Re: Raising Queens in the Southwest US
Most of us where I am raise queens, at least for our own use. I could never sell them as my season for raising them is too short. I am 8000' up and it is pretty cold, but I also run hives in the desert at 3000'.
Just breed for good traits. Don't breed from runny or mean bees. African genes are pretty inescapable in most areas for many reasons, not just the Brazilian influence. Where the bees come from is not as big an issue as the traits you propagate.
I don't like to import bees from out of state - and on the same token, I don't like shipping our bees to other places. We need locally adapted varieties. We won't get that unless we breed from what we have on hand. My queens are bred mostly from bees that I have gotten from high elevation. Not because African genetics doesn't survive the cold, because it most assuredly DOES survive cold, but because for whatever reason they do not like the wet you find above the pines in the mountains and are quite rare up there. I don't usually breed from any bees I get from the desert flats. They are usually too runny and or mean. the mean is actually pretty rare around here, but you do see them, they are mostly runny and a little un-predictable - sort of like a longhorn from the old west days.
When raising queens amongst the local stock, usually the bad traits show up after the 2nd generation, if they are going to.
NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.