The extra queens on a large order are for replacement of drone layers. 4 extra is typical on a 100 queen queen order.
We buy from the larger queen producers and rarely get a dead queen on arrival. We do see about four drone layers per 100 queens.
Virgins are even caged (at times & not on purpose) by large producers in poor weather.
When a queen is caged when only a single egg is seen then drone layers become common in shipments.
One fellow which works for me worked a season for one of the lagest queen producers. See an egg and in the cage was the rule of thumb when caging queens.
Now this is wierd. I recieved a dead quenn from Rossman a couple of years ago. I called them and a man answered the phone. I told him about the queen arriving dead and he shipped me a new one that day free of charge, no questions asked.
I was impressed by the good service.
It is what it is.
We have always had good service from Fred Rossman.
I think it depends on if the queen/queens are insured.
We ordered a Marla Spivak Instrumental inseminated breeder queen from Glenn Apiaries a few years ago. Was dead in the cage at the post office. The post office said are you sure? We dumped the dead queen out on the counter. A claim was filed right then.
Glenn Apiaires shipped a new queen but NOT free of charge. We have had only one dead queen from Glenn Apiaires out of all the queens we have ordered over the years.
We received 500 queens last month from Brown's Bees Australia and all were alive.
They were NOT insured.We called every queen producer in the U.S. but none could supply the queens before we called Australia.
I believe a single queen is not given the care by the USPS as a battery box of 100 queens but only my opinion.
People and businesses make mistakes. It is how those mistakes are handled that tell us the character of the person (or business).
I have been in business for 34 years. Our policy is to do everything that you tell a customer that you have told them that you would do. Just be very careful about what you say you are going to do!
Cody, Rossman has made several mistakes here and I believe that you should give them an oportunity to "make things right". I would suggest that you send them an e-mail and letter detailing what has transpired and ask them if this is standard operating procedure for their business. If it is then by all means drop them like a rock, they deserve it. If however they fix their mistake, they have perhaps retained a valuable customer, and you will feel better about your experience with them.
I think if insurance is purchased from USPS it should be used. As soon as the dead queen is discovered the claim should be filed. The later the claim is filed the harder it is to collect the claim.
The only warrenty from most queen producers is live delivery. If the queen is not accepted by the bees or you bank the queens for a week and some die the loss is not the problem of the queen producer.
However some queen producers will humor hobby beekeepers and replace queens killed by novice beekeepers.
I have killed a few queens introducing and have had some die because I banked too long. Most of us have!
My partner and I use a large number of queens. Once we see they are arrive alive then the producer is off the hook and we are responsible for the queens.
If we get some poor performing queens or a bunch of drone layers we complain to make the queen producer aware of the problem so he/she can keep a closer watch on employees.
I got a poor performing batch of queens from a producer awhile back and the next spring I told the producer about the queens. He wanted to argue which was upsetting to me as I did not want a refund or adjustment but only to report my experience with their queens.
ONG gives sound advice. Each queen producer should send an explanation of their dead queen rules with each order as rules vary from producer to producer.