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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

    Post

    Just wondering if anyone had a particular queen breeder that they especially like to buy from. The queens that I ordered from R Weaver arrived looking to be in very good shape and will hopefully head good, gentle, productive colonies. But the customer service I received was of very poor quality, even bordering on rude, and I prefer to do business with people who are friendly and polite. To be fair, I did have contact with only one person (both by email and by phone) so that person may not be representative of the organization as a whole. I chose them because of the Weaver name and my past good experience with Howard Weaver.
    Anyhow, if anyone has a queen breeder that you recommend, I would like to hear about them.
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,463

    Post

    Strachan Apiaries. Very good NWC queens.
    http://www.strachanbees.com/index.html
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Post

    Jeffrey:

    In my experience that's pretty out of character for R Weaver. I bought four packages from them the first week of Apr. I have communicated with them via email, phone and in person. Never experienced an inkling of rudeness. They bent over backwards to get me an emergency queen when I discovered one of mine dead on the bottom board. Mr. Weaver even took a good bit of time giving me some additional advice on introducing the new queen to a colony that had been queenless for about 10 days (my guess as to how long the queen had been dead since there were no eggs or brood). My wife, my son and myself were even allowed to follow him to a nuc and inspect the queen before accepting it.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

    Post

    Thanks for the recommendation, Astrobee. I will be giving Strachan a try; I am also interested in the NWC so there is another good reason.
    Gene, thanks for your info as well. I did not speak to Mr. Weaver but rather a person who works the office and phones and such. If this person had been rude just once, I would chalk it up to a tough day, but when talking to her on the phone, I could hardly get a word in edgewise, and I had just called to inquire whether or not they would be shipping on time (they weren't, which is normal in this kind of business, but I had to call them to find out, and I did not expect to be given such a hard time for making the inquiry) Then, the day after shipment was to be made I wrote, "Hi xxxxx,
    Hope your day is going well. I know you are busy, but if you could confirm that my queens went out yesterday with a quick reply, I would sure appreciate it. Thanks for your help"
    The entire response I received was a one-word reply - nothing more.
    OK. I won't hold a grudge because I have done a lot worse things in my life - but I would like to give other good breeders a chance as well.
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    Are you looking for open bred queens or AI?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

    Post

    I haven't purchased queens from R Weaver for a long time, but in all my dealings in the past they were polite, helpful and fair. My reasons for not buying from them would only have to do with that they are surrounded by AHB.

    I'm rather surprised by your exprience as it is inconsistent with what I've heard from everyone else.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

    Post

    Well, I am glad that it seems my experience was isolated. Hopefully it was just a case of the one person having a couple of off days. If others say they have had good dealings, then I am willing to give them another chance.
    MB, an experienced commercial beekeeper here in Texas told me the same thing (he buys his from Hawaii now) so I voiced that concern to them and their reply was as follows:
    "We operate our queen mating yards based on the drone saturation method. We go into full drone production at the same time we go into full
    queen production so when the queens fly out to mate - the chances that they would mate with any drones other than what we are saturating
    the area with are slim to none. We had some scientists here several years ago and their findings concluded that we will get about 98% mating with our own drones once AHB arrive in our area - which they have not. "
    That seemed reasonable, (I question whether or not AHB are in fact in Navasota) so I went ahead with my order for 2 queens, although upon searching the Beesource website I did see a reference to a very hot hive from them - but that may happen from any breeder or other circumstances, I suppose. We'll see what the bees from these queens are like.
    Sundance, open-mated is fine with me if the bees are from a tried and true breeder - do you have reason for using AI instead?
    Thanks
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Schenectady, NY, USA
    Posts
    249

    Post

    Strachan Apiaries is excellent, as is Heitkam Apiaries 4700 1ST Ave
    Orland, CA 95963-9600
    (530) 865-7839. I do not know if they have a web site.

    I order my NWC's from Kona Queens, www.konaqueens.com, as they do not have mites so do not use mitecides and none are accumulated in their wax.

    I admire the Weavers for maintaining an area free of Africanized Bees although everything surrounding them is listed as fully Africanized. Wonder how they do that?
    Lloyd Spear, Owner of Ross Rounds, Inc. Manufacturers of round section comb equipment and Sundance Pollen Traps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Camp County, Tx
    Posts
    94

    Post

    I like ordering from Normans, 334-562-3357 they sent me an outstanding queen last year with very good production and hive buildup, and they are reasonably gentle considering the size of hive this has built into. This Queen lays a lot of brood frames at the right times. An elderly woman name Mary seems to take the calls, and you will be amaized at how polite she is. Anyway, I believe they are good Queen producers.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Rome, GA
    Posts
    274

    Post

    I like Rossman Apiaries. Fred and his wife Ann are wonderful people. They attend all the Georgia meetings, so I feel I know them personally. I've bought queens from them for five years. Any time there's a problem or question, they're both friendly, polite, and quick to fix or answer it. Every time I've ordered queens from them, they've shipped the say Ann said they would.

    http://www.gabees.com/
    I've found it easier to keep bees than keep relationships. At least when I'm stung by bees I know why.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,290

    Post

    I've used Heitkams queens for years with excellent results both for honey production and almond pollination.There is a box of 100 of their queens piping at me on the shelf right now.Sounds like they are saying "Get off the computer and get to work-we need a home NOW".By the way 865-7839 is their fax.The phone # is 530-865-9562.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,290

    Post



    [size="1"][ April 29, 2006, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: loggermike ][/size]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

