Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 59

Thread: Micro-breeders

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,883

    Default Micro-breeders

    I think one of the best things to come out of the Sacramento conference was the idea of raising local queens. The term "micro-breeder" was raised, kind of like those "micro-brewers" who brew local beer with the time, patience and specialities that the mega-suds cannot replicate.

    But several speakers also noted that one of the defining characteristics of high quality queens was the necessity of leaving the newly mated queen in the mating nuc for 3 to 4 weeks so she can continue to lay eggs and develop her queen scent. This also gives you a chance to test her, or at least observe her egg laying pattern.

    As a micro-breeder, I would have the time and I can easily afford to tie up my equipment for that length of time. I wouldn't have to "mate and bank" my queens for a quick turnover of the mating nuc.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO http://www.25hives.homestead.com
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Huntington, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    438

    what a good idea this is, Grant

    Thanks for posting it. -Danno

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,082

    Default

    Allowing the queen to lay for 4 weeks pior to picking them also improves acceptance. We are going to do that with all our queens this year. It will slow us down alittle bit, but I think it will improve our queens alot.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,417

    Default

    I wouldnt be so quick to say that you would not need to turn over the mating nucs so quick. Depending on how many times you graft. If, for example, you are running a quenless cell builder, do you graft once, put a queen back in (or leave a queen cell) or do you take the queen cells out and do another round of cells??? Hard to say.

  5. #5

    Default

    I, too, have heard the idea of 'micro-breeders' bandied about. I think, as AHB continue to advance into areas where many of the queen producers are, the idea of local breeders will grow. Its going to be difficult to find many arguments against it.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,081

    Default

    "I think one of the best things to come out of the Sacramento conference was the idea of raising local queens."

    Imagine that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    783

    Default

    I am planning to do a small amount of queen breeding in the coming year. I also think of my plans as fitting the micro-breeder category. I fit into the hobbist category even more than the sideliner.

    While I do plan to raise and test queens before sale, I was also planning to do some virgin queen and queen cells. Since I expect my customers to be 'local', I expect to do follow-up on performance and replace any inferior queens.

    I think this approach will be key to the small operations offering local queens to the hobbist crowd.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,985

    Default

    beemandan writes:
    Its going to be difficult to find many arguments against it.

    tecumseh replies:
    well perhaps you need to put your thinking hat back on for just a moment and/or try not to suck up too much marketing hype or sales fluff while your hat is off.

    perhaps you should consider why green rearing has historically developed in some areas of the country and not others. after you ponder this for a while then consider the economic questions (fixed vs variable cost would be a good place to begin) that might suggest why micro breeder (if that ain't california manufactured marketing hype I would be quite surprised) has never worked in the past.***

    I would suggest to you directly that the largest road block to making the 'micro breeder' idea viable is market timing of product (very large hurdle) and the maintance cost (smaller hurdle) associated with the hives used in supporting the queen rearing operation.

    *** this is not meant to suggest to your that some of us will not continue to produce a few queens on our own or perhaps recognize how old existing patterns of doing business might be changing in some small way and then make plan to fill in the gaps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    413

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    I would suggest to you directly that the largest road block to making the 'micro breeder' idea viable is market timing of product (very large hurdle) and the maintance cost (smaller hurdle) associated with the hives used in supporting the queen rearing operation.
    This is absolutley correct! Once one gets the rearing/production system down,
    marketing the product to cover production cost in time/materials is difficult
    with conventional beekeeping traditions. Teaching beekeepers that
    requeening in the Late Summer/Early Fall is a feasible management
    practice, along with overwinter nucs with fine newly mated and tested
    queens, will help to foster the "Micro Breeder model" in the
    areas of the USA where early Spring queen production
    is difficult.

    Keep up the interest and effort! Once local beekeepers begin
    to change the way they think about managing their queens and
    re-queening, locally produced quality queens and
    regional queen rearing efforts will flourish!

