Was i out of line at last nights club meeting?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, May 23, 2012.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    New club members bought nucs ( three weeks ago) in cardboard boxes with two drawn frames with some brood and honey, two frames of foundation and the queen still in the cage??? (four frame nucs) $90.00. I told them they were ripped off, that to me they bought package bees in a nuc box and should take them back or at lease make a complaint to the Hardware store.These nucs came from a beekeeper in Kansas, who got them down south? and sold them through a Hardware store here in Mo. (no names until i find out more) A new member ask me to come and see if he installed his right, that they were weak and told me about these nucs (two weeks ago) i thought he was mixed up and that he had bought packages, but insisted he bought nucs? He said when he installed his nucs (2) in ten frame hives, he just removed the screen on the queen cage and turned her lose since it was a nuc? i told him he got lucky. The queens are laying,but the nucs were short on worker bees and will take time to build up. Maybe i'm wrong? is this the way their selling nucs now? Jack
    PS. New members were worried because there bees have only drawn one frame out in three (going on 4) weeks.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    If the queens are in cages it sounds more like a package than a nuc to me, no matter what you "wrap" it in. I can't comment on price, no idea for your area.
     

  3. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    For me a nuc is atleast 41/2 frames pulled, 3 brood 1 1/2 to 2 food and queen runnin around fat as heck, when I open that nuc and if it don't look like its ready to send out a swarm from crowding its not a nuc ready for me to sell it, or any1 to buy it
     
  4. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    To me, "out of line" is very contextual. If you got up in front of the whole meeting and were ranting and all "YOU WERE RIPPED OFF, RAWR!" then, you know, maybe. LOL

    But no, I think frank and honest speaking is a good thing. However, I like to think the best of folks before thinking the worst. It could just be many levels of confusion and ignorance, or maybe even some keeper somewhere trying to sell a new kind of package, one with package bees but also some drawn foundations, or just selling bees for the first time and not really knowing what they're doing, or something like that rather than malicious intent.

    If I were in your spot, I'd want to find out more information and track the bees to their source and find out all I could. Then I could spread the word around my area about whether it was just ignorance or malicious, and people could be warned about the sellers.

    It sounds like this Hardware store might just be mixed up in it, like they just decided to do this thing with selling bees, but no one in the store staff knew anything about it and just trusted what they were told. So, maybe not really complain to them, but speak to them and let them know that *they* were mislead as well, and offer to give them some Selling Bees 101 info so they can make a better decision as a business in the future.
     
  5. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Apparently it was worth the price or else the folks wouldn't have bought the bees. I didn't think there was a "set" price for bee purchases. I see folks on here selling queens for $20.00 and others selling them for over $100.00. You'll never know what the market will bear unless you ask/sell

    An immigrant with no education asked his boss for a promotion.
    "Sorry, but you can't count or read - I can't promote you. You'll have to keep sweeping the floors."

    "But, boss, I just want to work on the loading dock."

    "Sorry, there's nothing I can do."

    On the way home and feeling dejected, the guy bought a small box of apples as a present for his wife. She loved apples.
    When he arrived at his tenement, he sat down to eat an apple while he waited for his wife.

    A man walking by spotted the fruit and said to him, "Hey, how much for two of those apples?"
    "I dunno," said the immigrant - "what'll you give me?"
    The man gave him a dollar and told him to keep the change. Before long several people had stopped and bought apples, and soon his box was empty.

    The next day he bought two boxes and went uptown. Many people stopped and wondered what his apples cost. His answer was always the same: "What'll you give?"

    Within a month he had quit his job and started selling apples. Soon he had a fruit stand, and then three. Within ten years he had an organic grocery store and after twenty years, an entire chain of them. He had become a very successful business man, by then.

    At his retirement party years later, everyone marveled at how far he had come, an uneducated immigrant.
    He was asked what he thought he might have become if he had gotten an education.

    With a twinkle in his eye, he answered... "A loading dock worker."

    ===================================================================================

    When in doubt about pricing something, ask people what they'll give.
    If its not enough, negotiate. If it satisfactory, you got a deal.

