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Poll
Question: Are Packed Bees too Expensive?
I think Bees are fairly priced in a competitive market - 10 (32.3%)
I think they are a bit over priced, but I understand - it's not easy work - 9 (29%)
I think prices are out of control but service is good - 3 (9.7%)
I think prices are out of control and service stinks - 2 (6.5%)
There is no way that they can justify the cost of their bees - 1 (3.2%)
I'd rather keep my bees indoors all Winter than pay $72 for packaged bees again! - 2 (6.5%)
I've never bought packaged bees - 4 (12.9%)
Total Voters: 7


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Author Topic: HOW MUCH DID YOU PAY FOR YOUR BEES?  (Read 16101 times)
beemaster
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« on: April 28, 2004, 01:01:10 PM »

It's been a while since I have had to buy bees and I had a case of STICKER SHOCK when I got the price of $72 for 3 pound packages with queen. That includes $9.33 a package shipping. Personally, I think I got ripped off - So that comes out to roughly $61 for the bees and queen, not marked or clipped, this supplier said he couldn't do either marking or clipping - he was "TOO SMALL" to do such things - well, his prices aren't too small, especially when he CAN NOT even offer such services as marking or clipping.

How much did you pay for your bees?

John
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2004, 02:48:00 PM »

John WHEW.
I am getting two 3 pound packages with queens for $93.00. they are coming from some place south and I will have to drive close to a hundred miles to pick them up at the bee supply place. It is Georbs in Onstead Michigan.
 Cheesy Al
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2004, 02:55:02 PM »

If they need to be shipped, why weren't they shipped to you? Couldn't the supplier in Mich. just take their cut and send you them right to your door???

I know I paid too much, but at least they came to me, I didn't have to drive to NYC or Phia. (both about 70 miles) to pick them up. Get them home and love them, these little girls must be gold plated these days - although I looked and must have missed the gold - lol.

John
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2004, 02:57:53 PM »

I paid $85.00 for three pounds of Russian hybrids.  That cost included the shipping.

Joe
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2004, 03:22:25 PM »

Beemaster, I think you got a good fair price in todays market. Not that I agree with it, it seem only 5 years ago when I got started I first paid 45.00
for a three pound package. Like last year I had a bad winter and had to replace 4 hives with new bees. For the hobbiest to put out $300.00 it will take 100lbs of honey to recover that pay out, not to count all the work and time involved. This is not a cheap hobby to be involved in. The intial lay out for bees and hive bodies isn't that much but it all adds up. I started 5 years ago and have spent near $2300.00 for all the equipment I have. I've given away more honey then I have sold. But I enjoy the bees very much, just wanted to warn some people out there that may have dreams of making lots of money with little money layout. Maybe if you live in an area that you can get 300lbs. honey per hive it can work, but in a residental area where I live there is not that kind of Honey flow. I'll be quite happy with 100lbs. per hive. Just my opion, Thanks

Mark
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2004, 06:34:28 PM »

I'm just starting out this year and I wanted to increase my odds of having surplus honey so I ordered a complete hive way back in October.  After reading how much of an advantage there is to having two hives I decided to order a 3# package also.  Just about the time these were to become available I heard of a good price on another hive so I bought one of those also.  I now have two single box hives and a 3# package.  The first hive and the package came from the local bee supply store and the second hive came from a local pollinator.  I was lucky enough to not have any shipping costs.
The first hive that I bought included nine frames of bees, brood, and stores and a new queen.  This hive had been used (I think) to pollinate almonds and was then being culled by the seller.  The box was boiling over with beautiful bees.  The woodenware included a solid bottom, a deep hive body, nine frames, and a migratory cover.  The frames are in good shape but the rest was pretty well used up---that's why it was being culled!  The seller included a new migratory cover which I returned for credit.  The price was $125.  I thought it was high but not outrageous.
The 3# package was beautiful.  I am certain that there was well over 3# of bees and very few dead ones in the cage.  The price was $39 plus a $2 cage deposit.
The second full hive that I bought has almost exactly the same history as the first except it came from a different pollinator.  It more closely resembled a five frame nuc installed in a deep box.  There was a new queen, five frames of bees, brood, and stores and three frames of partially drawn foundation.  It also included a plastic frame feeder.  The woodenware included a solid bottom, a deep hive body, eight frames, and a migratory cover.  The frames and the hive body were good but the rest wasn't worth much.  There were fewer bees than in the first hive but still a good amount.   The price for this hive was $48.  The same seller had nucs for $38.  I don't recall if the nucs had four frames and a feeder or if they had five frames and a feeder.  The nuc box and feeder had to be returned to the seller.
I am not planning on using deep hive bodies so all of the woodeware that came with the hives is going to be stored away.  I've already changed tops and bottoms and may swap out the deep hive bodies next spring.  The woodenware will be used to hold swarms, give to friends to start beekeeping, etc.
George
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Markinaust
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2004, 07:39:28 PM »

Hi Ppls

WHAT.. dumb founded at the price you guys hae to pay for bees..
We pay as much as for fully operational hives..

I guess that the SHB has had an impact on the prices you have to pay.. We (Autralian beekeepers) exported bees to the USA till just recantly I guess it is good old supply and demand at work.


Cheers for now


Mark
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2004, 08:29:42 PM »

I paid $78 for 3 lbs., which included $20 for shipping charges and $2 to mark the queen.  It was drop-shipped from Georgia, which upset me a bit because the company I ordered them from led me to believe from their website that they shipped right from their location, which was close enough to be only one or two days delivery.  And the supplier didn't ship as soon as I had ordered them for.  As it turned out, though, they shipped Priority mail and it arrived in three days.  I only counted 3 dozen dead bees in the package, which surprised me, really.

Kris
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beemaster
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2004, 09:15:34 PM »

Sounds like my price is about average when weighing shipping or pickup prices - what a terrible price to pay for bees.

UPDATE: It warmed up toward the end of today, the wind even died down some - but I decided to do the install tomorrow when they are calling for 75 degrees, sunny and little wind!

Plus Tracey will be home and she can be my photographer which beats me rearranging the tripod all the time.

John
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2004, 11:33:33 PM »

I bought two 3lb. packages & paid $45/ea + tax came to about $97 for all including the queens. But after I counted them all I found that in one 3 lb. package there were 4109 bees and in the other there were only 4104 bees! Now that comes to about 1.1 cents per bee and I'm wondering if I should ask for 5 replacement bees or if I should just eat the loss?

Back to that again...


But really folks the $97 was the actual price for two 3lb. packages with queens. The bee supplier here sends his big flatbed truck to CA to pick up all his packages and doesn't charge us for the shipping or anything to do with their transport. Pretty nice guy. The only drawback, if you want to call it that, is he only gets Italians & Carniolans. Italians are fine with me.

Areviderci

 cheesy
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Rand Carrothers
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2004, 11:46:39 PM »

Rand, you are a bit warped, but to quote one of my favorite movies (Galaxy Quest) "Maybe you are the quirky comic relief!" and I like quirky  cheesy

Bet I got one on you though - I licked a swarm once on a $10 bet  shocked  True story -  the swarm in the photo below - didn't get stung either, but I was a little buzzed my self that day rolleyes  No more Goldschlager and percocet Jelloshots for me  embarassed  (joking - yeah.... that's the ticket)



John
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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2004, 10:03:54 AM »

John, I keep hearing there is some thing to do with the local Michigan post offices not wanting to deal with bees is why i have to drive to pick them up. I am also thank ful to even be able to find some here in Michigan as late as it got to bee. I had called well over 30 places and kept being told, they had none to seel did I try so and so. My last recourse was to drive to kentucky to pick up bees that they had but as i said would'nt ship PP.
 Cheesy Al
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2004, 10:44:00 AM »

All of you who have gotten their bees Congratulations.  I'm still waiting.  Like I said in another post I'm getting mine from alocal beekeeper who is down in Mississippi inspecting and installing the bees in nucs.  $40.00 a nuc + 5.00 deposit on the nuc itself.  5 frames, no exchange on the frames.   But they won't be here now until the 2nd week of may.  But with the weather being up and down in temps 80's yesterday 40's the day before  and mid fiftys today it's better to wait.   Shame as all the popler and maples are getting leaves.  Some flowers are blooming and my bees will miss it.  Sad
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2004, 11:21:08 AM »

Al:

I think I'd write the Post Master General on that on - seriously. Bees have been delivered for decades by general mail and there is no reason that any individual post offic can decide what they will and will not process.