    Adam Finkelstein
    adamf7@gmail.com

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    tecumseh replies:
    well perhaps you need to put your thinking hat back on for just a moment and/or try not to suck up too much marketing hype or sales fluff while your hat is off..
    As cold as its been, I'm going to have to keep my hat on. My old bald head needs it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    perhaps you should consider why green rearing has historically developed in some areas of the country and not others. after you ponder this for a while then consider the economic questions (fixed vs variable cost would be a good place to begin) that might suggest why micro breeder (if that ain't california manufactured marketing hype I would be quite surprised) has never worked in the past.***.
    I appreciate the lesson in business management. A little presumptuous since you don't know anything about me.

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    would suggest to you directly that the largest road block to making the 'micro breeder' idea viable is market timing of product (very large hurdle) and the maintance cost (smaller hurdle) associated with the hives used in supporting the queen rearing operation..
    More lessons! You sure are a smart guy. I wish I'd known all that stuff before I embarrassed myself with my earlier post.
    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    *** this is not meant to suggest to your that some of us will not continue to produce a few queens on our own or perhaps recognize how old existing patterns of doing business might be changing in some small way and then make plan to fill in the gaps.
    Works for you sharp business types. I guess the rest of us slower folks will just have to sit back and watch in envy.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Nevada County, CA
    Posts
    1,083

    Default

    The biggest downside to the micro-breeder concept that I can see would occur if a small time breeder failed to incorporate occasional new genetics into his program. We tend to breed from our best queens, who tend to produce the best queens from which we breed again and also use as drone rearing queens. It doesn't take many generations for this to narrow the gene pool since even the local ferals will start picking up your genetics from your drones. For this reason, I try to introduce two or three queens from a breeder at least 100 miles away from me and 100 miles from the last breeder I bought from every year.
    doug

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,985

    Default

    beemandan writes:
    More lessons! You sure are a smart guy. I wish I'd known all that stuff before I embarrassed myself with my earlier post.

    tecumseh replies:
    maybe yes and maybe know?

    when a person makes some absolute statement (reference my earlier snippet of beemandan's post) that goes totally againist prevailing marketing trends (see adamf comments) you have done a pretty good job of painting yourself into a corner.

    a bit thin skinned are we?

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    when a person makes some absolute statement (reference my earlier snippet of beemandan's post) that goes totally againist prevailing marketing trends (see adamf comments) you have done a pretty good job of painting yourself into a corner.
    *Its going to be difficult to find many arguments against it. *

    This absolute statement that goes totally against prevailing market trends?
    This is what triggered my business management lecture?
    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    a bit thin skinned are we?
    I'm thinkin' we are.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sierrabees View Post
    The biggest downside to the micro-breeder concept that I can see would occur if a small time breeder failed to incorporate occasional new genetics into his program.
    Look out man! I'm thinkin' you're about to get a lecture.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,985

    Default

    the problem that sierrabee references would have been a problem 20 years ago.... with the availability of AI queens this particular problem is not so undouable as other problems (previous referred to as large hurdles). this one structural difference (over time) in the market (ie the availability of AI queens) is also why some folks presumption that northern bred 'winter hardy' bees relies much more on wishful thinking than on practical concerns.

    end of lecture....

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,791

    Default

    I don't object in the least to "micro-breeders," if that's the proper term. As others have suggested on other threads, a difference does lie between "queen producers" and "queen breeders." I wonder if the "micro-breeder" term is somewhat confused, but "micro queen producer" sounds as if the beekeeper is producing exceptionally small queens.

    Having said that, I'm not sure that "micro-breeders" can really keep up with demand. Based on the constraints of time and space that I imagine, I can't fathom a "micro-breeder" being able to fulfil, say, 100 orders averaging 10 queens (is that a reasonable number? I have no way of knowing) in one month. To me, that would require more than 1000 nucs tied up just for the production of queens for that month, and at that point, the queen producer ceases to be "micro" by the way I would define it.

    On the other hand, if enough small scale producers start marketing their queens, perhaps many "micro-breeders" will be able to provide the same numbers as the larger queen producers. Think enough capable and willing small-scale producers are out there?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,883

    Default

    I think you raise an important point, Kieck,

    I'm not sure myself what the upside potential is, and I doubt if anyone is ready to quit their day job to micro-breed queens. In my mind, as I resonate with this terminology, a micro-breeder is local, raising local queens to local beekeepers. From my perspective, it's a small, regionalized endeavor, probably not even involving mail-order. I think I would be my own best customer.

    In the beer industry, they say the "big boys" spill more beer on the floor in one day than the micro-brewers produce all year. I'm not sure that's correct, but the idea is the micro-brewer is no threat and doesn't even plan on competing on such a large scale. I doubt if the micro-breeder of queens is going to put any quality, large-scale queen breeder out of business.

    And I would also imagine the micro-breeder isn't adverse to ordering in some quality genetics from the larger breeders. So in reality, micro-breeders are micro-producers, but the alliteration with brewer/breeder seems to stick better.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO

    http://www.25hives.homestead.com
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,081

    Default

    Kieck,
    I think the micro-breeder will make impacts and gains in the years ahead.

    One of the traditional problems that breeders had outside the deep south and west coast had was the ability to produce, market, and profit from their efforts.

    Several things have come about in the past 10 or so years. One has been those industry leaders such as Kirk Webster and others who have shown that overwintering nucs can be done in the north.

    The other is the use of Russian and carniolan bee lines that make overwintering of nucs possible. Some of the practices are just not manageable with prolific non-stop Italian lines.

    But its also an educational drive that will build the micro-breeder business base, at least in the northern part of the country.

    The days of going into winter with what you need or project as needed for next year, and coming out in spring with some loss, and then jumping onto the package and early queen bandwagon needs to be thought out. And splitting the strongest hives preflow and damaging your honey crop is also a thing to consider not doing.

    I think educating beekeepers in the north about building up their numbers after the flow, going into winter with a surplus of hives, and working what you come out of winter rewards the beekeeper in so many ways.

    Some benefits include:
    *You don't split your hives and damage your honey production.
    *You get better queens later in the spring.
    *You split your hives and build nucs at a time when these management tasks can be used as a mite control IPM as well. (Brood breaks/artificial swarming)
    *You can purchase regional/local stock.

    Yes, there will always be the package business and mass produced queens that will fill a void in the business. But for any micro-breeder, especially in the north, the business demand is beyond production. And overwintered nucs for many smaller operation is a real product that many are willing to choose.

    I lose some business for those who feel the earth will stop rotating if they don't have bees the first of April. And so the packages will continue. But I have many people, and clubs are starting to band together, in supporting the micro-breeder, northern breeders, and other local/region produced products.

    I see a change in beekeepers attitude, and an understanding from beekeepers who are willing to wait for a northern raised queen, or a nuc that may be ready a little later than traditional package delivery times.

    I don't see micro-breeders keeping up with demand either. But what a great place to be as a micro-breeder.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,069

    Default

    >>I lose some business for those who feel the earth will stop rotating if they don't have bees the first of April.

    Agree. I've also seen some of this. It seems to be alot of new beekeepers who are desperate to get bees and don't understand the difference between quality nucs/queens vs those pushed out in quantity.

    I think that the overwintered nucs will fill this role if/when people begin to understand that a QUALITY queen raised in the fall and overwintered is often a better option than a current year early April queen that is untested.

    Obviously that may not hold true for every queen produced but you get the point.

    I plan on wintering nucs next season with the purpose of offering them as nucs in Spring of 2009. I think Kirk Webster has the right idea... Now we just need to help buyers understand the benefits.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  20. #20

    Default nuc and queens

    well I found that doing lot less and doing lot better pays off in long run. I built up my operation doing it small but better also supplying the market with what they need ie small cell or selling mediums even shipping where the big guys wont.
    that's my opion for what it is worth.
    Don

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads