I've bought from both of them.
I used R. Weaver's non-buckfast line and they performed well and were cheaper than B. Weaver but I switched over the Binford's SmartQueens as part of my non-pesticide based beekeeping program. They have been a bit swarmy but that may be my beekeeping level of skill. I regressed them on HSC in eight weeks with only a 20% loss (better than other regression efforts).
The B. Weaver company tells me the varoa resistance in their non-SMR lines is actually virus resistance. They don't have any special hygenic properties but tolerate varoa by tolerating the virus' varoa carry. B. Weaver says they are going to start using their SMRs as drone hives to see if they can cross the hygenic traits into their main lines. Hope it works.
With several thousand hives they seems to have pretty good scale for queen producing and selection.
So here are the stats:
My R Weaver hives have never been treated and are quite strong after 4 years on large cell. Zero winter losses. Honey production have been quite erratic. These hives have superceded at least twice in the 4 years so I would say the queen line has been heavily diluted so as to not indicate much of anything.
My B weaver SMR hives have never been treated and are on small cell. Honey production is mixed but these hives are either 1 or 2 years old so they are not at full production capacity (I run double deeps for the brood nest). Several hives have swarmed or superceded up to twice in a season, but several have done quite well.
I am doing a fall requeen of 8 hives with Binfords All Stars which they say are their best honey producers. I know 8 is not a very big sample but it's a start.
BTW there is a wild hive about 20 miles from me that has been in a hollow tree for 4 years and is going strong. It is on the property of a water plant and they won't use any pesticides on their property. They just let the hive live and let live. Another few years and it might be a good source of genetic material.
Last edited by wfarler; 10-07-2007 at 12:59 PM.
"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes"
Henry David Thoreau, Walden