    Either way - you'll find out what it is worth.

    This works for bees, honey, cars, or anything else you want to sell.
     
  6. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    jack,
    i'm with perry and zookeep, same as zookeep, that is how i purchase nucs, and to what perry said "queens in cages, sounds like a package, no matter what you wrap it in."

    my thinking is that these 'nuc's are neither a package or a nuc hive, as you described "weak and short on worker bees." just some bees thrown in a cardboard box with a caged queen, never mind the price, very sad.
     
  7. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    I think the hardware store is a victim too. I'd advise them to find a new supplier. I can't imagine they'd be too excited about someone opening a nuc in the store to inspect the merchandise before buying. I wonder if there is a way that for a 5-frame nuc in a cardboard box you could put acceptable weight target on it. When the store receives nucs they regect anything that doesn't weigh "X" lbs.

    When I bought my nuc this spring the guy lifted several from the back of the truck to find me one of the heavier ones. I didn't weigh it myself but I had 3 frames almost solid with brood and 2 frames with mostly honey but also contained a good amount of brood cells.
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Those nucs sound like a rip-off to me. Doesn't matter if they were $75 or $175...There shouldn't be any frames of bare foundation in a 5 frame nuc! And there should be lots of brood and lots of bees. What a nerve! Complaints should be filed.
    One cannot open an agitated nuc of bees to inspect it in a store, or even in the parking lot. And hard for newbies to know how much a cardboard nuc should weigh.

    The 2 nucs I sold this Spring were 5 frames jam packed with bees and brood and honey, and their own laying queens.

    The nucs I got a year or two ago in the mail from GA, from Don FatBeeMan were also 5 frames- jam packed with bees and brood. The queen was caged to avoid her getting bumped or jarred during shipping. That did not bother me at all because the nucs were nice and loaded. They didn't skip a beat when I transferred them to their 10 frame box, and the queens were fine and laid right away.
     
  9. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Are you asking whether you were right, or are you asking whether you were out of line? I have found that in my life at least, that being right doesn't mean I'm not also out of line in saying what I have. I tend to think that if what you say makes enemies, it's probably out of line, even if it's correct.
     
  10. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Maybe my interpretation of a ripoff is different.

    If your car broke down and there was but one mechanic around who could work on it and he charged you for a new head gasket, a valve job, and a tune up, muffler bearings, blinker fluid, and a carbeurator for your fuel injected auto, but all he actually did was change your clogged fuel filter to fix you car....that would be a ripoff.

    This is a real question because I'm newer. Is it actually written somewhere in the beekeeping scriptures how many bees, comb, and frames shall be in a nuc?

    I paid $125 for my nucs. They were 5 frames and a foreign queen. One superceded and the other took but it was all good in the end. So I paid $35.00 more for 1 more drawn frame.
     
  11. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Wow! Hmm, well most people like a hardware store owner, probably wouldn't know what a nuc truly is...

    Before we began studying and joined a bee club - which was 9 months before we ever bought a single bee, we would not have known either.

    I may be wrong, but I'm under the impression a nuc is a split that has then grown and is established (mated laying queen) as a mini colony, on 4 or 5 pulled frames with at least 2 or 3 of good brood and 2 or 3 of honey. The box was insignificant, because the selling beekeeper delivered in May of 2011 a 5 frame nuc in his box, and transferred those 5 frames, bees and queen into my own deep hive body. And he took 5 of my new empty foundation in exchange. (was told this is how it was done...) That is how my first hive was purchased ($125). It grew and wintered well. In spite of an early swarm, it is still going strong and is my best colony, the Flower Power hive.