    Post

    >I did see a reference to a very hot hive from them - but that may happen from any breeder or other circumstances

    I have seen hot bees for decades, long before AHB came along, yes. But I've never seen bees as hot as some 2nd generation Buckfasts from B Weaver back in 2001. I hope to never see any like that again. That was four hives (all of them at the time) simultanesoulsy that swarmed in a drought and turned ballastic. That's not exactly 98% But evev if it WAS 98% is that acceptable?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14

    Post

    I know I’ve written this before in another post. But anyway, it seems on topic for this post so I will repeat,
    Down here in SE Texas, we have some hot bees. A friend of mine took me out to his colonies on a fine spring day in mid March. We opened his four hives to find healthy, populous, and very gentle bees. I asked him where he got his queens, which were marked I noticed, he said,
    “Rossman Apiaries.”
    I don’t think it was anything special he had done, as he is admittedly a novice.

    It was a fine spring day and the bees could have been just as happy about the weather as we were, but I didn’t see them building anything up. It was then that I decided to give Rossman’s a try.

    I have ten queens ordered. I received a letter a few days after I placed the order informing me that the ship date would be May, 23. If Mr. Williamson’s (comment above) correct about their consistency, and these bees turn out to be anything close to what I experienced with my friend’s colonies, then Rossman Apiaries may just have earned another lifelong customer.

    In addition, I will isolate (to the best of my ability) these Rossman hives, graft from the best of the lot, raise queens in the same yard with drone saturation from the Rossman hives. Hopefully, by this time next year, all of my colonies will be healthy, populous, happy Rossman bees.
    And every year order a few more queens in order to limit inbreeding.

    I’ll keep everyone informed as to their, and my, progression.

    Cheers.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Higginsville, Missouri
    Posts
    30

    Post

    I have used R Weaver queens (Buckfast) for many years and would say they have excellent quality and service. I have also had an occasional hot hive (2nd generation or third perhaps)and this too long before the AHB arrival. It was recently brought to my attention that this is not unusual though I have had it happen only on a few occasions. I was also assured by a 3rd party at the bee lab that they indeed had trach. mite resistance when evaluated in the past.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

    Post

    Thanks very much to everyone for your recommendations. That means more than any slick adverstisement. It seems that the smart money may be just to go with a recommended breeder from a non-AHB area.
    Michael, I cannot imagine your shock at what happened with those four hives. I cannot afford a similar occurence at my apiary with my wife and small child around. Plus, beekeeping is a joy for me, and I want to keep it that way.
    I wonder, do the labs ever check on the queens that come from breeders to assure that they 1) are not AHB, or 2) do not have a recessive AHB trait that is likely to be expressed in later generations? I need a short course on bee biology.
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Post

    I have gotten package bees and queens form, R. Weaver on numerous occasions and have had good service every time. Even when the post office killed the bees off. Weavers were very helpful in providing replacements.
    I have also ordered queens from Strachan’s of California with very good luck both suppliers have provided me with excellent stock and I will go back to both.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,463

    Post

    Well, now that you mentioned that gentleness is a primary concern, then I have to strongly recommend that you go with a NWC. Strachan Apiaries bees have been very gentle and productive even subsequent generations. Other NWC breeders probably have queens with similar characteristics, but the NWC from Strachan Apiaries have been so consistently gentle it’s hard to not recommend them. I try to keep some level of diversity in my apiary, and the NWC are by FAR the most gentle of all my hives. They do command a premium for they're queens at $20 each, but its not out of line with other quality producers. I'd like to find another NWC breeder that can match their quality standards and provide a better price, but until then I'll give them what they ask and take my place in the queue.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    mr spear ask:
    I admire the Weavers for maintaining an area free of Africanized Bees although everything surrounding them is listed as fully Africanized. Wonder how they do that?


    tecumseh replies:
    well the 'gossip' is that roy and the state bee inspector (paul jackson) are close friends. make with that what you may.

    and on to jeffrey todd's question...

    I must say I am not the least bit surprised jeffrey at what you have deemed to be lack of concern in regards to service and product. fairly predictable as a matter of fact. I have in the past tried to 'suggest' that some folks have been leaning pretty hard on an old and well respected family name, while cutting all possible corners in regards to business practice and ethics. it is regretable that some folks just ain't quite capable of connecting the dots.

    although I will likely in the near future be branching out to using other queen breeders I would have no reservation in recommending bee weaver as a very reputable source of texas bred queens. matter of fact, at this time he is the only old time texas queen breeder I would even think about recommending to anyone.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Waxahachie, TX
    Posts
    7

    Post

    I am new to the board, and new to beekeeping. I will say that this seems to be about the best source of information I have found anywhere, and I really appreciate all I have read here.

    I started with two new hives this year, acquiring one nuc and one package from the Dadant store in Paris, Texas. The folks there have been a pleasure to deal with and it's just a little over an hour from where I work. Very nice.

    I had ordered another package from the Weavers and I received it Friday. (The post office folks tell me that they had received almost 900 packages of bees Friday!) I installed the package late Friday afternoon. I think the first two hives must have lured me into a false sense of security, but this last one woke me up for sure. The bees came boiling out of the box as I opened it (in spite of spraying and quiet handling, and were all over me in nothing flat. It was all I could do to get them placed and get out of the area quickly. They followed me for at least 300 yards.

    This is a hive I will re-queen, and very soon, and I doubt I would buy from the Weavers again. I will say that my calls and e-mails to the Weavers were handled very well, and the lady I spoke with was both helpfull and friendly.

    Morris

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