Re: Commercial queen survival
I raise all my own queen normally but have brought in other queens trying to diversify. I have kept detailed records, all queens are marked etc. I can see why commercial beeks are having to requeen 3 times a year. the first post is about what I would say is average for bought queens from a queen breeder. Out of 10 queens, two will not be accepted, four to five will be superseded, my average would normally be one to two queens making it to the following year. So this past summer I decided to forgo queen breeders and ordered 10 queens from a commercial honey producer. out of 10 queens, two were not accepted, one was killed(my fault, trying to requeen a nasty hive), two swarmed late and went queenless, as of late this fall had 5 out of 10 still marked in the hives, will see how they look in the spring, two have considerable spotting on the hives at this point. These queens were not banked at the breeders location and put in the nucs within hours. I placed all the nucs in one location, also put a nuc started with a queen cell from one of my breeders in the same yard. so my nuc was considerably behind the purchased queens to start, also a brand new yard so not sure how good the yard is. I ended up having to feed the purchased queens, they were fairly gentle, calm, but didn't build up as fast as my bees do, will see how they overwinter and build up in the spring. I consistently have queens that I raise making it to a third year if they are good enough that I don't replace them, have never had a purchased queen make it through the second year without swarming. I always "assumed" that the problem was lack of drones, but a year or so someone posted some pictures on beesource that they took while at a queen breeders site. One thing that impressed me not, was when the breeder held up his batch of queen cells, if it was me I would hold up the best batch I had, what he held up was not impressive at all, less than 2/3 of the cells were capped and not what I would call quality cells. there were some posts recently here of beeks holding up there cells pictures and the quality was far better than provided by the queen breeders.
I realize that there job is to mass produce a product. So I went back through many of the magazines and looked at all the articles about queen breeders and found that the cells they show match the "lower quality" cells seen in the thread. So I would have to conclude that the starters they are using don't have enough of the proper age bees to start and finish the cells. That's why they get supersced so often and don't make it past the first year without swarming. Just my 2 cents, I have 10 queens on order for May 10, so I never do give up trying
mike syracuse ny
I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon