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Online Store Expanding – 125 products and counting

For several years we had many more items in our brick and mortar store than in our online store. That was a source of frustration, for not being able to sell online material we already carried in the store.

We have set up a new online store system and we’re currently in the process of adding items to the online store. We open for the season on Friday, February 16, and our goal is to have all items posted in the online store by then.

Once we add the products online, beekeepers that are not in driving distance will be able to place orders with us. We will be shipping most items.

But there is a benefit for local customers too. From now on, you can place an order online and select “pick up at the store” during checkout. We will set the material aside and let you know once it’s ready to pick up. This will speed up your purchasing process. You are more than welcomed to stay as long as you want, have a coffee and talk bees with us. But if you are in a hurry, you can just pick the order up and keep going.

We have 125+ items online now and will keep adding until we have everything online!

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New BeeManiacs Forum

We receive many emails a day with beekeeping related questions. It’s sometimes hard for BeeManiacs staff to stay on top of answering emails and in some cases, we end up answering the same or similar questions multiple times in one-on-one emails.

We had to find a more efficient way to bring the information to more beekeepers. After evaluating different options, we decided to set up our own online forum system, so we can share our answers in a public environment, where the information will reach more beekeepers.

One of the reasons we decided to set up our own forum in our website was because the existing systems or the social media options out there (i.e. Facebook groups) are not accessible to everyone, and certainly not friendly on a regular basis. There is a lot of information out there that is not accurate and the biggest public forums are hard to read, with input from many beekeepers from different countries (based on different equipment or weather).

The BeeManiacs forum welcomes new beekeepers as well as experienced ones. There are no “dumb” or “too basic” questions. Beekeepers should feel free to ask any questions, knowing that they will receive one or more answers with different opinions, but in a friendly fashion.

Our forums are intended to support students from our online courses and in-person classes that we volunteer to teach in the Inland Northwest of the USA, as well as BeeManiacs store customers and beekeepers in general.

If you bought a tool or equipment from us and would like to ask how to set it up or use it, try going to our forums first.

Anyone can search information in the forum, but to post a question, you need to be a registered member and log in to your account. If you purchased something from us, you probably created an account and just need to log in. Once you are logged in, feel free to post any question.

 

 

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Live Bees Options for 2018

In 2017 we did not have enough bees to cover the demand, so for 2018 we’re almost doubling the number of bees we will supply.  We will have two waves, with packages arriving in April and nucs in May.

2018 Packages

We are teaming up again in 2018 with Olivarez Honey Bees from California. Olivarez is a reputable supplier of high-quality queens and packages. This year the packages will have marked queens (unless extreme weather during queen rearing process occurs). They will include the usual queen race options, Italian and Carniolan, but this year we will have a new option: Saskatraz packages.

Saskatraz queens were developed in Canada (you can visit their website at this link) and Olivarez Honey Bees is the Saskatraz hybrid producer for North America. We are looking forward to seeing how this Canadian hybrid performs in the Inland Northwest. It sounds promising!

2018 Nucs

We are bringing Old Sol nucs again since their customers keep asking us to bring these Oregon nucs to our area. Many beekeepers are pretty happy with the results from Old Sol Survivor Stock. In 2017 we were not able to bring Caucasian nucs, due to bad weather and a late season, but this year we are bringing both options: Caucasian and Survivor Stock. These nucs come in a non-returnable wooden nuc.

For more information on the packages and nucs, including pricing and links to their respective suppliers, please visit this link: livebees.beemaniacs.com

We are currently selling some options at discounted prices (for a limited time, while supplies last).

As we mentioned in a previous post, we expect to distribute the packages on April 28 and the nucs should be here on May 19. Since the nucs come with some frames that include beeswax and brood, you should get similar results by the end of the season from an early package than with a nuc that you install three weeks later.

If you are just getting started with bees and still don’t know what kind of hive hardware you are going to use, we recommend you to buy a package of bees. Nucs are only compatible with hives that can fit Deep Langstroth frames. Packages can be installed in any kind of hive of any shape or design. If you have any questions you can post a question on our forums.

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Bee Day 2018 – April 28

Usually, the packages of bees arrive in the Inland Northwest around mid-April and that’s when we organize our Bee Day, where all beekeepers, experienced and new, come together to get their bees. At BeeManiacs we also have package installation demonstrations and other activities and vendors. We also host the Beekeeping Equipment Swap Meet on that day. You can see a report from a previous event following this link.

Some years we have good weather on Bee Day and other years we get hail, rain, and snow (yes, all on the same day). Some years the packages arrive while the weather is still too cold and the colony depends on beekeepers for too long. The beekeeper has to provide syrup to keep them alive. Also, some bees struggle to adapt to the cold weather and establish a colony (they come from California where the season already started). With lower temperatures, it’s harder for bees to make beeswax and this causes them to build comb in new equipment at a much slower rate.

The weather of the specific day can certainly be unpredictable, but climate is a different thing. By looking at previous year values, we can make climate predictions by taking averages and year to year values. After looking at some charts we noticed that if we delay our Bee Day a couple of weeks, the average high and low temperatures are much more honey bee friendly. The chances for a package to successfully establish a colony are higher at those improved temperatures. You will still have to feed the bees as soon as they are installed in the hive, but they will be able to start finding real food sooner, being installed more in sync with the season.

Over the last years we heard reports about more packages swarming during the first season. Several years ago packages would not swarm during the first season and new beekeepers usually didn’t need to manage the colony to prevent swarming. In recent years more and more packages from all sources, tend to swarm on the first season. We believe that delaying package installation by two weeks would help reduce swarming behavior. More colonies will be focused on making comb, bees, and foraging for supplies than swarming.

Taking all this information into consideration and since we can set up our own date for picking up packages in California, we decided to move our Bee Day from mid-April to the end of April. The two weeks delay would improve the survival chances of the colony and won’t make a difference by the end of the season.

BeeManiacs Bee Day will be on April 28. We will have more information about vendors and other events planned for that day. If you place an order of bee packages in BeeManiacs, you will be participating in this year’s Bee Day event.

 

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New Website Features

If you visit BeeManiacs website regularly, you have noticed that we added some improvements and new features.

Most of the work was not visible though. We created up to 20 clone websites where we tested a new store, educational module (LMS), Forum and account system. After thorough testing, we selected the best settings that were brought to the live website.

Some of the changes are:

  • Online store relocated to the main website
  • Online educational module was enabled on the main website and we’re moving content we had published on a different platform
  • The website includes SSL so it should show with a green lock (in mobile phones) of say “Secure” in web browsers. This means all information you enter in BeeManiacs is encrypted and safe.
  • We are setting up a new forum system so we can address more beekeeping questions that we were able to answer individually by email
  • Some other features are not visible yet, as a knowledge base with short honey bee and beekeeping articles, and also more features for beekeepers to share information and present themselves to others (like a beekeeper online hangout)

We recommend anyone using the website to create an account (free) so you can take advantage of the features. From your account, you will be able to track history of questions/answers posted in the forums, track order history, make comments on products or post/pages.

For creating an account just go to the login area and you can click on “Register” to create the account (just the first time) and in future visits, you can just login.

We hope this new website will allow us to bring more educational material, more support, and more products to you, so we can help you help your bees.

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Closed for the season

We are now closed for the season. We will resume regular hours, opening Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 am to 4 pm on February 16, 2018.

Our online store remains open 24/7 (http://shopbeemaniacs.com/). We will continue working in consolidating our online presence and bringing many more products to the online store during our winter break. We are going to bring many improvements for the 2018 season, taking advantage of our new building and the improved web platform.

If you need anything from the BeeManiacs store from now until mid-February, we can open by appointment. Just contact us at info@beemaniacs.com and we can set a day and time for you.

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Bee Day and Other Events

We are finally done with bringing live bees to the area. It was a very exciting yet busy time. Exciting because we love to bring bees to all beekeepers, especially the ones starting for the first time. Busy because due to the bad weather conditions we had to reschedule delivery dates several times.

Bee Day was a huge success, with about 300 people stopping by BeeManiacs to pick up or talk bees, buy plants or take a hands-on class. Volunteers from the Backyard Beekeepers Association stepped in and helped control traffic and parking lot and took over teaching the hands-on demonstrations.

We are already making plans for the 2018 BeeManiacs Bee Day, but one of the most difficult issues to solve is where to park more cars. The current extended parking area was filled up and we could fit more cars in our back 5 acres, but that could undermine the health of the pollinator-friendly plants we have there. We will figure this out before the next Bee Day.

Below you can see some pictures from Bee Day, hands-on Field Days and other live bees pickup dates.

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Nuc delivery date update

Old Sol Survivor Stock nucs are arriving on May 20 and will be available to pick up from 10 am to 4 pm.

The supplier of the Economy Nucs had to delay delivery date one more week, so Economy Nucs are going to be ready to pick up on May 27, from 8 am to 4 pm.

We are sending email updates to everyone that purchased nucs, as soon as we have any schedule change notice. If you are not receiving the emails, please check your spam folder.

Old Sol Nucs for May 20 are sold out. Since we changed the schedule of the Economy nucs to May 27, some customers may need to cancel their orders and some Economy nucs may become available. If you want to buy nucs for this season, you can see what’s available here:

http://livebees.beemaniacs.com/

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Nuc delivery date pushed to May 20

Both of our nuc suppliers for the 2017 season had to push their delivery dates until May 20.

If you bought nucs through BeeManiacs, for delivery dates of May 6 or May 13, the new delivery date is May 20.

We are sorry for the delay but the unusual weather in Oregon delayed the flowering and the beekeeping season, which pushed the nuc delivery dates until at least May 20.

We are sending email updates to everyone that placed an order. If you did not receive email updates from us, please check your email spam folder.

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Bad weather delaying nuc delivery dates

The 2017 season is breaking some records as the coldest and most rainy season in the last 45 years.

Live bee suppliers are struggling to deliver bee packages and nucs on fixed schedules that worked fine in previous years.

If you bought live bees from us, please check your email for updates. The Economy nuc delivery date was delayed from May 6th to the 13th and still pending final confirmation.

If you are not receiving updates from BeeManiacs, please check your email spam filter or email us to livebees@beemaniacs.com.

Bee suppliers are doing everything they can to deliver live bees on schedule, but in some cases they will need to delay the delivery date to make sure that the nucs are properly made.