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Author Topic: Suppliers  (Read 2360 times)
MeadFarm
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« on: December 08, 2010, 07:53:58 PM »

We are about to ramp it up to 50 colonies next spring. We have been ordering most of our hive parts from Mann Lake. (mainly because of cost and they have a local-ish outlet in Woodland CA). Now that our orders are hitting the $10K range we wanted to shop around a little. Mann Lake seems to come out on top price wise but we are a little sheepish about depending on only one supplier.
We've heard about compatibility problems with mixing hive parts from different suppliers. Is there much concern in this regard?
Thanks for any input!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 09:48:52 PM by MeadFarm » Logged
Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 09:53:16 PM »

Deeps seem to vary in depth.  Mediums are very consistent.  Another good reason to go all mediums... but I've mixed everything from most everybody and they will work.  You might find Western Bee Supply will be cheap for price and shipping from there.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
MeadFarm
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2010, 11:47:48 AM »

Thanks Michael!
I certainly have no beef with Mann Lake but, as with anything, having more than one option is just a smart way to go. I wish I had the time to build all my own wooden ware but alas those days are gone. We are even buying preassembled and painted boxes just to save time! Undecided As far as I know ML is the only manufacturer that offers that.??
The quality is sometimes a little less perfect than we would like but the bees don't seem to care.
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 11:58:18 AM »

watch the shipping costs.  for us west coasters, Mann Lake is usually cheaper even though some of their prices might be higher.  if cost is not an issue, the assembled and painted boxes are fine, but they are far more expensive.
i order their lower grade wood unassembled and they are very nice.  there is the odd ding or knot, but no holes.  it takes no time to assemble and paint boxes if you have a  nailer and spray painter.  even with a brush it's not a big job.

just depends on how much  you can afford to spend........
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
MeadFarm
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2010, 12:31:53 PM »

Yes! Shipping can be a killer. Free shipping is a beautiful thing. So is having the time to assemble and paint our own boxes. The nice thing about at least getting them preassembled is that they deal with any blowouts, knots, warped pieces, upside down handles or dovetails that don't match up - all of which we have contended with when buying them unassembled and assembling on our own.
I get that you have a farm as well Kathy so you know how managing time and projects goes! Add to that running a meadery and having time for family...Forget about assembling frames and wireing and imbedding! I can't believe that I actually spent time doing that (as fun as it was  Wink)
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2010, 12:51:08 PM »

i draw the line at wiring frames!  that's just a PIA.   grin

fortunately for me, the work is light at this time of the year except added barn cleaning and the occasional  ice storm.  time to do boxes and stuff.  besides, it's one of those mindless jobs that i kind of enjoy.  i do understand the time thing!
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
rdy-b
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2010, 12:56:47 AM »

where are you geting your bees from-RDY-B
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MeadFarm
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2010, 12:21:42 PM »

We bought packages and queens from Koehnen & Sons. Great service and they appear to be productive. We, ultimately want to raise our own stock, though we will continue to buy until we get the numbers we are looking for. There are some local beeks that sell queens that we may also try. We'll see what happens in the spring.
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AR Beekeeper
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2010, 04:46:24 PM »

When you mix frames from different companies you can have a bur comb problem between boxes.
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MeadFarm
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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2010, 07:03:41 PM »

I've got that problem with frames from just one supplier!
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rdy-b
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 07:43:15 PM »

  burr comb is worse with one piece plastic are you guys using that-RDY-B
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MeadFarm
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2010, 08:04:03 PM »

We aren't into plastic, though we did recently start using the Ritecell coated with wax (with wooden frames). We were originally wanting to keep everything "natural" but there are certainly advantages to the Ritecell.
Only some of the hives are connecting the frames with burr. Not sure why - the equipment is the same for all hives. If they were all doing it I'd investigate further.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2010, 08:50:20 PM »

  yes i use those myself and just purched 600 and it is money well spent-
  *natural*--lots of burr that way-- cheesy--RDY-B
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wd
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2010, 11:33:24 AM »

In regards to frames, other than 1 piece of plastic foundation has a wood frame around it and 1 has plastic, I don't much difference.

Dadant has a line of assembled products too.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2010, 07:23:00 PM »

                                                                                                                                                          the difference in wood frame and -plastic is the thickness of the top bar and bottom bar-wood frame gives you a
thick top bar compared to plastic -and the bottom bar on plastic is almost none existent --sooo-the bees dont recognize -or know when to stop the comb and the small bottom bar is barley a bump in the road for them-
this is just one example -some people like these characteristics  cheesy but i will stick to wooden frames
 cheesy RDY-B
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wd
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2010, 08:21:27 PM »

I'm not having that occur yet, however it has happened in warped boxes with to much space or frames that for one reason or another have moved. anyway I've been using both.

Thanks
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Acebird
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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2010, 10:17:50 AM »

Every beek that I know is looking for cheap and good quality.

Seek out the Amish.  They don't use phones or credit cards but they can beat the heck out of the chinese.  You order, show up with cash and drive away with finnished wooden products cheaper than you can buy the sticks.
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AllenF
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2010, 09:01:59 PM »

Not many Amish down here.
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Acebird
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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2010, 11:18:00 AM »

Yeah, but there is a whole lot of people going that way right about now.  All you got to do is network.
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wd
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« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2011, 09:19:54 PM »

                                                                                                                                                the difference in wood frame and -plastic is the thickness of the top bar and bottom bar-wood frame gives you a thick top bar compared to plastic -and the bottom bar on plastic is almost none existent --sooo-the bees dont recognize -or know when to stop the comb and the small bottom bar is barley a bump in the road for them- this is just one example -some people like these characteristics  cheesy but i will stick to wooden frames cheesy RDY-B


Wanted to let you know I have a hive now that's had hard time filling out the all plastic ez frames. Nothing but burr comb with little nook's, cranny's, whole's and tunnels to hide in with a couple of old queen cups and cells. It's going to be removed this year and replaced with wood. Works ok for honey stores, they've filled those out pretty good just not in the brood chamber. Have some other hives that did the frames in the brood box this way on the out side frames but filled out 3 and half on the inside. The ez frames worked alright for package bee's.

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The Bix
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« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2011, 10:08:14 PM »

I've purchased boxes and frames from Mann Lake and Western Bee.  Western Bee had the best prices last year and they were most reasonable on shipping.  I thought that the WB boxes were made of a lighter weight wood than Mann Lake, but I also thought that the WB boxes were built with tighter tolerances.  HTH.

--John
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rdy-b
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« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2011, 12:27:15 AM »

I've purchased boxes and frames from Mann Lake and Western Bee.  Western Bee had the best prices last year and they were most reasonable on shipping.  I thought that the WB boxes were made of a lighter weight wood than Mann Lake, but I also thought that the WB boxes were built with tighter tolerances.  HTH.

--John
  heres something you may not know-western bee mills the wooden ware for DADANT
  and there is a connection between the two operations-RDY-B
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