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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Quoted from another thread...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    How are those warm climate queens doing for you now? Might want to think about requeening new packages and nucs next year with locally mated queens proven hardy for your specific climate..
    That's my advise for winter prep. It starts in the SPRING with getting the right genetics to head your hives. Find a local breeder in your area with a good program, or better yet, learn to raise a few of your own.

    Just sayin...

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe most of the commercials like Italians for their large populations for almond pollination use. After apples, many of these bees and queens are sold off for packages and nucs. But warm climate bred Italians are not the best for overwintering, especially in cold climate states. Many of these queens are also raised very early in spring when day length is still short and weather is unpredictable..it is due to public demand for early bees, not the fault of the producer.

    Do you know the quality of the queens overwintering in your hives right now?


    I have had great luck with the Carniolan hybrids for Northern climates. The dark bees do so much better in cold weather and winter well.
    I am not a big fan of straight carnies though. Too much messy comb, too much tendancy to swarm and can be a little testy.
    I love the hybrids with Carnie genetics in the background though.



    This is all just my opinion of course...based on my own observations and experience.

    Wish more people who believed this would post their experiences so I didnt feel so ALONE sometimes

    LOL Roland.. your sons watched it?? thats NO excuse for you to be capable of quoting from it!!!!
    I watched it too......

    My Italians were easily the largest group of bees I had.. as I stated in the earlier part of the thread.. still, I have to agree its probably partly my fault for not preparing them BETTER than I did my northern and local bees... but thats sort of my point I guess.. I shouldnt have to have the extra equipment/insulation etc stored for a few hives only..
    www.brokencrayoncrafts.com 8 yrs aiding 40+ hives 3 yrs personal. 40+ of my own now (T, TF Goal) Zone 5a

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    SS1 its not that I disagree with the Italians vs carniola at all... its that where your queen was hatched and breed doesn't matter. I have proven it for myself in my yards. Genetics seem to be a huge factor. timing of re-queen, huge. where they were hatched and breed, can't tell a lick.

    Unfortuntaly I find it very disturbing when people make (no one in particular) declarations based on total hearsay. I have been working on this for 3 seasons now. And the if "Local queens" were the answer, we would all be sitting tall. How many guys here raise local survivor queens?? 30 or better?? and are they doing better that the rest of the world? hardly....

    lets take Tim Ives for example, he swears by local queens, Great! glad they work. but if those queen genetics are the answer hes a fool. IF it were the answer to huge hives, he could sell queens at 200.00 a pop all season long. and there would be a waiting list....there is a lot more to it than just where your queen was raised.
    I have bought a lot of "hyped Locals" and found no better take or success rates than southern queens.
    By all means, raise and support lovcal queens and any mutts you like. just don't fool yourself and others into thinking you solved everything.

    And if you did solve everything, then riches shall pour in,

    My goal or hope is to just get you to look closer.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Deepsouth I am planning on catching swarms as well did you requeen your swarms or use the old queen? What type traps did you use?

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    gm, can you give me a link or two to the research that supports your position that, if I understand you correctly, where a queen is bred doesn't matter.

    As far as I can see, that would only be true if the queen were instrumentally inseminated. I've been wondering what you base your belief on, because everything I've read seems to tell me that local adaptation is important. For example, in the new ABJ, Larry Connor says "Successful, locally adapted queens and bees undoubtedly are the ones that have the right buildup rate for specific areas."

    Is he wrong? If so, what research contradicts his position?
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    I have ordered queens from another source, and I am going to try it again... and in talking to local people/beeks Ive been called a fool for trying.. I DO want to try, and I WILL.. It is just that at every turn I am seeing my original opinion of the bees I "had" and lost reinforced over and over again from some local sources I consider reliable... three of them I spoke with today reported EXACTLY the same results I had, and their sources were different than mine...
    as in all things beekeeping, that in itself does NOT make it fact..
    I just want to hear from others.. who will likely have more exp than myself with similar issues and hear their opinions and reasons..
    www.brokencrayoncrafts.com 8 yrs aiding 40+ hives 3 yrs personal. 40+ of my own now (T, TF Goal) Zone 5a

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Where a queen was bred matters much less than how a queen was bred and what genetics she carries. Steve Taber related the story of an evaluation of queens from numerous breeders by the USDA about 70 years ago. The long and short of it was that some queen breeders consistently produced a high percentage of very poor queens, but one particular queen breeder consistently produced phenomenally good queens. What was so unusual is that his queens headed colonies that produced surpluses in the 400 lb range compared to less than 100 pound averages for the poorest queens. They wanted very much to know why so they sent him some of the poorest queens from the other breeders and asked him to raise queens from them. He again sent them some of the best queens they had ever seen. What was different? It was not the genetics. It was not where they were raised, he happened to be a southern queen producer. They then studied his operation and found that he was taking steps to produce the highest quality larvae, producing queens only in very well fed starter and finisher colonies, letting them get well established when they started laying, and only shipping the very best queens while killing any that did not measure up to his standard. His operation was based on each individual step of queen production set to the optimum that is normally only seen when a colony is preparing to swarm.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Fusion - that is how I remember it being first reported. The good queen breeder made good queens from bad genes.
    Kind of like how the good beekeeper(not pointing any fingers) can adapt and make any kind of bee perform to it's best.