I know you enjoy writing letters and this one is really important - if one office can do this, then others will get wind and want the same priviledges and next think you know they are RIGHTS! That could ruin it for every one.

If you don't want to write them, let me! I'd have fun with this one!!

SNOZERDOG, shame on the middle of May - what a terrible start to a short season. I'm walking out the door right nw to install the bees. It's a much nicer day, almost 70F outside and sunny. Plus, Ladybee is home today to be my photographer and helper.

Talk to you all soon! I get to finally play Beekeeper again Smiley

John
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2004, 01:46:42 PM »

I guess we're lucky in our area. Our "local" club received our bees from texas last nite. We paid $35 for a 4 frame nuc. Last year was same price. Seller did say he'd probably be $5 higher next year. Stll a bargain. Steve
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2004, 02:16:02 PM »

Taz

I love the idea of Nucs and ESPECIALLY CLUBS that can get or create NUCS for their membership at a great price. I build them for family and friends (even coworkers - who I tend to keep friendly relation
I hope you like this forum, you are welcome anytime whether as a guest or if you register, humbly but with great pride - I believe this is the best darned Beekeeping forum on the Internet all thanks to a terrifically diverse and active membership. The photos I see here every day blow me away - the members are out in their bee yards interacting almost daily with their bees and that is wonderful to see.

I hope you let your club know about the forum and feel free to use our Forum for your own interactions or to interact with the members and guests here - plenty of room for everyone from everywhere here!

John
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« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2004, 04:59:38 PM »

I ordered two 3 pound pakages of Italian bees for $53.00 each and two 5 frame nukes of Carniolan bees for $59.00 plus $15.00 deposit for each of the nucs from our area bee supply store..  I ordered on February 24 and still have not receaved them. Hopefully on the 15th of May.  It seems that there has been a lot of rain in Georga and the bees are not up to the proper strength for collecting and shipping.  

Next year if I have to buy more bees I will start shopping a little.

Archie rolleyes
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« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2004, 05:11:02 PM »

Archie (look for a private message I sent you)

Shame about the bees STILL not being there, what a mess. Mine were delayed, but nothing like yours - I hope it all works out ok. Mid May, wow - that's a tough time to get started but SEVERAL OTHER MEMBERS are saying they are getting theirs around the same time.

Your bees will have to do double-overtime to make viable Wintering in Vermont - I can only say FEED THEM SUGAR-WATER for at least a month, although you are dealing with NUCS TOO, I still say it is very important to have substantial energy around a hive especially that late into Spring.

The prices you quote seem great, now if only they can deliver the product!

Keep us all posted on everything.

John
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2004, 07:20:44 PM »

I didn't buy a package of bees. I bought 6 frames of brood, 2 queens and 2 frames of honey for $120. And it was put into my hives. I took the hives to them, then took out my fresh frames and exchanged for the full ones. Then I went and picked them up.

I had heard about bees from the south being so full of mites and some of them carrying a few SHBs with them as well. I wasn't sure where my local supplier was getting their bees - I had heard the south.

So $60 a hive. Not a bad deal.

Martha
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« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2004, 01:05:38 AM »

After reading all your posts I don't know if I got a good deal, average or ripped off.  huh  I got a 4# package for $57. 00. then I paid $8/ frame for six frames of brood, honey and drawn comb for a total of $108.00. There were also some bees covering the brood and other frames that weren't from the package. I guess if I'm off to a good start I shouldn't complain too much!
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« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2004, 08:48:53 AM »

John,  cheesy  cheesy  cheesy  They know me very well at the local post office. I don't bother to write letters when I can talk face to face with the right people. A few years back they redid Our gravel road (widened it) the post lady felt she didn't have to bother dlivering the mail or even telling us she wasn't going to for fear of getting stuck. When I talked to the head post mistress with out results I drove to the regional boss and had a very nice chat with him. Seems I didn't have to call my congressman to get mail delivery after all, To the door if need be, which is down a 400 foot drive way. I had to handle calls for days wanting to know if every thing was working out with the mail delivery now.
 shocked  shocked
 Cheesy Al
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« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2004, 09:51:11 AM »

I was thinking the problem was a bit FURTHER UP the mail chain than your local/regional hub - if you can talk to people, that is always the best.

Mail hubbing is a strange but necessary beast - our mail (all but "In-Town mail" is sent to our state capitol of Trenton for processing, where it is distributed and then resent to all the other towns, local, state and elsewhere to national.

Even if I wanted (let's say) to mail a letter to a friend in Toms River (a town 5 miles from here) it STILL needs to go to Trenton (45 miles away) first, then sent to the correct Toms River Post Office - there are three. So the old saying "You can't get there from here holds true in the postal delivery service.

But I never complain about their service - if you can find ANYONE ELSE to delive a letter to any place in the country for $.37c I want to know - especially in the world of EMAIL where the USPS took the biggest hit, they keep on trucking and offering competitive services at competitive prices.

My only concern (and I had a long talk with my mail lady yesterday) is delivery of live insects: she has delivered roaches, butterflies, bees, ants and other insects for many years - she doesn't mind it one bit and she said she's never had any issues as long as the SHIPPING CAGES or BOXES meet or exceed the requirements of the postal service.

Shipments from a certified bee farm using approved crates SHOULD NEVER be an issue - when it does become one, then we all have troubles. I'm not driving to Georgia (except to visit Beth  Tongue ) or anywhere else just to pickup bees and even that trip to NYC or Philadelphia I exampled would seem totally unnecessary and I'm sure some service out there would gladly take over the slack.

I only mention this because a few years ago, there was a VERY SERIOUSLY PROPOSAL by the USPS to end live shipping completely - leaving a void that hopefully the other shippers would restructure to handle the millions of pounds (literally) of insects shipped annually.

Glad all is okay Al - I guess retirement allows a bit mellower view of such issues (I am truly envious - especially with a full-timers motorcoach in the driveway) but I'd still be on the phone with somebody though - if only to make sure NO ONE ELSE had to drive 2 hours to pickup bees MAILED from 7 states away.
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« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2004, 06:42:42 PM »

my bees cost me 72 bucks a package... whew, thats expensive!  I think I'll try to make the money back by making splits in the spring and offering them for sale through the penny saver for like 60 bucks per 5-frame nuc, with a high deposit on the frames and nuc box.
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beeware184
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« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2004, 04:31:12 PM »

I paid $56.00 for each 3# package this year.  I thought that was expensive, but after reading most of these replies I am much happier.
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« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2004, 10:29:52 PM »

My bees cost 80 dollars thats for 3 pounds, queen and shipping included.
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« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2004, 02:20:14 AM »

I paid $55 for a 3lb package with queen.    Most apiaries will not ship packages to New England so I went with someone that was picking up a few hundred packages.  

From what I see, he paid $39/package.  but he drove down to Hardiman in Georgia to get them.    I picked them up on 4/9/04.  

This was good, I spoke with a lot of people that had their orders delayed until next week.  There is also a shortage of queens,  there was a wet time in GA this spring and I heard that most apiaries lost a lot of queens.
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« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2004, 08:23:14 AM »

John, I don't know about retirement making me mellower, seems like I am writing more letters, making more phone calls and yelling at the TV more these days.
  As far as the shipping of bees to me, at the time I felt It was my best choice. Think about the upheavel I was going through then. I was waiting for my new pickup, getting ready to leave for Minnesota in just a couple of days to meet my new grandson ( who is doing very well yet) and felt even lucky finding some place to get any bees at theis late date.
  The pick up got here on the afternoon of the 25th. 3 hours from home since I deal with a old friend, I was lucky in that regard as I was able to take delivery after hours that same day. The next day I was able to get the cap installed, then sat down with the phone to find some bees.
After calling 14 different places and being told they didn't have any and getting refered to another place to try I found some on the morning of the 28th. We left that afternoon for Minnesota.
 Cheesy Al
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« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2004, 11:19:17 PM »

I bought my bees from a local beekeeper, who is in our Beekeeping Club, and sell bees all over our state. I paid 45.00 for a 5 frame nuc, queen and all the bees that I could shake into my hive body! It was 10 times more bees that I got with a 3lb. package the first year and I got eggs, brood and capped brood!! I think I got a great deal after hear these prices.
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« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2004, 06:26:29 AM »

Queen Bee:

You INDEED get a great deal!!!! Just curious if you get to keep the nuc or not - that really makes it an awesome deal, those nucs come in handy!!!
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NewBee Bee Products
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« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2004, 12:18:39 AM »

Hello Every one
Here In Oregon We pick up 5 frame Nuks with Brood and honey for $38 and a single Story 9 frames with brood and 6 frames of bees for $48 no deposit for wood ware thats included.
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« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2004, 08:38:33 AM »

Hey folks, great site. I just got back into the bees this year after several years of being without. I got my package from Groebs as well in Onstead MI and payed $46.95. I live a little closer than tail twister so it wasn't so bad.
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« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2004, 08:59:51 PM »

I paid $60 dollars for a 3 lb package (bought 5) and picked them up at Dadant. They are close by and looking at shipping costs from other bee farms I felt this was the easier and quicker way to go.
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« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2004, 09:11:15 PM »

Glad to have everyone respond to this poll and put input that was detailed and informative too. It's funny, but (as I have written about the last few days) a sizable swarm found my old supers and old frames in my tool shed - I fixed up a hive for them and now have them along side of C1&C2 hives (photos soon) but as Robo said, I just cut the cost of my packed bees by a 1/3rd - lol.

The best part, these are very active bees and extremely mild in nature - I assume they are from my absconded C1&C2 from 2 years ago - I really have a feeling they are my bees just coming home  cheesy  

But I looked them over good for varroa, saw nothing, the frames I set up for them are in fine shape with lots of drawn cells - they will do fine. And of course, I am feeding them and will be for many weeks.

So I'm in full swing here, nice weather, TONS of locus and pine pollen around everywhere now - so the Late Spring food is here and timing is good. all hives are happy, restful and energetic, a beekeeper couldn't ask for anything more!
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Location: Oregon


« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2004, 06:40:46 PM »

If you all would Call your local Bee Supplyer , Police Dept , Fire Dept ,Or exstermator and let them know your a bee keeper and asked them to put you on there Swarm call list.

And start building Boxes cause your need them.

I get the most reffurals from the Exstermator since thay dont like spraying swarms it turns out real nasty, it can turn a naborhood into some thing out of a horror movie.

This year alone I have got 27 swarm calls I just Give them to my BeeKeeper friend thay bring over nuke boxes and Ill fill them in return thay give me a a new or a good used Deep or western Box.

Just some ideals on getting more bees
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Queen Bee
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« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2004, 09:48:55 PM »

No, I do not get keep the nuc! I take a hive body with new foundation down to him in the late afternoon. He lets me go thru the nucs, to check for the queen, eggs, brood and I decide if it's what I want. Then I take out 5 frames and replace them with the five I want and then I shake the bees out and we wait for an hour or so untill the field bees return and I close up the front entrance, load them into my truck and away I go!! I have purchased two nucs and have ordered another for 'keeping' a queen for winter or early spring. This spring, I ended up without a queen, it was too early for buying/ordering queens so I had to combine hives... It will not happen again. Next spring,  I'll be ready.
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beefree
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« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2004, 09:04:30 PM »

i got mine from a local commercial beekeeper who drives his truck to Georgia the end of April every year to get his bees, and also supplies at least one other commercial operation, and a swarm of local hobbyists.  I am surprised at how wide the price range is for pkg bees... and more motivated to try swarm capture and splitting if i ever want more hives...
beefree
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SilverFox
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« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2004, 03:17:20 PM »

embarassed i PAID $48.00 FOR 3#PACKAGES, BOUGHT 5, AND HAVE COUGHT 7 FERAL COLINES AND GOT PAID TO REMOVE THEM.  I'M NOW UP TO 12 HIVES WHERE I WANTED TO BE, AND NEXT YEAR IF I HAPPEN TO LOOSE MY HIVES, I THINK I'LL JUST WAIT UNTIL I GET BEE REMOVEAL CALLS.  IT'S BEEN COST EFFECTIVE, GETTING PAID TO CATCH 'EM INSTEAD OF BUYING THEM. cheesy
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