Jan 16

Big Jump in Packages and Queen Prices

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.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/packages-and-queens-prices/

Jan 15

Please Ignore the Mess

Over the coming weeks I’ll be working on reorganizing this website and blog to hopefully make it easier to maintain and give it a bit of a facelift.   The main site was originally implemented in phpwcms which is a great simple php based CMS (Content management system).  It’s easy to setup and maintain, but between other sites I need to maintain, and other software required to run this site, it’s going to be easier to maintain everything in WordPress.  When this site was originally developed, wordpress really wasn’t a viable option, but it has matured significantly since.  Now with countless plugins available and the ease one can create their own plugin, it no longer makes sense to maintain two separate systems.

So for a while both the old and new will be running side by side but will eventually have the same content.  So please forgive me if the duplication is a bit confusing and please don’t trip over the tools on the floor.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/completely-off-topic/please-ignore-the-mess/

Jan 11

Pepsi Could Help Beekeeping

With your vote, Pepsi could help out beekeeping.   The following was received from the Ohio State Beekeepers association about a sophomore student who is in the running to get a beekeeping grant:

My daughter, Nicole, has been beekeeping with a mentor since she was 9 years old.  She is a Sophomore at Aurora High School, and has had a booth at the Hudson Farmer’s Market for the last three years.  She recently heard about a grant project that the Pepsi Corporation has put together, and submitted an idea for a grant.

Nicole would like to help the local farmers by putting beehives on their farms and orchards.  She currently is working with several farms in the area.  Nicole’s idea is to do more.  She has been asked by quite a few of the farmers at the Market to provide hives for their crops and would like to be able to help, but as you know, this is costly.  We are hoping Pepsi can help.

I am writing to you and all the area societies to ask for help.  Pepsi only gives the grants to those who have received enough votes from their peers to reach the top ten in the voting.  We need votes from people who realize the need for increasing the honeybee population and the need to get young people involved in beekeeping.

Can you please check out Nicole’s idea at www.refresheverything.com/savehoneybees.  You will see that she is dedicated to this project.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/pepsi-could-help-beekeeping/

Jan 10

New Products for a New Year

Belated Happy New Year!

It's been a cold winter so far this year and it looks like the cold weather will be around for awhile.  The 10 day forecast doesn't show anything above freezing.  There isn't much one can do with the bees besides repairing old equipment and preparing new for the upcoming year.  And of course worry how the bees are doing in this weather.  In some respects this is the hardest part of the year with little you can do but worry and prepare for the best.  It won't be long though until things warm up a bit and we can get out to do weight checks and do some emergency feeding though..

One of my goals for this year is to be a bit more organized and keep this website more up to date.  Bees, the day job, business, the untimely passing of my father and life in general were more than overwhelming last year and things like updating the website and adding the new products we now carry were pushed to the back.

So, on that note we're happy to introduce new products to our online store by request, 8 frame equipment and assembled beehive kits among other new products.   We also welcome Mike and Marc as new part time employees to help us keep up with our orders in the wood shop.

Also as a side note, UPS shipping calculations appear to be fixed now and shouldn't be grossly over estimating the shipping cost, especially on larger orders.  While we always corrected the shipping after an order was placed, it was sometimes shockingly high.  UPS rates have gone up again this year by more than 4.9%, but if you get a shipping estimate that does seem too high I'd be happy to check into it.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/new-products-for-a-new-year/

Jul 08

BP Oil

I know this is completely off topic (bee p related jokes aside) and has not been in the news as much recently despite being as much a problem as it has been since day one, but….   Is anyone else out there bothered by the fact that the best solution BP can come up with to solve the oil split is strait out of The Simpsons?   (Burns Slant Drilling Co.)  Honestly, it's the first thing that I though of when I heard it….

"All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten" – Robert Fulghum

"All I really need to be CEO of a multinational oil company I learned from The Simpsons"   – DOH!

Perhaps advice from The Simpsons works well or has for CEO's of other corporations… Circuit City comes to mind.  (To cut costs they fired experienced employees and hired Homers….)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/completely-off-topic/bp-oil/

May 21

The Ohio Queen Project is DEAD.

The Ohio Queen Projects was started by the Ohio State Beekeepers Association in 2007 with two goals in mind.  First, to teach beekeepers to raise queens and second,  to develop a stock improvement program (ie. a breeding program).  To quote directly from the Ohio Queen Project's Mission Statement from their website:

The Ohio State Queen Project was begun in the spring of 2007. A need to improve the quality of queens used by Ohio beekeepers was recognized by the OSBA board and a committee was established to set up a state wide program to help beekeeper to raise their own queens from outstanding queen stock. OSBA decided to develop a stock improvement program in conjunction with the classes being taught…….

……A need exist within Ohio for queens which will carry desirable characteristics for our climate and will provide an enjoyable experience for beekeepers to keep bees.

Both parts of the program are critical.  Without beekeepers to raise queens, stock that does better in our area wouldn't benefit anyone.  Without improved stock, we just have less desirable stock that happens to be raised in Ohio.

OSBA supported the program from 2007-2009 while coordinators give queen rearing classes and OSBA even held a queen symposium which I hoped would be repeated but never really happened.  Minimal work was done on the stock improvement portion of the project, in part due to the difficulty of running a distributed breeding program and due to a lack of funding and guidance.  In 2010 a member of the Ohio Queen Project stepped up to lead the the breeding program and the project had an opportunity for a significant grant to fund the breeding portion of the project to really get it off the ground.