    Crazy Roland

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Where a queen was bred matters much less than how a queen was bred and what genetics she carries..
    I believe that, but how do you control the genetics of an open-mated queen without isolation and a lot of drone colonies? And even then, you can't be certain that an open-mated queen carries only the genetics you intend.

    It seems reasonable to me that if you are buying queens from a producer who does not have the advantages of isolation and the will and wherewithal to establish an adequate number of drones in that isolated area, you are better off acquiring queens from a breeder in an area that as closely as possible approximates the area you intend to keep your bees in.

    As a beginner, I can admit that I followed that advice poorly. My first hive was from a local nuc, bred by a hobbyist held in high esteem in the local beekeeping community, and I have to say that it outperformed every other colony I later acquired. My second colony was a package from Wolf Creek, supposedly a semi-treatment free source in TN, though the bees actually originated in Georgia. It did not do as well, and went through supercedures until going laying worker. I eventually requeened it with eggs from the first hive, and it is now among my most vigorous. My 3rd and 4th hives were sort-of nucs from South Carolina, hived in upstate NY. One did moderately well, the other did not build up and was brought back to FL in the fall. My other three colonies are a split queened with a Beeweaver queen, a split that queened itself from the original local hive, and a swarm I collected in NY and brought south for the winter. All seem to be doing moderately well.

    Still, none have yet expired, though I will not be surprised if most of them do. I just hope there will be enough bees in the spring so I don't have to buy more. I have to admit that the only purchase that I have no reservations about was the local one.

    I've read that Steve Taber story, and from it and other reading I ended up with the impression that many commercial queens are not raised in ways that maximize their potential. It makes me think that an ambitious beekeeper better learn to make his own queens as soon as possible.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    It makes me think that an ambitious beekeeper better learn to make his own queens as soon as possible.
    Unfortunately, most "ambitious beekeepers" don't do due diligence producing their own queens. mea culpa.

    With that said, over the years I have been able to produce some phenomenal queens that took a single frame of bees with brood into a 3 story power house with a few supers of surplus honey in one season. Queens with that potential epitomize the idea of high quality.

    http://apimo.dk/programs/special/Bet..._Jay_Smith.pdf
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    gm, can you give me a link or two to the research that supports your position that, if I understand you correctly, where a queen is bred doesn't matter.

    As far as I can see, that would only be true if the queen were instrumentally inseminated. I've been wondering what you base your belief on, because everything I've read seems to tell me that local adaptation is important. For example, in the new ABJ, Larry Connor says "Successful, locally adapted queens and bees undoubtedly are the ones that have the right buildup rate for specific areas."

    Is he wrong? If so, what research contradicts his position?
    All the research has been mine that I am aware of. Don't intend for it to be snotty, but I really don't care about most research. Unfortunatly we now live in a society where reality doesn't matter. what matter is what theory can I get a grant to support, or how can I sell more?

    I don't disagree at all with Larry's position. Hes right about that buildup rate. but that is a genatic or learned behavior, unrelated to where they are bred. Look at any other creature and you will see exactly the same thing. Long hair cattle raised in texas suffer because of long hair, not because they should have been born in Nova Scotia.

    I talked to a cpl leading researchers about my experiments, and got input on how to set up the trial. I still have a season to go, but 2 years in it is clear to me. Queens are highly varible. BUT our meddeling is huge. we take a package put it in an say april, and then in the fall complain about the mites. We then (shot at the NY study) say requeen 1/2 of them WHEN LOCAL QUEENS come in. probably around June. and then Marvel at the lower mite levels in fall...... fools..... the brood break had more to do with it then where the queen was from.

    We have become a nation of fools and followers. somebody says something that sounds smart and we follow blindly. never bothering to check the details. To be succesful we have to stop that madness, and actually do the work.
    So far there are darn few doing that. and those that do get blasted. Randy Oliver pointing out quite correctly that bees in the middle of Neonics are no worse off than bees in the wilds of NM.
    Global Warming alarm, when the data shows nothing, ( check the latest report from the EU) and yet say something the oppisite and your evil.
    The list goes on........
    But back to beekeeping.

    AI queens perform terribly in general. Their real point is to get genetic lines. I bought several from Glen's back when they were active. none ever really burned down the barn in my yard.
    I DO not intend whatsoever to bash local queens Larry is right they have the details (cluster and brood rearing traits) for that area. They may also be tiny honey producers and swarm, and mean... who knows until you own them.

    Even my research may be garbage to guys Like Solomon Parker. I track honey production as my Main goal, survivibility is second. Thats what matters to me. some guys just want bees. I think the number I hear this season was around 60lbs for his hives. He choses to leave a lot for the bees and take little. so he could care less about what matters to me. Thats fine.
    We all have to decide what matters to us and work that direction.



    And I would agree 1000% with the Taber story. Raising queens is not easy. and when the phone is ringing constantly with guys complaining there packages are late, your going to get faster poorer queens. I have been with the guys in the queen yards. most of the season at all of them its get the queens.... not get the great queens........
    Ask yorself this though, if you actually raise your own queens, how many do you really pinch? I bet the answer for 95% is ZERO.... we stick them in a hive just to see......

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    GMcharlie(good post) wrote;

    We then (shot at the NY study) say requeen 1/2 of them WHEN LOCAL QUEENS come in. probably around June. and then Marvel at the lower mite levels in fall...... fools..... the brood break had more to do with it then where the queen was from.

    And the quality of queen is June is not better than earlier? Chances are that June has some of the best conditions to raie the best queens.

    Yes, alot of blind bandwagon jumping going on.

    Crazy Roland

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    GMcharlie(good post) wrote;



    And the quality of queen is June is not better than earlier? Chances are that June has some of the best conditions to raie the best queens.

    Yes, alot of blind bandwagon jumping going on.

    Crazy Roland
    That may be true. but is a June NY queen and better or worse than a April GA queen?? (no real opinion just a thought)

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    I have Jay Smiths book Better Queens, so know what you are talking about.. he seemed keen on putting down grafting, but if taken slightly away from that context what he says is good when it comes to raising BETTER queens.. I can understand that how a queen was raised may affect her performance, but am having a bit of difficulty understanding the follow through...

    Define a poor queen... say.. a queen that was under nourished when developing?

    wait... Being slightly mal nourished wont affect DNA.. it will only affect the strength of her colony, her brood pattern, the amount of eggs she can lay etc.. it DOESNT affect DNA.. they offspring she did have are fully formed.. capable of flying, doing their jobs.. there are just not a LOT of them... Not as many as their should be, so they cannot overwinter....
    This is NOT what I am arguing...

    Were talking apples and oranges here... all of that was to get to this point basically... The bees I LOST PERSONALLY were BIG HEALTHY hives... WAY nicer hives than ANY of my other hives in size. I was THRILLED with them, and their performance.. They built up rapidly and produced HONEY in their first year. they clustered in a large group going into winter....
    and never moved a single inch from that exact spot.. Where they started was where they died...
    ALL of my other hives moved.
    ALL of the other hives wintered.
    ALL of the other hives were northern bred or local

    I have PROVEN it to myself and I have now seen correlating agreement from other beekeepers MUCH more prominent than myself. I know other local beekeepers who adamantly stand by the statements of north VS south... Local vs warm climate bees.
    NOW that I have been looking into it a little more, I also see some proof/ (CLAIMS) in different studies and research. Including some research that suggests local bees are better adapted to local pollens...
    I dont see a lot of correlation between selling northern queens and most of the research, some that could be considered a conflict of interest I would agree, but not all of it.
    So I have to think theres SOMETHING to it.. Is there anything recorded that shows Opposite of what Michael Bush linked? Or that shows not opposite, but an equality between north and south?
    Very interested!!!!!
    www.brokencrayoncrafts.com 8 yrs aiding 40+ hives 3 yrs personal. 40+ of my own now (T, TF Goal) Zone 5a

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    your Mixing apples and oranges. What I hope is that you an start to see them differently. and then make your choice

    Your queens produced huge great colonies because they were probably well bred, and Italians so they started out fantastic. built strong and went into winter with a lot of mites and a ton of bees.

    Had you gotten carniola you would probably not gotten any surplus, and you would have thought your hives were small. Mite load would probably been the same. but they would have probably wintered better due to smaller cluster.

    How well they were bred, and raised is a second and separate issue. Fantastic Italians and fantastic Russians will perform differently. Poorly mated queens of either race will perform similar but at a lower level. Poorly breed Italians may look like a Russian hive, but there not.


    Big hives in winter is more your survivbility issue than where the queen was born or raised.


