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CraBee

Who has the best Queens?

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I'm expecting over a 1,000 different answers to this ?

 

But seriously who has a reputation for producing Queens that are:

1.  Nectar collecting monsters  (80% weighting)

2.  Reasonable temperament  (20% weighting)

 

I could thrown in disease resistance, swarming etc etc etc but generally want to stick to the first two.

 

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It's a million dollar question! I tried a run of Better bees daughters that were lovely temperament and a total loss as far as production went. They would have made great back yard pets.

I'm back to raising my own from my best and the some better odd ones bought in as cells or mated Q's.

I am just using the best I have and making sure the starter/finishers are very well stocked brood bee wise and well fed. So far so good, more to do!

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4 hours ago, Ali said:

 

I'm back to raising my own from my best and the some better odd ones bought in as cells or mated Q's.

I am just using the best I have and making sure the starter/finishers are very well stocked brood bee wise and well fed. So far so good, more to do!

 

Excellent for me I believe that’s the right way to go.

The more who do that the better our queen stock will be over all. 

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My mongrels suit me.

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The key to my mind is talking to each breeder about what they do and what they are trying to get. There are a number of breeders out there who look flash on paper but have no clue what they are doing and poor quality control if any....calling them breeders is kind of insulting to those who do it for a living.  People who do queens on the side of their other business wouldn't be my choice tbh. 

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BSB what are your queens like? and how do we as clients know that? its like cells we pay money and what do you do if a cell/queen dosen't take?

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19 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

BSB what are your queens like? and how do we as clients know that? its like cells we pay money and what do you do if a cell/queen dosen't take?

To know what someones queens are like, the easiest way to find out is to buy some and give them a go. I would certainly recommend giving feedback to the queen breeder/producer, whether it be positive or negative. Not all queens will work well in all different areas of the country. I imagine experienced breeders will have repeat customers who may be happy to vouch for the product?

 

If a cell fails to emerge it is possibly the fault of the person raising the cells, although cells are easily damaged if you're a little rough with them. If it "Doesn't take" (i.e. it emerged but no mated queen results) that is in my opinion in no way on the seller. Everyone surely knows it a game of percentages? The same goes for introducing mated queens. If they don't take it is probably how they were introduced that will be largely to blame.

 

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1 hour ago, Otto said:

To know what someones queens are like, the easiest way to find out is to buy some and give them a go. I would certainly recommend giving feedback to the queen breeder/producer, whether it be positive or negative. Not all queens will work well in all different areas of the country. I imagine experienced breeders will have repeat customers who may be happy to vouch for the product?

 

If a cell fails to emerge it is possibly the fault of the person raising the cells, although cells are easily damaged if you're a little rough with them. If it "Doesn't take" (i.e. it emerged but no mated queen results) that is in my opinion in no way on the seller. Everyone surely knows it a game of percentages? The same goes for introducing mated queens. If they don't take it is probably how they were introduced that will be largely to blame.

 

Otto, yep I agree with you, but sometimes a grey area, some times it is a big gamble with no comebacks, I wonder if consumer guarantee (wont for commercials, but might apply for hobbyists) or fair trading act could be applied.

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10 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

Otto, yep I agree with you, but sometimes a grey area, some times it is a big gamble with no comebacks, I wonder if consumer guarantee (wont for commercials, but might apply for hobbyists) or fair trading act could be applied.

I think that would be very difficult. The problem is the queen/cell provider has absolutely no guarantees about how their product is being introduced. You can give all the correct advice and instructions but people still refuse to follow it or interpret it in a way you never anticipated...

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I checked my first lot of re-queening today(My own 10 day cells) 28/28 it doesn't get any better.

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I have been surprised by the attitude of many beekeepers buying from me in the past. When the industry was hot it was all about availability, many didn't even ask about price or even breed let alone the other, more important info. 

 

Having a chat to the breeder about what they do and what they breed for would be a minimum I would think and yes, test running a few queens/ cells/ virgins would also be wise. Finding someone who has the same ethos and ethics around beekeeping is a good idea I reckon. 

 

As noted, once the insect leaves our hands it is pretty hard to track how they are cared for and/or introduced. Its pretty rough pinning failure on me as a breeder when there is such a wide variation in skill level in the industry. One missed virgin in a hive and that will likely be it for my queen. That said I do follow up with clients regarding service and product and as it is my name behind what I sell, and my hands all over the queens that go out the door I take my quality control seriously. 

 

I note that there have been a number of new entrants into queen breeding.. personally you couldn't pay me enough to take their products. Breeding is part science, part art and most of the newbies don't have enough of either to be much good in my opinion....though their ads do look flash and shiny. 

 

16+years beekeeping and most of that breeding here and overseas....you'd hope by now I know what I'm doing. 😀

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Otto said:

I think that would be very difficult. The problem is the queen/cell provider has absolutely no guarantees about how their product is being introduced. You can give all the correct advice and instructions but people still refuse to follow it or interpret it in a way you never anticipated...

BSB,Otto, yes I agree, it was a question someone posed to me about comeback on breeders. I mention to them that first you should learn how to raise cells/queens yourself even on a small scale just to see whats involved, then when you do buy from others at least you will have an understanding of whats involved and what is needed to get the best results out of the cells/queens.

 

Edited by Dennis Crowley
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Posted (edited)

Queen breeding is definitely a art and science, I do not rate myself as the best but as the years go by you learn, I have been guilty of trying to raise to many cells at once, using hives not strong enough, trying to go to far outside of the season in fact you could name all sorts and I've probably done it. But what I do now that has changed is I do it mostly for myself and man I get way better results, I gues it's the added pressure of quantity versus time, I never intended to do queens or cells for others but I'd get the odd request so you try and help, I've learnt to say no. But what I do know is i am impressed with how the breeders who do it for income can actually do it well and make money doing it it needs to be a pretty smooth operation. I take my hat of to them.

On a side note because I mark all my queens at least once a year I find them all and take records its absolutely incredible how many change themselves.

Also while we are on the subject of queens what's peoples thoughts on poorper split queens, I did it this year on some double box nucs, just before Christmas basically I was being lazy, I had nearly 100% take I then did it again mid January and again a excellent take, my question is how good are these queens, currently they seem awsome.. ps. This is not what I normally do but it was a combination of running out of cells xmas was around corner and I was lazy.

Edited by tony

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19 minutes ago, tony said:

, my question is how good are these queens, currently they seem awsome.. ps. This is not what I normally do but it was a combination of running out of cells xmas was around corner and I was lazy.

Yes, those self made ones can be great.  My success on requeening with cells over late summer- probably 75-80%.  Out of the balance, half will make their own and the rest will go queenless/drone/rubbish.  When I see those self made ones, well they are often darker/stripey and look like good layers. If you allowed self make, expect a degrading of stock over time. 

I select my breeders early spring- probably mark 30 odd hives from 600 which I whittle down.  This year 6, all of which I use, which is important.   

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My cell take in the starter has been declining over the last week.  I might need to do some more work on it, but are generally others finding it more difficult now to get cells going?

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53 minutes ago, CraBee said:

My cell take in the starter has been declining over the last week.  I might need to do some more work on it, but are generally others finding it more difficult now to get cells going?

Yea I used to push out till now, but I don't graft in March any more, the mating success is reduced so much for me I find it not worth the work fixing things etc.

1 hour ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Yes, those self made ones can be great.  My success on requeening with cells over late summer- probably 75-80%.  Out of the balance, half will make their own and the rest will go queenless/drone/rubbish.  When I see those self made ones, well they are often darker/stripey and look like good layers. If you allowed self make, expect a degrading of stock over time. 

I select my breeders early spring- probably mark 30 odd hives from 600 which I whittle down.  This year 6, all of which I use, which is important.   

Yea I should have added my poorper splits are mated in my drone production area so these are selected drone hives actually the ones in my bee pathogen program, which are selected originally from varroa survival but of late its honey and overwintering strength.

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A young Beek gave me 5 cell from a flash Breeder in Tauraunga last seasons spring.
He had very good queens out of his ones and these were left over.
For me 4 failed to emerge and the one that survived is still a very very poor single.
It is such a sorry hive that I used it in a robbing trial as I figured if any hive was to get robbed recently that would be it.
But my point is that these were good cells from a good breeder yet they produced the worst Queen possible when their peer cells did well for the other guy.

My conclusions, something happened to those cells that caused this.
Can I blame the Breeder?, of course not, whatever happen probably happened after they left his place.
 