However, after meetings, work preparing the grant and shortly before submitting the grant, the powers that be decided:

"…it is not appropriate nor would it be effective for OSBA to play a primary and direct role in achieving those goals."

"…the goals  … for an Ohio queen project would best be accomplished by a separate group."

In short, since OSBA is not interested in supporting the Ohio Queen Project per their mission statement the Ohio Queen Project is DEAD.  All they apparently want are some random queen rearing classes given by volunteers.  While I can't speak for those that have lead the Ohio Queen Project and the other coordinators, I feel disappointed, used, mislead and have little interest supporting OSBA's volunteer teacher program and I believe many of the others involved in the program feel the same.

As for me, I will continue my breeding efforts, and while not a breeding program yet, I'm working towards that goal.  I also hope to enlist others in the effort much in the spirit of the Ohio Queen Project, but it will not be associated in any way with OSBA.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/the-ohio-queen-project-is-dead/

May 19

Swarm Removal by Zip Code

It's taken longer than I hoped for to get this feature up and running, but I now I'm pleased to announce that users can now search for beekeepers and companies that do swarm removal by zip code.  This should make it much easier for users to identify someone to do swarm removal who is near them.  This was becoming a bit of a problem in some states because we were getting quite a list users were having to sort though.  It is based on the latitude and longitude of the zip code, so it's not completely accurate when calculating the distance  (it's based on the centroid of the zip code area).  But it will give a good idea who is close to the swarm.

Search for swarm removal by zip code:

Want to get on our list for swarm removal.  Email us your name, contact information, zip code and any other information you think relevant to your listing.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/swarm-removal-by-zip-code/

May 05

Yet More Cures For The “Bee Problem”

I just received an email advertising yet another cure for the "Bee Problem".  Like the one offered by the ccdsolution.com that popped up in 2007, this one is a magic solution that is sprayed per acre.  Their theory is the problem with the bees is, in their words: bee populations are dying off, less and poorer honey is being realized, an increase of diseases and pests are killing bees, and Most bee environments are deficient in sugars and nectar, fewer blossoms lack aroma, and most crops are simply no longer able to sustain an attractive environment for healthy bees to live and thrive.

Now I would have thought that fewer blossoms lacking aroma would be a good thing, but I'm not the one with several well know (but completely unnamed) universities testing this cure according to their document.  They claim the cause (in short), are poor soils and synthetic chemical fertilizers rendering most soils incapable of growing healthy nutritious fruits and vegetables.  But they also claim organic farming often has the same problem.

A yellow fly that mimics a bee.Their cure… 'MicroSoil' (microsoil.com)… it's a formulation of naturally occuring soil microorganisms combined with enzymes, polysaccharide and polypeptides which is suppose to assist in the growth of nitrogen fixing microorganisms and all other beneficial and 'native soil microorganisms'.   Skipping all the big words in the document they sent which I'm sure is intended to wow most people, in short it's suppose to help nature extract the nutrients already in the soil.   How is this suppose to help bees?   More blooms, high BRIX content, high nutrient content in the blossoms, etc.   (Ignoring the fact they use term BRIX, the scale by which sugar content is measured, completely wrong).  The best part is…. their picture of a bee in their document is a FLY.  That really instills confidence if you have bought into their pitch so far.

The cost for this snake oil?    Only $295 for enough to treat 15 acres at this special beekeeper's introductory offer.  That's only  $157,000 dollars to treat the 8000 acres bees from a single apiary forages on.  Quite a steal considering the ccdsolutions solution costs half a million to treat the same area.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/completely-off-topic/yet-more-cures-for-the-bee-problem/

May 02

Mating Nucs

The weekend's forecast was calling for rain Saturday through Monday (last weekend) and I had two batches of queen cells that needed to be placed in nucs by Sunday and Monday.  So, I took a half day off work(really just traded it for making the time up over the weekend) and set out to split my strongest yard of 18 hives.  Normally I try to only work up 40-50 nucs in a day because it's a lot of work, but with the lousy weekend approaching I knew I had to make the most of the little time available.

By the time the truck was loaded up I didn't get started splitting up nucs until 2:30.  The bee yard is in a very nice location, but you can't drive the truck up to the hives, so everything has to be carried 100 foot or so to the hives and back.  My wife and son showed up later to help with all the moving of equipment and in the end we made up 87 mating nucs with the last couple hives split after it stared spitting rain.  Most of them were stronger than what was necessary, but the hives were very strong and I was quite surprised I only found swarm cells in a one hive, but I knew in another week they all could have been preparing to swarm.    It was nearly 10PM by the time the hives nucs were loaded, transported to the mating yard and distributed on pallets in the rain.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/uncategorized/mating-nucs/

Apr 27

Swarm Season

[singlepic id=43 w=280 float=right]Swarm season isn't quite upon us yet, but look out.  With many hives building up weeks ahead of last year I expect the swarm calls to start early this year.  In my own yards I supered many of the strong hives last Sunday (the 18th) because I haven't been around to split them all for mating nucs and it's not quite time to split for nucs to sell.  I'm glad I did because by the following Friday many were half full of honey and some even had brood in them already.  The picture was taken Friday, just 5 days after adding the super to a hive that already was 4 mediums in height.

Another tell tale sign is that I'm getting a request or two every day from someone that wants added to our swarm list.  If the bees aren't thinking of swarming yet, the beekeepers sure are.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/uncategorized/swarm-season/

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