Looking for new breeder queen stock to try
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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    I am always looking for new breeder queen stock to try.

    I've purchased queens from some reputable apiaries over the past few years and have been pretty disappointed with their performance, temperament, disease resistance, etc.
    Anyone who has suggestions for superior lines that are NORTHERN acclimated please let me know. I am 3 hours from the Canadian border and ship queens to cold climate states like Alaska and Minnesota, etc.
    I am looking for your ACTUAL experience with these lines and you reason for liking them, disliking them, and a short description of your climate and what you produce with them. Not just looking for seasonal performance, but self sustainability and overall health, vigor and 'intelligence'.


    Fancy names, important sounding farms/Universities and speculation is not what I am looking for.

    No Italians, no Pol-Lines, no pure VSH, no queens from states with Africanized genetics.

    They do not have to be inseminated queens, but do have to be reared in well controlled mating yards, reared without antibiotics.

    You can PM me if you'd prefer not to mention Apiaries / beekeepers by name on the public format.
    Thank you in advance!

    P5030644.jpg
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Tough question.... the first that popped into my head was NWC, I have no experience with them though, but I've heard good things about them from Multiple sources. Second choice that pops into mind, that I do have some experience with is Michael Palmer's stocks. The ones I have are darker bees, I did have one daughter where the hive looked pure carni, probably mated with NWC drones. They were unfortunately susceptible to having the top blow off last winter during our torrential rains and 60mph gusts on a few occasions.... Obviously winter hearty and do display flow frugality in terms of brood rearing. WSU bees, were very decent as well, they do offer some old world breeders, no claims of VSH etc... but the ones I tried out a few years ago were decent bees and were just their run of the mill queens you can order, and I think you can specify if you want more carniolan etc... as well, also have Caucasians, did not see much mite resistance but some daughters showed some potential perhaps. I hear good things about the Purdue Ankle biters but with my limited experience they've been the worse this year as far as mites and were swarmy. I did get F1's so perhaps where you get them from matters but a lot of people seem to like them and they are on the darker spectrum of bees. I have my second VP Carni VSH breeder in her second year, daughters have been very good bees as well as the breeder. First bees working in the morning, good brooding habits, nice wax production. Joe Latshaw has some queens available, I would give a couple a try. Those are all the non Italians I have experience with from non-AHB states. Of course the trick is to see how well they combine with your stocks or if you get good hybridization and gene complementation. Kind of brings back to a discussion point on my thread in the queen sub forum on why I bring in so many other stocks.... well this is one reason, so I can actually look at them and see performance on what's out there firsthand... but I digress.
    Last edited by JRG13; 09-04-2017 at 03:51 PM.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    Anyone who has suggestions for superior lines that are NORTHERN acclimated please let me know.
    Maryann Frazier at Penn State did a study a few years back comparing overwintering abilities of "proven" Northern stock to "proven" Southern stock. She presented on it at EAS this year. Northern stock included Mike Palmer's along with someone else that I can't remember. Southern stock included Weaver stock and Miksa's stock. State College, PA isn't exactly at the north pole, but she still expected to see the Northern stock overwinter better overall.

    Her expectations were wrong. There was no correlation between North/South heritage and overwintering ability. There was some correlation between land use (some was ag, some was mixed use). The actual correlating factor was weight of the hive going into winter. Larger weight, regardless of heritage, always performed better.

    You may be limiting your search by choosing only to go for "NORTHERN" stock.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post

    You may be limiting your search by choosing only to go for "NORTHERN" stock.
    Northern Acclimated, actually.

    My interpretation of that is a strain that will brood down and withstand several months of inactivity without starving or large numbers perishing before late spring foraging weather is available. Build up and store feed quickly in a short season climate with limited flow availability.

    That is what I have now and want to establish a new line or two in my other yards for eventual incorporation with my current stock to keep my lines from loosing the hybrid vigor I have enjoyed the last several years. It will take a couple years to evaluate the new lines and I want to have the work done and ready well before I need it.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    From my experience with the local carnis here, once the drones genetic is mixed up with the
    local bees then the offspring is totally different. I have often mentioned here about compatible
    bees. Bees that are not compatible with my local bees will not make it. The hardest part is to sourced
    the compatible bees with yours. If you are lucky you will find some that are a perfect match!
    Even with our recommendation you still have to sort them out and give them a fair evaluation first.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    I am always looking for new breeder queen stock to try.