    What IRKS me the most is the link about northern requeen hives did the best. 90% better. the numbers they use tell me that the sample was tiny. I have found nothing on the real methodology, and PROMINATLY displayed in all of them is the link to SARE grant money.... do you know where that funding comes from?? I do...
    That study is one of the worst. TOTAL meaningless garbage. What the upshot if it really is buy a package from us at retail cause we got nothing until after pollination is over, then come back and buy another queen....
    To make that study accurate they need to also requeen hives with southern queens at the same time in June


    Do you realize that TAMIFLU is one of the biggest releasers of news articles on the cold and flue season???


    You do also realize that all 3 links are for the same study???
    Last edited by gmcharlie; 12-07-2013 at 08:48 AM.

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    SS1, you need to look at signaling and behavior pheromones as well which are typically lower in less than ideally raised queens. We don't understand exactly everything involved but you can see hints in products that will 'boost' brood production etc... With the right queen sometimes, even runny, drippy, defensive bees all of a sudden become a nice gentle productive hive before her brood ever takes over.

    I personally don't agree with the southern vs northern notions, not to say there's no merit to it. Behaviors are controlled by genetics but also greatly influenced by environment. Too many people get stuck on the "local" phenomenon as well. It should be used as part of your toolbox to produce productive bees but I wouldn't solely rely on it. Also, you have to look at the hybrid vigor introduced when progeny from bought queens mate with local drones, not to say local genes are better, but you've now created new diversity and an F1 hybrid.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    I seem to remember a video of Tom Seeley talking about a study in which the number of drones that mated with a queen was the determining factor in how well the queen and her colony did. In other words, a queen that was inseminated with the semen of 30 drones did much better than one which had gotten the semen of 15 drones. (They got the same amount of semen; the difference was in the variety of drones that produced it.)

    It begins to sound to me that bees have almost always relied on hybrid vigor as an evolutionary tactic.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    It was asked:

    but is a June NY queen and better or worse than a April GA queen?? (no real opinion just a thought)

    The June NY home grown queen has the POTENTIAL to be raised with better nutrition and mating than an April commercially prepared queen with limited drones.

    Yes, I saw the study where it was the number of different fathers that increased the vigor in a hive.

    Crazy Roland

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Interesting stuff!
    I knew two of the links were for the same research/test, didnt realize the third one was.

    So without anyone else jumping on the local/northern bandwagon.. I will have to set it aside for a year or four and continue as I have already started.. I'll see how these southern queens match up next winter as I intend to re queen 5 hives with them this spring.. that should allow me to compare at least this particular stock with the other hives I have going into next winter and see how they survive.. If they do.. I'll have to eat my hat and my words.. but I am OK with that!!
    www.brokencrayoncrafts.com 8 yrs aiding 40+ hives 3 yrs personal. 40+ of my own now (T, TF Goal) Zone 5a

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    I also agree that why local is important. Good genetics are darn good genetics. Give me 5 proven good queens from any state over an unproven one in my home state.

    I won't waste my money on some run of the mill package queen. Been there done that for several years and never again.

    I bought good resistant stock and I raise stock that works but I still occasionally buy stock from guys I "trust" to have queens worthy to add to what is already working for me.

    No there is no mite immune bee. I doubt the Africanized bees survive if they didn't swarm so much. (That's one reason why I split.)

    Still we want the toughest fighters we can get. Every bit helps. This is not a boxing match, it is a war. Until both the mite and the bee can coexist they are here to stay and beekeepers owe it to themselves and to future beekeepers to buy tougher stock then the run of the mill Italian and to leave unnatural killing methods out of it.

    We can't be breeding for tougher mites while we hope the bees develop more resistance to the mite.

    Some people still breed queens for honey production over survival qualities and I think that is just selfish to the industry as a whole.

    Wherever it's from get good stock. Learn how to help your bees survive using their behavior (splits) (brood breaks) and use natural things (that bees would collect from flowers) like essential oils to helps bolster the bees.

    There is no silver bullet. We are intelligent and can learn from those who are successful. Most every consistently successful guy raises his own bees. Ever since I did I have been more successful each year.

    Treatment free beekeeping is not as simple but done correctly you can keep bees with no more losses than going the chemical route and not have as much money wrapped up into them.

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    I was laying here thinking this morning and it dawned on me the perfect example. I have a local beekeper here about 5 miles down the road. Great guy. interesting beekeeper. He runs about 30 hives. ALL of his are local swarms. He does nothing else. PERIOD. hes not a great beekeeper, but he is a perfect evidence of the queen fallacy. Here is a guy who uses nothing but feral survivor queens, he takes little to no honey most season (gets busy and skips it) and his losses run between 50 and 100% 2 years ago he lost everything. Last year he had 6 out of 38 survive the winter. He uses no Chems or anything but he does feed sugar water to new swarms.

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