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  1. #1
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    Nov 2007
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    Clark South Dakato USA
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    Question Buying southern Queens

    Most of the people I talk to buy their Queens and package Bees from the south. wouldn't the beekeepers up north be better of getting theirs from northern suppliers? wouldn' they winter better?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
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    721

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    There are a couple of problems with that. First, there are far too few queen producers in the north to to make much of a dent in the demand for queens, and I'm not sure there are any package producers in the north at all. I knew of one, Dana Stahlman, but he has retired. Even those that did queens or packages in the north were no where near the size of the operations in the south.

    2nd problem is when people want all those queens and packages. Early spring. Where I'm at people want packages and queens in early April but you can't even think about raising a mated queen until almost May. Even those that opt to buy nucs because they are 'local', end up getting southern queens most of the time because they want the nucs too early in the season.

    Also, buying a southern queen doesn't necessarily mean it's not as suited for a northern environment. Sure the queen might have been raised in the south, but where was it bred? I'm sure no one will argue that the offspring raised in California from Sue Cobey's Ohio NWC II breeder queens suddenly loose their ability to survive an Ohio winter just because they were raised in CA. Or Russian queens lost any traits they had to survive in their original climate the minute the were reared in the southern states.

    And it's a bit more complicated than that really. One of the traits the Carnolian has is that it responds more quickly to the environment than some bees, meaning that it reduces brood rearing when the pollen and nectar sources dry up. This is one reason it does well over winter because it has a smaller cluster and needs less honey or feeding. They also quickly kick into high gear once the pollen does start coming in, in the spring. This can be a useful trait in other areas (including the south) where they have a significant dearth and you don't want to have to feed your bees to keep them alive because they keep rearing brood because it's still warm out.

    Of course this may not be a good trait if you're a commercial guy who needs the bees to keep brooding up for package bee production, or moving to another crop to pollinate in a few weeks time. The flip side is that you have to feed them and let them have more honey for times when there won't be nectar available. Some operations actually use a hybrid of Carnolian and Italian to get a bit more balanced mix.

    -Tim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
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    426

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    There's a lot to be said for getting queens from northern sources that have queens that are select for the climate.

    In my area, there is an early flow that we use to build bee numbers, then a two to four week dearth, and the an intense honey flow for 6 to 8 week. I don't keep queen around that shut down during this dearth because it kills my production.

    If you are going to use northern queens you have to change your approach to making increase and spilts. Most of the splitting will have to be done between June to early August. These nucs will become producing hives next year. With indoor wintering, 3 frames of bees will winter well, but 4 to 5 frames will require much less "bee sitting" next spring.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    575

    Default Depends on when you need them...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
    Most of the people I talk to buy their Queens and package Bees from the south. wouldn't the beekeepers up north be better of getting theirs from northern suppliers? wouldn' they winter better?
    Nothing wrong with getting locally raised queens if they are available when you need them. Problem is that a lot of folks want queens early in the season and thus have to get them from the south. For example, if it is early Spring and you discover you have a problem hive and you need a queen in a hurry...Southern queens may be the only option.

    However, if you don't need queens until later on in the season...give the local queens a go at it. The last two years I have done my re-qeening chores in the fall and at that time I could get queens locally, from the south or the north.
    "My child, eat honey, for it is good." (Proverbs 24:13)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Loganville, GA
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    2,172

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    "The last two years I have done my re-qeening chores in the fall and at that time I could get queens locally, from the south or the north."

    Nothing wrong with doing that every year. Chances of getting a queen mated well in the early fall are better than early spring unless you need an emergency replacement in the spring. Much, much easier to get queens later in the year also. And from where you want to get them.

    I don't know how much of it is proven or documented about bees and cold, but I see some bees cope with it better than others here. That doesn't mean that you can't get good queens from the south to make it in the north. I think I would have to say that I would expect the failure rate to be a little higher and have seen that in Mich. But what survive can go on to be some superb bees. And that's not to say there aren't superb bees to be had in the north.

    I guess the thing to say is that cold hardy is only one of many factors to consider when selecting bees. And I personally wouldn't let that prevent me from getting bees from the south to use in the north. But it would be something to be considered, depending on what I wanted to accomplish.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,309

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
    Most of the people I talk to buy their Queens and package Bees from the south. wouldn't the beekeepers up north be better of getting theirs from northern suppliers? wouldn' they winter better?
    You bet it would be better. But, as others have said...the supply isn't there early enough.