    I've purchased queens from some reputable apiaries over the past few years and have been pretty disappointed with their performance, temperament, disease resistance, etc.
    Anyone who has suggestions for superior lines that are NORTHERN acclimated please let me know. I am 3 hours from the Canadian border and ship queens to cold climate states like Alaska and Minnesota, etc.
    I am looking for your ACTUAL experience with these lines and you reason for liking them, disliking them, and a short description of your climate and what you produce with them. Not just looking for seasonal performance, but self sustainability and overall health, vigor and 'intelligence'.


    Fancy names, important sounding farms/Universities and speculation is not what I am looking for.

    No Italians, no Pol-Lines, no pure VSH, no queens from states with Africanized genetics.

    They do not have to be inseminated queens, but do have to be reared in well controlled mating yards, reared without antibiotics.

    You can PM me if you'd prefer not to mention Apiaries / beekeepers by name on the public format.
    Thank you in advance!

    P5030644.jpg
    I know already talked to Lauri about them on facebook, but here is my suggestion.

    Olympic Wilderness Apiaries - http://wildernessbees.com

    They do well in cold/wet areas for sure. Low mite counties, and I couldnt manage to kill them from neglect during our bad weather last winter. Very busy, but very great owners. Love their facility, their helpfulness and the their lines. Russian, VSH, and ferals from the remote areas up here on the Olympic Peninsula.

    Old Sol - http://oldsolbees.com/ another PNW favorite, my first year with their stock.

    WSU - bees.wsu.edu/breeding-program/queens/ Also evaluating this stock for the first time this year. I'm not certain about their mite handling abilities.

    I also picked up some from PeelBeeCo, and VP Queens that I'm evaluating.

    So far OWA is my favorite, but I'm a tad bias possibly.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    N
    My interpretation of that is a strain that will brood down and withstand several months of inactivity without starving or large numbers perishing before late spring foraging weather is available. Build up and store feed quickly in a short season climate with limited flow availability.
    As to the first point, that is exactly what Frazier thought she'd find when she compared northern and southern ACCLIMATED genetics. Only she was wrong. Being northern acclimated didn't have anything to do with their overwintering ability. Southern acclimated genetics overwintered just as well (meaning they had several months of inactivity, didn't starve, and made it into spring with good populations) as northern acclimated genetics.

    As to the second point, that has nothing to do with whether you're northern or southern genetics. In actuality, the south often experiences shorter bloom periods than the north.

    But draw whatever conclusions you like.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    How many isolated outyards do you think you'll be able to run? Is your plan to see how individual colonies do over a few years time with your management and then raise queens from those colonies that do well? How about your drone management plans for mating those virgins? Following with great interest.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    As to the first point, that is exactly what Frazier thought she'd find when she compared northern and southern ACCLIMATED genetics. Only she was wrong. Being northern acclimated didn't have anything to do with their overwintering ability. Southern acclimated genetics overwintered just as well (meaning they had several months of inactivity, didn't starve, and made it into spring with good populations) as northern acclimated genetics.
    Which is why I've gone back to Italians, JMO

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Gardner's Spell Bee Co. has given me some of the best in my yard. I think they're a Carni/Italian mix. I had only one hive that was more aggressive than I wanted, but still nowhere near Africanized. Mike (I think) gave a presentation to a New Jersey club thats on YouTube about their practices.

    Sorry, but I've given up on acclimatization. Bees respond to nectar flows, environmental conditions, and management. Our winters get down around 0 and teens for extended periods, and I've had NWCs from CA do well here, as well as Gardner's Georgia bees do just as well.

    The "acclimatized" bees in my yard are of Italian descent, mean, defensive, unpleasant to work, as hardy as can be, and barely productive. They've survived a TF experiment, long cold winters, summer dearths, neglect, and all my other mistakes. No wonder they hate me.

    Good luck!
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    "No wonder they hate me."

    Very well put. Can they stand up to the ants on top of an ant hill too? My carnis here can do that.
    A bit aggressive as everything you described left in an open field all neglected while fighting off the carpenter ants too. They are not the Italians I keep though. I have the gentle Cordovan bees. Local carnis are hardier than that.
    Last edited by beepro; 09-06-2017 at 02:56 PM.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Lauri,

    Perhaps it would make sense for you to tell us who you've tried already? Maybe even include the problem you had with them?

    I'm certain you know this already but you can't buy just one breeder queen and expect her to be your silver bullet. You'll get far better results by buying a group of them from a breeder. Make your F1s from each breeder and evaluate from there. I'm sure you'll find one that meets your needs but it may take longer than you'd like.

    Don't forget that the current stock in your apiary and/or the surrounding apiaries will play a significant part in the quality of your open mated F1s.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Does breeder queen count as one i use to breed from for my apiary?

    I've got a tiger babe that is in her 3rd year here and she has gone through TOUGH winters... always wintered outside buried in snow almost into the negatives at times in a double deep configuration. Confinement is extended, especially comparatively to your locale.

    I haven't kept track of her traits in detail, but i do know she's something to shake a stick at considering she's the only queen that's made it this long here. She's got an impressive buildup and in the late spring its wall to wall brooding.

    Dunno if it interests you at all. If so, i wouldn't be able to do anything with her until next spring anyways.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Your basic stock is derived from Carniolans obtained from Glenn crossed to local feral survivors from your area. This suggests NWC as a good entry point, however, they probably won't give much hybrid vigor.

    Mike Palmer's genetics derive from Carniolan and Buckfast. I second the suggestion to get some queens from him. They are winter adapted and have the other traits described.

    My personal suggestion is to get some Buckfast from Ferguson in Canada. If you order them now, they should be delivered next June. They are adapted to northern climates, will mix fairly well with the genetics you already have, and have been selected for hygienic behavior which helps quite a bit with disease resistance. The negatives are that they often are a tad aggressive when crossed to other lines and they are not very resistant to varroa. The aggression can be toned down by 2 generations of selection. Otherwise, they are superb honey gathering bees.

    The only other suggestion I can make is to get some queens from a source that has bred specifically for mite resistance. You probably have an idea of the suppliers who have done this type selection.


    If I were you, I would probably get a few NWC, Palmer, and Buckfast queens and set them up in separate apiaries until you see how they perform.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by Knisely View Post
    How many isolated outyards do you think you'll be able to run?
    I have three now, but have others at my disposal if I need them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knisely View Post
    Is your plan to see how individual colonies do over a few years time with your management and then raise queens from those colonies that do well?
    Yup! I've found it takes at least two full seasons to get a more complete idea about their traits.

    Three or four years of evaluation would be better. What you need to see is a good variety of weather and extreme, difficult conditions thrown in so you can see how they handle it & compare. Getting poor specimens or the wrong genetics for your beginning stock can burn up a few years of your time if you put too much stock in them too soon. I've gained ground with the introduction of other lines, but it's been slow and many get weeded out. Some pretty quickly, some I cull after giving them all the chances in the world.

    Luckily, the neat thing about queen rearing is, I can get a few generations in one year and overwinter the lot. Almost gives me a look into the future and cuts the evaluation time down significantly, but it still takes years to notice some of the more subtle particulars though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knisely View Post
    How about your drone management plans for mating those virgins? Following with great interest.
    That is pretty easy. In addition to placing a few drone mother colonies here and there, In the few years I've been selling nucs to keep my numbers manageable, Many have gone to neighbors that are within the range of my mating yards. They have been successful and have split & expanded so there are many small yards with about 10 hives or so all with my stock. Any neighbors I have that buy southern imported nucs, I hook them up with new queens. I have no large apiaries near me that have southern stock.

    My yard near Mt. Rainier at higher elevation is next to wilderness area that is not accessible to vehicles and is surrounded by a lake that is formed by direct run off from the Mt. While any feral status of bees is debatable, what naturally exists there had been in it's own for many years + drone mother colonies I introduce. It's not an island, but it's pretty good.


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    Last edited by Lauri; 09-06-2017 at 12:59 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Your basic stock is derived from Carniolans obtained from Glenn crossed to local feral survivors from your area. This suggests NWC as a good entry point, however, they probably won't give much hybrid vigor.

    Mike Palmer's genetics derive from Carniolan and Buckfast. I second the suggestion to get some queens from him. They are winter adapted and have the other traits described.

    My personal suggestion is to get some Buckfast from Ferguson in Canada. If you order them now, they should be delivered next June. They are adapted to northern climates, will mix fairly well with the genetics you already have, and have been selected for hygienic behavior which helps quite a bit with disease resistance. The negatives are that they often are a tad aggressive when crossed to other lines and they are not very resistant to varroa. The aggression can be toned down by 2 generations of selection. Otherwise, they are superb honey gathering bees.

    The only other suggestion I can make is to get some queens from a source that has bred specifically for mite resistance. You probably have an idea of the suppliers who have done this type selection.


    If I were you, I would probably get a few NWC, Palmer, and Buckfast queens and set them up in separate apiaries until you see how they perform.
    We think alike.
    I have my order with Mike in already and contacted Bill earlier this year
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by PealBeeCo View Post
    Lauri,

    Perhaps it would make sense for you to tell us who you've tried already? Maybe even include the problem you had with them?
    Not going to do that.

    It all depends on your perspective and what you are looking for out of your stock. What I don't want in mine my may be what someone else is looking for.
    Here is what I DON'T want:

    -Brooding up with no sensitivity to weather & natural feed source availability. I don't do pollination services and nether do my customers. Late winter survival and honey production is more important than early population out of season. When I mentioned "intelligence" I was referring in a broad way to multi seasonal self preservation.
    When you see different lines side by side and in enough numbers your conclusions are usually pretty accurate, it is amazing the differences in lines, especially when weather is extreme. It's pretty easy to choose the winners for your climate and needs. What I would likely discard as unsuitable might be good for someone else in a different climate with different needs.

    -Such high mite sensitivity they uncap brood endlessly, to the detriment of population. The pure VSH I tried from two different sources were almost bazaar in nature and were so bad at honey production I couldn't bring myself spend any more time on them.

    What I have now is a good balance of VSH , Biting, other mite controlling type traits and productiveness.

    -Temperament. It needs to be reasonable & workable. Many of my customers are beginners and I rather enjoy wearing shorts in the hot summer weather while I work. When I shake bees or make up mating nucs, I want them to stay on the frames, not take to the air and fly back to the old hive (or all over me). Calm nature makes any work easier. I (we) can tolerate bees that are more demanding of respectful, or careful handling, but not testy or downright nasty.

    -Disease resistance. I don't use antibiotics and won't. I just don't need it with my current stock.

    EFB & chalk brood is a real pain. Poor genetics or dependency on meds. One of the reason's I don't collect swarms anymore, and haven't for a few years. Likely from back yard hives when collected near populated areas. Without the meds they apparently are dependent on, and they are usually dead or near dead by the end of the summer or certainly by spring with the same management as my other hives. Disease resistance is a big factor.

    -I don't want to produce Light colors. I know some will scoff at this, but I prefer the dark or more interesting colors, but more importantly, my customers usually want darks. That's what the demand is and that's what I try to produce with as much consistency as possible.

    14021570_1217208118310730_4817558075473738049_n.jpg

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    - % of Dud production. I don't get it now, don't want it.
    That's why I want new lines in the works in their own yards. If I feel I'm getting a genetic bottle neck at some point, I want tried and true varieties to eventually bring in to my main mating yard. Because I know it is risky, I want to see it with my own eyes before I dedicate my time to production. I don't want to change my stock, I want to enhance it. I certainly don't want to harm it.
    Last edited by Lauri; 09-06-2017 at 01:09 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    What I have now is a good balance of VSH , Biting, other mite controlling traits and productiveness.
    I'd be interested to know more about how you came to this conclusion.

    How you know you have a good balance of VSH. Are you genetically testing? Or is it more observational based on a certain percentage of bald-brood? Are you looking at mite drops to count biting? What "other mite controlling traits" are you talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    I don't use antibiotics and won't. I just don't need it with my current stock. . . EFB & chalk brood is a real pain. One of the reason's I don't collect swarms anymore, and haven't for a few years. Likely from back yard hives when collected near populated areas. Without the meds they apparently are dependent on . . .
    I wasn't aware of any meds that Chalkbrood responds to. It's a fungus. Not a bacterial infection (so antibiotics won't do anything to it). EFBs a different story. I've never treated for it, and it just goes away with requeening and a nectar flow. Others throw antibiotics at the hive. To each their own.

    If there are some meds out there that work for Chalkbrood, please let me know. Wouldn't use them personally, but just curious.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Hey, I'm just looking for good quality potential breeder stock, not looking to defend or explain in detail every statement I make.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Looking for new breeder queen stock to try

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    Hey, I'm just looking for good quality potential breeder stock, not looking to defend or explain in detail every statement I make.
    With all the fancy attributes claimed and labels given to bees these days it's hard for many to grasp the concept of
    plain and simple "good bees".

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