    I just hope this Hardware store bee supplier situation is due to a lack of knowledge and not intentional! Hope they get to the bottom of it.
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Nitty gritty - PerryBee style: :smile:

    Nuc = X number of frames of brood, (preferrably of all stages), Y number of frames with honey/pollen, and an active laying queen. (in a 5 frame nuc an empty frame of comb for the queen to lay in is alright, but not foundation).
    In my books a queen in a cage is probably not part of an established nuc and more than likely a recent addition, thereby introducing the possibilities of non-acceptance. To me a nuc has a queen that is actively laying eggs on those frames.
    A queen in a cage (in anything other than the instance Omie described= safety during travel, and I would want to have that explained to me prior) along with X pounds of bees in any type of conveyance, box/nuc is in my mind a package.
    I hear what you are saying Ben but in this instance we are talking "club members" and as such I think Jack was within his boundaries to point out difficiencies that may affect fellow members.
     
  13. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Eddy, it was sold as a 4 frame nuc and contained only 2 frames full of bees. Half the nuc was undrawn foundation. Any way you look at it, that is a rip-off.

    Jack, out of line or not, I would have done the same or worse.
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I just felt a shiver run down my spine! :shock:
     
  15. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    Jack;
    If it's the N--- Hardware I'm thinking of, a little South of Springfield, we both know I'm sure, they have been selling bees for years !
    The few times I bought from them seed, farm supplies, they were Very good.

    Might not hurt to contact them and let them know what they are getting from their supplier.

    Murrell
     
  16. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    2011 Nuc Buying Guide - From Ontario Beekeeping Association:

    ARE YOU BUYING NUCS THIS SPRING?
    KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING

    A ‘nuc’, or nucleus colony of bees, is the most common way to purchase a hive of honey bees, for hobbyists and sideliners and even for commercial beekeepers wanting to rapidly expand their operation.

    A nuc generally consists of a queen, 2 or more frames of brood, a frame of feed, and an empty frame or frame of foundation that gives the bees space to cluster. A nuc can vary in the total number of frames (brood, feed and empty), age of the queen and the type of shipping box. Nucs are most often sold with 4 frames in an enclosed, easily transportable cardboard box, but can also be sold in variations of a screened wooden hive box.

    The Ontario Bee Breeders Association attempted to standardize the definition of a nuc some years ago and came up with the following criteria for a 4 frame nuc:

    - Queen bee
    - 2 frames of mostly capped brood with adhering bees
    - 1 frame of feed with adhering bees
    - 1 frame of foundation
    - A few shakes of extra frames of bees to fill the box so it is bubbling with bees.

    Many beekeepers adhere to this definition of a nuc but there is still wide variation. So ask questions! Know what you are getting!

    1. ARE THE BROOD FRAMES CAPPED?

    2 frames of capped brood, versus 2 frames of eggs and larvae will make a HUGE difference to how fast your nuc takes off. A good nuc, when made up by the breeder with approximately ½ to . of the brood capped, should produce surplus honey in an average year.

    2. HOW OLD IS THE QUEEN? IS SHE ONTARIO STOCK? OR IMPORTED?

    A nuc will usually have a queen mated the previous summer; ideally the daughter of a queen selected for traits such as hygienic behaviour and honey production. Ask your Queen and Nuc producer whether they have a breeding program established. Good nuc producers will mark their queens with the colour of the year, so her age is obvious. It also allows for easy queen identification. In 2010, the marking colour was BLUE. In 2011, it is WHITE.

    3. IS IT A SPRING NUC OR A SUMMER NUC?

    A spring nuc is available throughout the month of May, and will consist of an overwintered queen on her own brood. In this respect, the queen has been already proven to be a good layer and has wintered her first winter with no problems. A summer nuc will be those sold after the first week of June, and will generally have a newly mated queen, and might be boosted with brood from other hives. In this case, the queen, although young and potentially vigourous, has not had time to be assessed.

    4. WHAT IS THE COST? DOES IT INCLUDE THE SHIPPING BOX?

    A spring nuc with capped brood and a queen from selected Ontario breeders will demand top prices. Would you pay as much for a spring nuc made up of random brood and an imported queen? There should also be a drop in prices for summer nucs, which must be coddled through their first summer and winter with the accompanying associated costs. Although it is possible for them to produce surplus honey their first year, they generally aren’t strong enough to produce a surplus crop until their second summer.

