Packing queens for shipment

Discussion in 'Raising Queens' started by d.magnitude, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Hi,
    I've been raising a number of queens recently, and I'm about ready to start selling them. I imagine that I'd be doing mostly local sales to folks who would pick them up, but I want to be open to shipping if anyone asks. I only imagine mailing 1 or 2 at a time, but I'm not sure exactly how I should pack them.

    I've only received queens in the mail a couple of times, and it was a while ago. If I recall correctly, they were in JZBZ cages taped to the inside of a Priority Mail box.

    I've also heard of using a Tyvek envelope with some holes punched. Would I just drop them in? Apparently the envelopes don't lend themselves to automation, and get a little more TLC going thru the system.

    Any tips? What has worked for you? Which shipping method (USPS vs. UPS) is another issue that has been discussed; I'm just talking about packaging advice here. Of course I would mark it "live bees", and I'll probably talk to my local P.O. first to see what they have to say.

    Thanks in advance,
    -Dan
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I primarily ship queens (typically in very small numbers) exclusively by USPS. I am not certain about Pa but here this means you need a Queen Breeder's License and small health certificate obtained from the state bee inspector that you tape to the package to make it all legal. I use 3 hole wood introduction cages* for shipping and the smallest sized 'if it fits, it ships' boxes. I add a cardboard cradle out of cardboard which I heat glue to the bottom of the box and one thickness of just a small bit of cardboard at the top. I place the introduction cage on it's edge in the cradle and close the lid. I also place a small yellow and black tag indicating their is a queen bee inside with a list of don't. I take a very small screwdriver or large nail and punch air holes on four sides/edges of the "if it fits' box... perhaps half a dozen to the side. the smallest 'if it fits' box could likely easily hold four or five queen cages with little to no problem and perhaps twice that number if you crowded them somewhat.

    *the real bugger in these types of cages is the queen cage candy in the introduction cage. it seem to a bit of a feel thing to get this just right... not too hard and not too soft but just right. you want the candy to remain soft but not to run out of the introduction cage the first time it get a bit hot.
     

  3. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Thanks Tec, that's just the kind of advice I was looking for. I'll probably be using the plastic cages, but I'm sure it all still applies. Perhaps I will try to rig an easy way to secure the cage in the mailing box; I suppose anything that keeps it from rattling around in there should work.

    Would you be willing to share the list of "don'ts" that you post on the box? I'm guessing that's aimed to the postal carrier.

    While I'm at it, maybe I'll run a trial of leaving a cage w/ candy (no bees) in a hot room and see if the candy runs. I also assume that when using the JZBZ cages, one should put a cap over the candy so the bees don't "release" themselves during a holdup in shipment.

    I'll have to research the bit about getting a Queen Breeder's License and the heath certificate. That sounds vaguely familiar, but I couldn't find anything about it just now searching the PA Dept of Ag site. Bjorn if you're reading this, please chime in.

    -Dan
     
  4. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    dan,
    i don't ship queens but have received many in different mailing configurations. i recently received a queen in a jz bz cage, as tec said it was hot glued to the bottom of the usps cardboard box, and air holes punched in the box. on the outside was written in black permanent marker LIVE BEES in big letters. the cap is left on these. as far as the 'don't's', the post office typically knows not to leave these in the mail box.....but i would put it on the box as a don't. as the buyer and receiver of the precious cargo i always notify my po carrier well in advance, and did have one carrier who(notified in advance) left 3 queens in my mailbox a few years back, clearly marked on the tyvek type envelope, live and do not leave in box, smashed in and surrounded by other mail.

    i think, in part as a buyer, it's my responsibility to see that my carrier does not do this, or drive her around all day in a hot vehicle, and after fuming with the po about this, they now call me to pick her up when she arrives, or they swing her by first thing in the morning.

    good luck to you!
     
  5. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Excellent tips. I still need to go down to the P.O. and have a face-to-face conversation about their recommendations.

    Riverbee, was the JZBZ cage just glued directly to the inside of the priority mail box? If that works, it seems a lot simpler than constructing a cardboard "cradle" for it. I wouldn't have thought to do that. Also, when they come in the Tyvek envelopes, are they secured somehow, or just loosey-goosey in there?

    -Dan
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the tag is in black and yellow and say Live Queen Bee across the top... across the bottom and exclamation and in large print keep and then a series of dashes with, -well ventilated , -out of sun , -at room temperature, -away from insecticides... I will try to post a snap shot of it later... which you then should be able to print.

    you can seal the ends of the jz cages with a bit of hot wax or plug with one of these cork plugs commonly used in three hole cages (the same cork obtained at Kelleys seem to work for the jz cages also).

    here you obtain a 'Queen Breeder Permit' and the small 'health certificates' from the State Bee Inspector.
     
  7. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Thanks for the rundown of the "don't" list. I could probably work up something similar. I'll check out those cork plugs, too. They're probably cheaper than the little plastic JZBZ ones.

    I sent a quick email to the PA state apiarist, but haven't heard anything back yet. I'd be thrilled to get an inspection anyway. I've been registered for 3 years and haven't seen an inspector yet.

    Of course, all this is just in case I ever need to ship a queen. So far, I haven't even produced that many, and only sold a couple. I hope to "put my name out there" soon though, and want to be prepared if someone is interested in having one mailed.

    -Dan
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    file://localhost/Users/gene/Desktop/Livequeenbees.jpg
     
  9. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Thanks Tec, but I can't open the file. It looks like the text is there, but no file attached.
     
  10. melrose

    melrose New Member

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    I recenty received two queens from BetterBee, they ship them in a tyvek envelope that had holes puched in it. I expected a box, but they arrived unharmed nonetheless.
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    "Riverbee, was the JZBZ cage just glued directly to the inside of the priority mail box? If that works, it seems a lot simpler than constructing a cardboard "cradle" for it. I wouldn't have thought to do that. Also, when they come in the Tyvek envelopes, are they secured somehow, or just loosey-goosey in there?"

    dan, yes the jzbz cage was hot glued directly in the center of the box and the tyvek envelopes are 'loosey-goosey' style. also the candy cap/hanging strip for the jzbz cages are a separate purchase i think, but they are kind of handy. i used one last week to run a queen into and popped the cap on it.
     
  12. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Thanks Riverbee. I'm liking the simplicity of the hot-glued-to-the-box method. Tyvek envelops sound easy too, but I'd be a little afraid of them getting folded and cutting off the vent holes.

    I have (and have used) some of the pink JZBZ caps, but not quite enough to match the number of cages I have on hand. If I only use them when shipping, I think they'll do.

    -Dan
     
  13. cheezer32

    cheezer32 New Member

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    I just put a candy plug in the end toss them in a flat rate box, and mail them... I used to use duct tape and run it accrosd the tube to tape them down, but I don't anymore. So far they have been fine that way for me personally. I usually end up just stabbing some holes in the box with my car keys.... All together it's just easy, and so far no one has said they have received a dead/damaged queen from doing it this way...
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a Dan snip..
    but I can't open the file.

    I posted a picture of it down in the photo section.

    the cradle in my prior post is simply a small bit of cardboard (maybe 3" X 3") with four small slits and four 'ears' turned upward. I hot glue this cradle to the bottom of the box and also hot glue one small strip of cardboard to the top of the box directly above the cradle. closing the box keeps everything in place.

    I guess the other thing you should consider in regards to selling and shipping queens is that there will be some seasonal differences that will effect how or if you want to ship. I myself will not ship anything when ever the day time temperature gets too hot and in the cooler parts of the year any shipping that involves air transport should to avoided. <as you might guess excess heat or cold is the real problem here.
     
  15. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I got the picture. It looks good.

    Good point about average temps during time of mailing. I just ordered an ant farm kit for my daughter, and they won't ship right now because of the high temps in the area. I guess bees are a little better at regulating temperature, but not much in that little cage in a box.

    Is there an average high that you consider the "cutoff" for shipping?
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    100 degrees... when the temperature is low some folks post a 'ground delivery' stamp to the box.