Re: Package Bees from Georiga and Texas, have you had lots of problems.
Before we became migratory we used to rely on lots of southern packages and queens (mostly from Weavers BTW). I remember my dad complaining 30 years ago that queens just don't have the vitality that they used to (he started in the late 30's). Queen raisers have always struggled with the vagaries of weather but frankly the mass production techniques that have pretty much always been used aren't a very good way to get consistently high quality queens. How long were they allowed to lay? 2 days? 3 days? 7 days? It can make a big difference and when shipping schedules are tight.....well you get the picture. How big a drone population for how many virgins? Again, it can make a pretty big difference, maybe those drone hives just didn't come through the winter very well.. I don't say this in any way to knock the large queen producers just to point out some of the difficulties they face. The ones I personally know are quite dedicated to producing a quality product but when the phone is constantly ringing with anxious customers it's not an ideal situation.
With all that said, though, I think too often queen producers become the scapegoats for lots and lots of other problems from pesticides to varroa to a lack of forage. It's just a whole lot easier to blame someone rather than something.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney