How long do your II breeder queens last? I have complete mixed results with breeder queens. You either A.) order them in the fall to take the risk of them dying in the winter or being superseded as soon as you begin to graft in the spring B.) Get them in the late spring-early summer when weeks of grafting season have been lost C.) or on a rare occasion they just keep on laying year after year like any other naturally mated queen would. I have one II breeder in her 3rd year others don't last 6 months when kept in the best of circumstances.
I have purchased breeder queens from 4 different reputable breeders. Last year I had 11 II breeders on the breeder queen stand. I lost a few to winter, no big deal I expected it. Now I am dealing with supersedures even though I keep them in a 5 frame nuc, queen laying on maximum of 3 combs and I check them every week for supersedure cells when I am grafting, but have still lost several checking them every 7 days. Really just looking for advice or feedback, I'm not out to harm the reputation of any II breeders, all of the daughters I have produced from the 4 different sources have been excellent quality stock and every breeder has been a pleasure to deal with. They really have put the time and effort into more productive/hygenic queens, it has been evident in my hives. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around spending thousands on breeder queens every year only to have them tank out. I'm really considering just going through 200+ colonies and picking the best 4 every spring for grafting. I do that anyway for genetic diversity in the production yards and those selected breeders are housed and treated exactly like the II breeders only without the problems. Wasn't there a study done once that said II breeders should last as long as regular mated queens? Advice or comments appreciated. I'm beside myself at the moment, if you couldn't tell.