I haven't talked to you in a while. Just thought maybe you would be
curious to know about the auction on Saturday.
The supers went for $13.50 each (1764 available).
Bees sold as double brood chamber colonies:1650 available -- about 1400 sold
for $71.00!! Buyer from North Dakota. Bees will be going to
California. Very soon.
Some hives were in very poor shape. A group of us
went around and looked at them before the sale and thought maybe 50% would
make it through winter. Was tempted to bid, however I thought I would
have one more chance but the last guy took the works. That's how an
Did not like the style of selling. The hives were in
about 8 locations. We only had time to check 5 locations. We
went to one location to sell all of them. Apparently the hives were
#'d on the front from 1 to 1650. We did not know this, or realize this
at the time of inspection, so we did not know the #'s of the hives we
When they bid, the first guy took 12 so he got #'s 1-12,
the next guy took 20, he got #'s13-33, the next bidder took 100, he got #'s
34-104 and so on.
I am not comfortable buying the ones I did not look at.
If the # thing was explained before the sale, we would have taken note of
the #'s and bid on those locations. Oh well. The buyer will take
them where he can get some feed in them and build them up in the next 60
days have them ready for the almonds and get his money back in 6-8 months.
Anyways, just thought I would let you know. I hope
any auction in the future is not done in this same style. I would
rather them sell each location. Hope you are enjoying your early
winter, I mean the rest of summer.
Thanks for the report. The prices
were very low, but that was to be expected. Fall is usually not a good
time to sell.
Beekeepers have not yet sold their crop
and, also, they have no idea of the prospects for the coming season.
There is no pressure to buy, and financing for expansion has usually not
been obtained this early.
Moreover, the early word on the street
were that the hives were weak, and in doubtful condition for wintering.
If I recall correctly, the supers all had cleats, so that pretty well rules
out interest on the part of 95% of Alberta commercial beekeepers.
Things went pretty well the way
I expected, and I also expect that by next Spring, prices will be back up
...unless the price of honey keeps dropping. I'm waiting to hear
what the attendance was, and what happened with the loaders and trucks.
I expect the Swinger went high, trucks low.
The problem with auctions is that
to do well, there have to be lots of eager buyers competing. The
seller is committed to sell but the buyers are not committed to buy, and need to be
coaxed. Beekeepers are spread out thinly around the country, so it
is hard to get them motivated.
I recall talking to one beekeeper
who sold out a long time back, and he said that he did an awful lot of
missionary work lining up buyers, and setting up lots in advance of the
auction. He got very good prices, but he earned them. He is
the only one who did get good prices, in my recollection. I
considered selling by auction, but, after attending a few, decided that
expecting the buyers to be ready on one day -- and one day only -- was
far too risky. It took me three full years to match buyers
with all the various items I sold.
I gather there were lots of
lookers, but few buyers at this auction. Most people I talked to
were not ready to buy, except to scoop up bargains or a few choice items
like the Swinger. I know that there must have been a few
motivated buyers, and therefore, I wonder what the first few lots of
hives went for -- before they ran out of serious interest? That
would give a better idea what the hives were really worth.
My advice, folks? If you plan
to have an auction, figure on phoning everyone you know in advance, and
giving tours. Hire a salesman if you have to, and work hard for
three months in advance. Then pray for a sunny day -- and good
folks, with your thoughts and observations, and I'll share the details.
This came in later...
If my memory serves me correctly, the
first 20 hives or so went for $115 and the rest went for $90 or something
close to that. They only opened the bidding 3 times.
This, along with previous comments,
may also indicate that beekeepers are not experienced auction buyers.
Auction buying requires a lot more advance work than most of us assume,
since firm buying decisions must be made in advance when large sums of money are
involved. As a result of insufficient preparation, most beekeepers wind up being spectators, and
only minor bidders. At auctions I've attended, usually only a few
are prepared to bid. The rest may think they are, but when the
action starts, they find they are not. Also, at recent auctions, very
little advance promotion has been done.
Selling the hives from anywhere
except where they are located is, IMO, a mistake. People have to
be on-site and looking at what they are buying.
If realistic prices are to be had
in bee auctions, it seems to me that that the seller -- or agents --
must promote the items on offer and provide convincing histories and
test results, as well as guided tours in the days leading up to the
sale. Those who show up on auction day and have not carefully
inspected the goods will only pay prices based on the most pessimistic
appraisal, and are easily swayed by the gossip and rumours that
circulate, often started by competing buyers. The funny thing is
that some start a rumour to scare off others, but end up believing their
own stories when they hear others repeat them back. Buyers are
like cattle and react emotionally when they are on the spot.