    Any beekeeper selling queens and nucs are required to have a QUEEN AND NUC PERMIT from the provincial government. This ensures that your beekeeper is regularly inspected and is not harbouring any diseases such as American Foulbrood. The nuc box or paperwork should have an attached Queen and Nuc permit sticker.
     
  17. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Murrell, your right on. The Hardware store has a good reputation, i have bought bees from them years ago and only had one complaint and they made it good. The person who sold the nucs joined our club (2 yrs. ago) and lives in lola,Ks. he works for a company that sells bee supplies, syrup,sugar,queens, nucs, packages, ect. He brings syrup and sugar (5 gal. buckets or 55 gal. drums) to sell in the fall to members.(from Ks.) This was the first time he sold bees at the club, he took orders at our club in Feb. and at the March club meeting,said he would honor them ,but any other orders would have to go through the Hardware store.The hardware store sells some bee supplies and this helps their sells and they probably get a cut for letting them set up on their parking lot?
    I found out that the nucs came from Alabama, and when he went to pick them up they didn't have them ready and he had to lay over for two days.I heard they were supposed to be five frame nucs and that to be at the Hardware store at the meeting time for pick-up, he took one frame from each nuc to make up four frame nucs in oder to make the dead line with enough nucs (many had caged queens and the brood wasn't theres. I called our club president(John) and ask if anyone had called the Hardware store, he said they had and was told that one of their employees had looked at the nucs and knew there would probably be a problem.John said there was $40.000 worth of bees sold? (i ask him twice) and that the store was holding the money and would make sure any complaints were taken care of before they gave it to the seller.:thumbsup:
    I'm one of the club mentors and told several new members that a nuc would give them a head start and if they wanted to experiment they could order a nuc and a package, but i would start with two hives. I felt a little responsible is why i got upset, i didn't make a fool of myself, i just told them i thought they got ripped off and should call the hardware store if they wasn't satisfied. I also heard (from many) that the seller overslep[ and was 3 hours late, some of the buyers had drove one and a half hours to get there. If i was a new beekeeper i think i would wonder what i was getting in to, I'm helping several in my area that bought some of these nucs,there so happy to get some bees that they are willing to take a chance on them, so i'm going to do my part. Jack
     
  18. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    I totally agree Omie. I bought a 5 frame nuc this spring that had 4 frames of bees and 1 frame of foundation that replaced the frame feeder they took out before I got there to pick it up. I hadn't expected to get 4 frames instead of 5.
     
  19. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Wow. That's...some special kind of ignorance in action right there.
     
  20. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a Murrell snip..
    Might not hurt to contact them and let them know what they are getting from their supplier.

    tecumseh:
    I would say definitely and not might... but certainly without feeding back information to the intermediate supplier nothing will change.

    I kind of like Canadians take on this and it a wonder how those folks make out at all with their own 'evil doing' government getting in the way. How can any improperly operating scoundrel make a killin' with their own government standing in the way?

    I would 'assume' that since these nucs have traveled over state lines a least a minimum of permits is required. If they had originated from here in Texas then the bees would be one thing but the queen in the package I suspect would or should require a permit. Another permit would be required for transportation purposes.

    There is of course a certain amount of expectation and misperception in regards to nucs. Some folks ideas like 'boiling over with bees' and 'no foundation' may sound good but in practice may not work so well in 'the real world'.

    I do sell a few nucs here and I do quite routinely place a 'fairly newish' frame with foundation in these. This has more to do with the shelf life of the package than anything else. I have come to NOT selling nucs where the bees are boiling out of the package because these do give you a nice wow but also have the good prospects of not making the trip. Of course the $ is good but at the end of the day a good deal of my motivation when I see one of 'my girls' leaving here to go to their new home I want them and the bee keeper taking them to their next home to have some success.

    Now lets look at the business math and logic involved here. Let say those $90 nucs required $10 to deliver.... this means that the basic undelivered price of these was $80. Then consider the seller mark up and I would guess those nucs cost about $55 to $60 to the 'beekeeper' who made them up. At this point in my monologue it sounds like someone got just what they paid for.... someone wanted cheap and they definitely got cheap.