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Mike learns from Australia.

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Queen Bee
Beekeeping Sponsor
Nov 8, 2008
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Have just found out from Mike, that he is now doing package bee's. Availible in april,the packages are easy to install,and there is no wax involved so less risk of any disease.
The packages will contain three and a half pounds of Mikes own home reared bee's and queen,plus syrup. The price is £95.00 per package and they come in a crate of five packages,the crate is charged at £15.00,returnable for refund.They only come in units of five packages,so if you do not need this many you could share them perhaps with any friends who need bee's.This seems like really good value. So anyone needing bee's early in april,or may or june, contact Mike at,
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He kept this quiet

Mike? Dear mate...

Do communicate.

pete is about to put his head on the chopping block here but why all the fuss about new zealand bee's i have always thought they were not the best choice for production and were a bit soft on the hardness front too, would you not be better buying one or two new english hybrid queens and splitting a hive, or how about this one make your own nucs and queen breed your selves ?

or is it just me that thinks this??
Where does this mention anything to do with new zealand bee's? Mike is not bringing bee's from New Zealand,home reared.
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No, he does not.
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Pete, yes, just bee's and a queen,no frames or wax ect. packages.
Well good luck to Mike should do well with the packages as they are a bit cheeper.
WELL Well well what do schools teach these days is it SO difficult to read and understand what is posted.
Duo duo duo woa du goucks shouff apren teac doo love se vese salob co figsauy bran spce dwnon eys stop end rd

All the best mike
is there a reason why packages are not sold over here currently (until now)?

have they ever been and became unfashionable? Or a lack of large scale producers? it seems to be a very popular method in the states.
hi marcros
Have they ever been and became unfashionable? Or a lack of large scale producers? it seems to be a very popular method in the states.

Why it?s so popular in America I was told. The Amish (I think that?s how it?s spelt) have always kept large amounts of bees and still buy large amounts of swarm package bees.
Years and years ago I remember packages was called skeps me uncle lived in Bristol He collected his skeps from Avenmouth docks I remember very old men with long beards used to come and take them away, moaning have ya sold some bees out a yer ant many bees in this un them feels light Frank,
reminds me of a few old biddies on yer!
All you had to do was wrap um up tight in a large bed sheet place um on the handle bars of yer bike and off ya go.
When ya got home place the skep no the ground untie the sheet and lay out the corners flat,
Place the new fashioned hive box! Onto the sheet lift the skep up and shake hard at the entrance of the new hive. The know it alls would whip the sheet off and place the skep on the top of the hive and run? hoping the bees would go down into the new waxed frames.

The old timers would then sell the bees on the frame used to be ?12.10s years ago, Decimalization came went up ?15 a frame, Thorne?s came ?29 a frame so I bin told? Quote me if im wrong
Today?s swarm packages you got 3.1/2 pound a bee?s and the queen, if you put um on drawn foundation with a feed of syrup they do just as well as a nucleus for less money ?95 PLUS ?15 crate refunded.

If people think there getting a better deal with buying a nucleus I can?t stop um.
This country is so backward in going forward.
It's called a "package" because it's designed to be sent in the post at the lowest risk. Packages are a much better idea than a nucleus if sending in the post. There's a lot less to go wrong. I can see this working with local BKA's as intermediaries to convert packages into nucs for beginners.

However, beginners without an experienced mentor would be best advised to stick to a nucleus and travel to pick it up, in my opinion.

I would say the reason packages have never been a big thing in the U.K. is because bees have usually been easy to come by locally. Free swarms were usually plentiful in the quantity needed. Therefore no need to involve the postman, so no big need for packages. With bee shortages and growing popularity of beekeeping maybe things are changing?
You pays your money and you makes your choice. I think a nuc is good and that a package is good too!

I reckon if you are desperate for a surplus of honey in your first season (not great idea) then you want as many bees as possible and you want to make their lives easy as possible. Drawing foundation is hard work for the bees, so you go for frames of already drawn foundation with bees in all stages of development (a nuc).

A nuc however is more likely to be a disease risk... because some diseases are much more easily transferred in the brood cells. If you, or someone who knows what they are looking for, inspects before you collect, then you minimise this risk. And of course a package is easy to post, but a nuc would be destroyed in post.

Horses for courses. Fabulous to have a choice.
And of course a package is easy to post, but a nuc would be destroyed in post.

PLEASE Please tell me how you know such wonderful information.
Nucs are destroyed in the post!! That?s news to me we post 1000snds every year
Packages are easy to post!! When did you last buy one and where from?
I am really keen to find out this information.
What a shocker Mike!! I paid ?165 for a 5 frame nuc that did not even have that many bees on it!! They must have seen me coming.

Not from you though. Can't say who from.

Usually I rely on my looks rather than my brains...so if I am talking any sense, it must be by accident!
I will try to explain so as others may understand the difficulty we have!
A 5 frame nuc has to be set up very carefully,
Bees collected at 10am delivered say 10am next day, will hatch hell of a lot of bees, during the 24hours traveling. Too many hatching bees leaves empty frames sometimes this is unavalible. (we then get Complaints no brood)

The age of the brood has to be considered, I try for a frame of hatching cells 14/15/ days old.
2 frames of caped larvae 6/7/8/9 day old with eggs.
2 frame food pollen brood.
Can be better to have fewer bees for traveling.
A nuc in the delivery van at midday with a temp of 19/20 outside, will cook meltdown.
I would not think your nuc supplier was trying to short change you in any way.
did the nuc survive and what did you do to help it?
All the best mike
Packaged bees are a great idea. They give the buyer the opportunity to migrate the bees to any type of hive that they have. They also come without brood which in theory at least means you can treat them with any number of varroa treatments as soon as you get them.

There will be no issues of spores on frames etc. So various brood diseases will also be fully protected against. And again potentially prevented from spreading.

This is how it's done in America and the Dummies Guide to Beekeeping details exactly how to deal with a package when it arrived. Why don't UK bee keepers do things this way? That's easy to answer. Because for the larger part British bee keepers are still stuck in the 19th century and happy to stick with what's traditional!!!

If Mike could get these shipped with UK reared queens and for around ?80, then I would buy them no questions asked. They are an ideal solution.
Wouldn't giving the package a frame of brood on hiving help to keep them there ? at least there would be a hint of normality in what's bound to have been a confusing situation.