What is the really critical mating period?
If you keep track of the weather during the mating period where do you draw the line between good enough weather and not good enough?
In a perfect situation there would be perfect weather every day between planting a cell and finding brood - giving virgin queens every opportunity to mate at their leisure. Those are the queens I want going into winter.
I'm starting to see that when you buy commercial queens it is probably best not to go for early delivery.
I'm also starting to picture the crappy side of being a queen producer - customers crying for early delivery, and then it rains most of the time for a week.
Do you ship queens that might be poorly mated and make the customers happy for now - or do you pinch a weeks pay, make those people mad, and set your schedule back?
You guys who can manage all that and keep your reputations intact sure have my respect.