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18 hours ago, Philbee said:

A young Beek gave me 5 cell from a flash Breeder in Tauraunga last seasons spring.
He had very good queens out of his ones and these were left over.
For me 4 failed to emerge and the one that survived is still a very very poor single.
It is such a sorry hive that I used it in a robbing trial as I figured if any hive was to get robbed recently that would be it.
But my point is that these were good cells from a good breeder yet they produced the worst Queen possible when their peer cells did well for the other guy.

My conclusions, something happened to those cells that caused this.
Can I blame the Breeder?, of course not, whatever happen probably happened after they left his place.
 

Few other options there. Poor quality drones, she hatched but was either chilled or overheated during transport thus potential was compromised. Not suited to Taupo Climate.....blah blah blah

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I swapped five queens in the spring with David. Opening a hive to see black bees still makes me nervous but so far they have behaved impeccably.. Production wise they are not as good as the best of mine but they are better than average and very even. Will be interesting to see how they go after two full seasons.

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Posted (edited)

For a while my dunedin hives all descended from some cells that @tudor facilitated me getting. A few generations on now though, and a swarm i went and picked up entered the mix so not sure regarding their current heritage.

 

They came from a Dunedin breeder (i'd say who, except i'm not 100% on who) and the queens that came out of the cells and the hives they headed have been the most docile i've dealt with, as well as being incredibly productive.

 

Edited by tommy dave

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Mainly David Woodward and a few from Otto hyink

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1 hour ago, john berry said:

I swapped five queens in the spring with David. Opening a hive to see black bees still makes me nervous but so far they have behaved impeccably.. Production wise they are not as good as the best of mine but they are better than average and very even. Will be interesting to see how they go after two full seasons.

I asked John for help in establishing a new yellow closed population as part of the Hybrid work I am doing, and with full disclosure that we were selling our business, John was still willing to go ahead with the swap- I was very grateful for that.  I had some of his stock, literally decades ago, and was impressed with them then, and nothing has changed.  I was really impressed with the Queens he sent up to me.  One was average, another very good, and 3 were exceptional. I really enjoyed working them every time I went into them.  I collected a disproportionate amount of semen from them,  and they caused me to doubt some of my breeding beliefs!

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4 minutes ago, David Yanke said:

I was really impressed with the Queens he sent up to me.  One was average, another very good, and 3 were exceptional. I really enjoyed working them every time I went into them.  I collected a disproportionate amount of semen from them,  and they caused me to doubt some of my breeding beliefs!

Semen from Queens ? I'd be doubtful too..

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Who has the best queens?

Without doubt more than half will claim - "my own"

 

On 14/01/2019 at 3:18 AM, CraBee said:

 But seriously who has a reputation for producing Queens that are:

1.  Nectar collecting monsters  (80% weighting)

 

So, a nectar collecting monster must have:

1. Bigger honey sac

2. Nearly all bees must be foragers during main flow, leaving the hive look almost like out of bees during the day

3. For the NZ windy weather - STRONGER  wings

4. Oh, yes-  and low swarming index

 

As to who produces the best queens - I would say Roger White from Cyprus. And part of it is due to the hot humid rainless climate.

Second place in my rating (of all non Buckfast bees) goes to a carnica queen inseminated with ligustica from Latshaw. Extremely vigorous bees. No symptoms of varroa and related viruses

 

Regarding my experience with the kiwi bees in 2016 - the 200 hives that I had headed by Yanke's queens were far from perfect, but very consistent regarding performance. Still better than all and any of the mongrels I had access to, and much better than the Beta Bees.

 

 

 

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I'm pretty sure I have the best queens available now  and they will be available under license within two years.  have been using AI to experiment with hybridizing native solitary bees with honeybees and have had surprisingly successful results. I now have a stabilized hybrid which is over 70% more productive on pasture and well over 100% more productive on manuka . They have their problems and cells have to be raised in conventional hives as they don't produce any royal jelly . On the other hand they don't swarm (they don't raise cells) and the virgins mate within the hive . Each Queen is not as productive but they are not aggressive towards each other and I have found ten  to be the optimal number in a hive. They do host varroa but varroa do not reproduce within the hive and the bees are very hygienic so they are not a problem .So far they have overwintered really well on very little stores and the only real downside has shown up in a South Island trial I have been and with another beekeeper with the bees show no inclination to work honeydew  which is disappointing.

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