    Maybe northern beekeepers need to change their management plan. Maybe they need to think outside the "package." Think overwintered nucs, with queens raised in mid-summer, from your best stocks. I started with this management plan 10 years ago, and I can't say enough good things about it. Going into winter this year, I have near 400 4 frame nucs, and 140 mating nucs. That's more than 500 queens wintering in my operation...over and above my production hives. Queens are raised in the north during the height of the season, from your best survivor/producer bees, when all the proper nutrition is available, and mature drones are plentiful.

    I've been giving talks all over the Northeast, trying to convince beekeepers of the wisdom of the plan. Those who have taken up the challenge, have seen what I have. Quality bees raised in their area, under their management practices. Not only does the plan add another dimension to their beekeeping...it's wicked good fun.

    I know many will say they haven't the expertise, or the resources to raise/overwinter nucs, or especially raise queens. With a small apiary in their backyard, they obviously don't have the colony numbers to maintain a good strain of bee over time. But...what about tackling queen rearing with the rest of their beekeeping club or association?

    I often ask that question during my presentation. First, we all agree that backyard beekeepers don't have the numbers to select breeders. Then I ask who has a colony that seems to thrive every year. Always strong in the spring, always the best producer. Several beekeepers will raise their hands. There you go. There's the start of your breeding program.

    Anyway, my plan to get northern beekeepers raising their own stock has several sides. First, they need to learn how to make and winter nucleus colonies so they have a supply of bees and queens in the spring.

    Second, is teaching enough interested beekeepers who have the expertise to try queen rearing...with the intent of providing a supply of queens to the beekeepers in their area who don't. Hense the plan of forming regional bee breeding associations to
    1. Teach queen rearing and nuc making to interested beekeepers
    2. Provide a resource for beekeepers and producers to get together.

    The beginnings of this have already started in some areas.

    Tarheit mentioned Dana Stahlman. He may be retired, but is still active. He and Larry Connor have started a bee breeders association in Ohio. They had their first meeting in October. Maybe someone else who attended the meeting would like to give a report. Also, we are starting a similar group in the northeast. Should be up and running this winter.

    Anyway, I'm glad you asked the question.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Huntington, West Virginia, USA
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    438

    Cool Canadian Buckfast queens

    We tried northern queens this year. Got them from Ferguson in Canada. We are starting to worry about AHB from the drones down south. We got these queens in July and did nucs. They all seemed to do well. We will know in the Spring, when we plan to use the nucs for requeening, how they did this Winter. Hope that helps the discussion. -Danno

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Clark South Dakato USA
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    44

    Wink

    Thanks you all for your input Shorty

  9. #9
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    Aug 2004
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    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
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    1,725

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    Quote Originally Posted by danno1800 View Post
    We tried northern queens this year. Got them from Ferguson in Canada. We are starting to worry about AHB from the drones down south. We got these queens in July and did nucs. They all seemed to do well. We will know in the Spring, when we plan to use the nucs for requeening, how they did this Winter. Hope that helps the discussion. -Danno
    Danno1800, sent you a PM..
    Ted

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    2,071

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
    Most of the people I talk to buy their Queens and package Bees from the south. wouldn't the beekeepers up north be better of getting theirs from northern suppliers? wouldn' they winter better?
    Yes!
    In fact, during much of the 1700 to 1800s the north was
    a major queen producing region until about 1886 when
    queens began being shipped through the mail.

    Northern breeders gradually fell to the competition
    from southern breeders which had a competitive advantage
    from extended queen rearing season, and could get queens
    mass produced and shipped to northern beekeepers
    several weeks before the northern breeders could have
    queens available.

    Best Wishes,
    Joe Waggle
    FeralBeeProject.com
    http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/H...eybeeArticles/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Huntington, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    438

    Lightbulb Buckfast queens should be available for sale at HAS 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by TwT View Post
    Danno1800, sent you a PM..
    We have invited Mr. Ferguson to come to the Heartland beekeeping conference in Huntington, WV July 10-12, 2008 www.heartlandbees.com
    He says he will bring as many Buckfast queens to sell as people want. Hope you can attend. Now that Buckfast Abbey has stopped producing the queens, there are only a few breeders of the pure Buckfast bees left in the world. -Danno

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