Packages and queens typically go up in price a dollar or two each year which is expected due higher costs in materials, labor and fuel/transportation. This year however, package prices are up big time. 10% or more in some cases equating to 5 to 10 dollars per package. It’s the biggest jump I recall since I started in 2000 and certainly exceeds 2010′s inflation rate of 1.5%. Queens seem to be up as well with many larger operations charging $25 for a queen, but I don’t have good numbers to compare with last year to see how much they went up by. Let’s also not forget the increase in shipping prices. UPS went up more than 4.9% this year.
So why the big increase in prices? I don’t have the contacts to really say but my guess for the increase beyond the usual is due to increased demand with more beekeepers starting up every year and packages from Australia not being allowed in this year. In addition Georgia and many of the other package producing states had a rough season last year.
For now I’ve made the decision not to change my queen or nuc prices for this coming year, but it’s looking like I’ll have to make a significant adjustment next year with the increase in equipment cost and labor.
Unfortunately though we’re subject to increases in prices for the packages we get trucked in for local pickup for our customers. Details on packages are posted here.