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 - NW Alabama, 46 years, 24 colonies, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest