nuc sellers, pollinators, and those who just have a hive for enjoyment. Besides a poor and or dead hive what's good/bad and liked/disliked in a hive can vary from beekeeper to beekeeper. I overwinter Italians more than fine here (I don't have super bad winters though) but I think it's enough to be a decent test.

    Don: If you are interested I know a guy just south of Toledo who brings up wilbanks packages end of march/first week of April every year. Ill see him next weekend and can talk to him for you if you are interested. He only normally charges I think 5$ more than what he payed at wilbanks to cover the trip a little.

    Ps. I won't have packages, but queens if there is a need.
     
  9. DonMcJr

    DonMcJr New Member

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    Cheezer32... If he can get packages of bees send me the info and prices in a PM... I don't have a problem driving to Ohio to pick them up if the price is right and the bees are good!

    I'm guessing about 50 packages... I'll know more after the Sept/Nov Meetings...

    Also I know most people don't know if they need packages til after winter and they see if their bees made it through the winter...
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    and thereby an excellent example of the true value of social media.... which is at it's heart just a simple connections.