Re: What is the really critical mating period?
In my operation I use the most queens during the spring of the year, while away from home, in SC. There are many years, in the past 15, that I couldn't afford to buy queens. So, more often than not, my splits and nucs made their own queens. When I did have some money to spend on queens I never had alot, so I bought as many as I could at as low a price as I could possibly find. What was most important to me was having as many live colonies as I could. And, if they were headed by good queens, that was less important than if they were headed by live queens.
"Beekeeping. It's a journey, not a destination." Mark Berninghausen