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.
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Henry David Thoreau, Mark B