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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    530

    Default Commercial queen survival

    Last year I bought 15 queens from a queen breeder. When the queens came they looked fine. We got them mid May. They were introduced into 10 production hives and 5 nucs. The queens were released by the workers eating the candy plug. Two were killed upon release. Three or four were superceded within two weeks. The queens that started laying were laying brood patches that looked like winter brood patches. None of the queens were laying patches that would support the hive population. It took the ones not superceded 6 weeks to lay a respectable patch of brood. Except for 3 all had been superceded by July 1. These queens were replaced by our own queens, and they have done well, except for two that were superceded.
    Lets discuss commercial queen survival. I would like to know how the rest of you have faired with your boughten queens. I have been told that what I experienced is not too far off normal, but I have also talked to beekeepers that have had nearly 100% survival.
    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,043

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    Do you know if they were all new queens or ones that were around for awhile?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    I order more than 20 queens. About 18 were duds
    Order 20 from some one else and there seam to be ok

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,585

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    Of course it will vary from breeder to breeder and year to year.


    It's been a long time since I bought production queens, but now you know why I began raising my own. Buy a hundred queens, half are junk. I figured I could do that well...make half junk. At least I wouldn't have to pay for it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,264

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    Two years ago I got great queens, last years purchased queens were duds and 15 I paid for were never even shipped to me! It seems to be a crap shoot. I am trying a new supplier and will see how that goes. I think I need to figure out how to raise my own. Trouble is, my wintered colonies usually need split before they split themselves!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    I had some bad luck buying queens last year as well but just to give credit where it is due;

    I bought 20 queens from Bob Harvey here on BeeSource last August 1st and they were all great. Big, plump, and almost all were laying on a 4 day check. I did pay the UPS overnight fee because I suspect that multi day transit adversely effects the outcome, especially with the abuse of the Post Office.
    Bob states he doesn't bank queens, so they were in his hives one morning, and in my hives the following afternoon.

    I did recently take the plunge and ordered a variety of JzBz gadgets. Probably a lifetime supply for me, but I have a big box of stuff to play with!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,043

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    LOL MP. That makes sense though. You never know what you're going to get and what the bees you introduce them to think something else too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,410

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    My first fall I bought 3 queens from a breeder here in CA. I introduced them all to queenless nucs. I found one queen at the entrance dead a few days later but the other two seemed to get accepted. I ended up rolling the second queen and as for the third one, I combined it with the rolled queen hive and probably killed her too as it turned into a drone layer last spring.

    I have had better luck letting a nuc make its own queen, as long as I don't kill her!! Cant wait to start rearing my own grafted queens! Although I would really like a Sunkist queen!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
    Posts
    246

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    Two summers ago I ordered an Italian queen from California. I accidently killed the hive queen the last week or so in August. The hive queen was in an upper honey super. Shipping cost more than the queen. The Californian Italian queen bee arrived (Fed-X overnight) by noontime. I held off for a week with the Apiguard treatment-as the Californian beekeeper advised. Fortunately, we had an Indian summer and warmer weather extended well into October. That nothern Californian Italian queen saved my hive. I still have the bees.
    Last edited by linn; 01-27-2013 at 03:32 PM. Reason: grammer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I think I need to figure out how to raise my own. Trouble is, my wintered colonies usually need split before they split themselves!
    Vance you have the answer, OTS. Mel does just what you said, he splits w/old queen and notches for as many queens as he wants. Sells a lot of nucs as well. Thinks about it.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,922

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    on the subject of raising your own queens using mel's notching method, has anyone had experience cutting queen cells free from plastic foundation?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,597

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Burrup View Post
    Three or four were superceded within two weeks. The queens that started laying were laying brood patches that looked like winter brood patches. None of the queens were laying patches that would support the hive population. It took the ones not superceded 6 weeks to lay a respectable patch of brood. Except for 3 all had been superceded by July 1. These queens were replaced by our own queens, and they have done well, except for two that were superceded.
    Lets discuss commercial queen survival.
    Last year there were a few suppliers who had trouble with Nosema. These queens would lay terrible brood patterns if any at all and small patches at best. They were pinched off and replaced.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,922

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    yep, i beginning to be a firm believer in 'a queen's not proven until her colony proves her'.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    2,059

    Default 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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    2,059

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    here is an interesting post on bee-l
    http://community.lsoft.com/scripts/w...F=&S=&P=209359

    Shipping can also be hard on queens. I've seen shippers put queen cages
    in plastic bags to keep them from 'getting' loose, or dropping them into an
    unheated truck, or onto a radiator 'to help the bees keep warm'.

    You the customer can do something about this last variable. Buy a
    temperature data logger - it can be as cheap as a max/min recorder from Walmart or
    Radio Shack, or as sophisticated as a HOBO or comparable, continuous
    temperature data logger. SEND it to your queen provider, ask that it be
    included in the shipment of the queen(s) to you. When you get the queen(s),
    check to see if the temp ever got very cold or very hot. If so, contact the
    shipper, ask for them to pay for a replacement; and let the queen supplier
    know.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,622

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    Jerry knows his stuff.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,134

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    I purchased only 6 queens last year. Four were superceded within two weeks. I wonder what affect the strong varroa treatments and the deliterious affects on the sperm count of the drones in the hive....Maybe some queens today are poorly mated because of poor drones?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    I also wonder about fumagillin.

    Ramona

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,585

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    I also wonder about small hive beetle treatments in mating nucs

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,622

    Default Re: Commercial queen survival

    At the most recent AHPA convention Jeff Pettis gave the results of a study showing that Amitraz has been shown to have adverse affects on queen viability. I didn't personally hear his talk but was told it was pretty interesting.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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