Re: Does shipping queens affect their performance?
Shipping has a significant impact on queen egg laying life. Package bees are shipped from Australia and New Zealand which are 20 hours flying time away. Mated queens are flown in from Kona Island and California which are some 4-7 flying hours away. My understanding is that too high a temp is the most damaging to the sperm.
We have a short season to raise queens, maybe 10 weeks. Spring splits need to be made before locally mated queens are available.
There is a significant number of imported queens that don't last the first season and are being superceded. The Canadian Bee Diagnostic Lab has been sampling and testing queens and are confirming the diminished viable sperm.
Hopefully transportation and handling of queens can be improved to improve the quality of imported queens.
It takes extra stores to winter NUCs made up in the summer, however this may be our best alternative for having well mated local queens to use in production hives.
If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!