queens for upper midwest
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  1. #1
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    Nov 2012
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    Rosholt, WI USA
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    17

    Default queens for upper midwest

    What queens seem to work the best in our cold winters? I have been keeping bees for 10 yrs now and lately just cannot get them to survive over winter. When I started they were fine, but the people I used to get them from no longer sell pkgs. I have had mostly Italian, and last year tried Carni. They were amazing thru the summer, really building up quickly and producing lots of honey. I only had 4 hives last year and they all died. They were dry, had honey, no mice and a sugar block on top just in case. 2 hives were still alive in early Feb but now all are dead. Anyone have better luck with a certain queen type? What about the Saskatraz? Has anyone tried them? Thanks.
    Pat

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  3. #2
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    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default

    I hate to be the one to ask, but what did you do for varroa mites?

  4. #3
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    Aug 2011
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    Clinton, Michigan, USA
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    443

    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat in WI View Post
    What queens seem to work the best in our cold winters? I have been keeping bees for 10 yrs now and lately just cannot get them to survive over winter. When I started they were fine, but the people I used to get them from no longer sell pkgs. I have had mostly Italian, and last year tried Carni. They were amazing thru the summer, really building up quickly and producing lots of honey. I only had 4 hives last year and they all died. They were dry, had honey, no mice and a sugar block on top just in case. 2 hives were still alive in early Feb but now all are dead. Anyone have better luck with a certain queen type? What about the Saskatraz? Has anyone tried them? Thanks.
    Pat
    In theory Saskatraz has potential but reality is you stand chance to get a california hybrid. What i've seen of them so far is ok, not necessarily great or horrible. Think they could be acceptable to add to genetic mix for those that are trying to influence that but you might be better to find something local as you primary stock as a starting point..

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Rosholt, WI USA
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    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    I have been treatment free on small cell for all of the 10 years so have not treated for mites. I haven't had trouble keeping them over winter until about the last 3 years. So I just don't want to treat, but if I must to keep them alive so be it. A large beekeeper in the areas lost 80% of his hives this past winter and he does treat, so I am really on the fence about what to do. We had some very cold minus 30 for a maybe 5 days in Feb, but that really doesn't explain the other 3 years.

    Thanks for your info on the Saskatraz queens, Big Black Birds.

  6. #5
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: queens for upper midwest


  7. #6
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    Aug 2011
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    Clinton, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    Pat in WI
    not trying to be controversial but bees are very dynamic and its possible to keep them alive without treatment for a substantial period of time. then the wheels suddenly fall off and virtually everything is lost in one relatively short period of time. that is a normal pattern in the early stages of the process that goes way back to the more commonly known treatment free guys like webster, disselkon, etc. hard to say what happened in the last 3 years in your case but varroa and the viruses definately run in cycles. if you have a nearby neighbor treating and still experiencing exceptionally high losses you can sometimes assume things are bad regionally during that period of time. might be what you recently experienced if you had stock that really had not been thru a vigorous selection process.

    if you are rebuilding from scratch, looking at the link for northern bee network can be a wise starting point. there are many folks on there that have at least tried to work with solid stock. the downside is that there are also many folks on there with very little overall beekeeping experience in the grand scheme of things, with very few colonies to select for desirable traits or use for drone saturation and mating purposes. the typical facebook contact i have from people looking to purchase is nothing more than "do you have a nuc available and how much is it" If you want decent stock, ask a number of questions----what is the origination of the stock, what known breeder lines (purdue, buckfast, vsh) have been added over time, how long have you been selecting stock, what is the selection criteria---specifically, what do you look for in spring build up/fall shutdown, do you feed any syrup or pollen, what is your average honey crop off production colony, when do you mate, what % of mated queens do you keep, what traits are you looking for regarding response to environmental conditions. People who have done this and know what they are doing can answer the questions with facts beyond saying "they are mutts".

    My belief is starting with good stock may give you an edge. But its still a battle in my opinion for most smaller folks unless you have really good isolation from everyone else or solid cooperation from nearby folks with like mindset because in the end if you dont have isolation you need a substantial number of colonies to really have a lasting impact regarding matings.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Stevens Point, WI
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    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    That link to northern bee network is somewhat misleading...although a couple produce northern queens ...many on that list are just queen suppliers that happen to be located in the North but the queens come from California or Georgia. ...do your homework...you won't see any Northern produced queens until June unless they were in nucs all winter......



    The Saskatraz breed is intriguing...but because they are open mated in California, your bees will be a variatal mutt..... but if you are breeding queens, bringing in a few to produce drones to mate with your virgin queens is not a bad idea in theory.....
    I have no experience, but it is intriguing breed.
    I have fallen into love with Carniolans for their gentle nature, fast spring buildup and honey production....but like with any open mated queens, one queen may produce fine winter bees while another may produce bees that don't want to shut down at the right time in fall....so it's a crapshoot is my guess.
    If you can find a breeder in your region that produces their own queens, try to pick some up in June to do splits or requeen your hives with.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTqB0zcmhmQ

  9. #8
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    although a couple produce northern queens many on that list are just queen suppliers that happen to be located in the North but the queens come from California or Georgia.
    witch ones?
    All that I have looked at are claiming to be selling stock that overwinters in there area and don't move around (except for Sam) but I didn't go threw the list in its entirety.
    To me it looks like Dr Milbrath has done a good job putting up a network to find stock local to your area. In speaking with her I got the impression that shanginans like you suggest would be quickly be squashed if found out.
    but I am not local, maybe you privy to some local whispers?
    Last edited by msl; 03-28-2019 at 08:46 PM.

  10. #9
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    Aug 2011
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    Clinton, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    witch ones?
    All that I have looked at are claiming to be selling stock that overwinters in there area and don't move around (except for Sam) but I didn't go threw the list in its entirety.
    To me it looks like Dr Milbrath has done a good job putting up a network to find stock local to your area. In speaking with her I got the impression that shanginans like you suggest would be quickly be squashed if found out.
    there was an ad not long ago for northern nucs that had been wintered in the south. really doubt megan has that kinda time to monitor the page or actually plans to police it . shes not too far down the road from me but her full time job keeps her plenty busy

  11. #10
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    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    Maybe I am misinterpreting Kevin's post, I read it as only a couple on the list were producing northern queens and the rest are CA/GA queen shippers misrepresenting their product.
    Last edited by msl; 03-28-2019 at 09:08 PM.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Stevens Point, WI
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    200

    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlackBirds View Post
    there was an ad not long ago for northern nucs that had been wintered in the south. really doubt megan has that kinda time to monitor the page or actually plans to police it . shes not too far down the road from me but her full time job keeps her plenty busy
    Really not her fault.... each beek should just do homework and ask the right questions to any suppliers.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTqB0zcmhmQ

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    This listing just came through the Dane County, WI "madbees" group:

    WISCONSIN HONEY BEE BREEDERS ASSOCIATION
    QUEEN BREEDERS LIST

    NORTHWEST WISCONSIN
    Quiney Honey and Bee-Hudson
    Owner: Adrian Quiney
    Phone: Contact via email.
    Email: [email protected]
    Products: VSH and Survivor stock. A limited number of open mated queens will be available. Queen cells by arrangement.
    Availability: June and July; Local pick-up only

    NORTHERN WISCONSIN
    Crazy Joe's Natural Products-Phelps,WI (30 min. North of Eagle River)
    Owners: Don and April Crass
    Phone: 715-892-4933 (Don)
    Email: [email protected]
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CrazyJoesNP/
    Products: open mated queens originating from survivor stock (mated, virgin and cells)
    Availability: Late June-Early September (Call, email, or check Facebook for availability)

    NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN
    KELLY’S BEES-Wausau
    Owner: Kelly Barnes
    PHONE: please use email or Facebook
    EMAIL: [email protected] or Facebook KellyBees
    PRODUCTS: Open mated VSH Carniolans or local/overwintered stock
    AVAILABILITY: June and July

    NORTHEAST WISCONSIN
    Badger State Bees-Green Bay
    Owner: Ethan Hogan
    Phone: 920-328-4426
    Email: [email protected]
    Products: Queen cells, Virgin Queens, Mated queens from mated VSH stock
    Availability: Call or email

    XXXXXXX-Green Bay
    Owner: Scott Veriha
    Phone: 715-938-4520
    Email: [email protected]
    Products: Open mated Carniolan queen, queen cells and limited availability of virgin queens
    Availability: June thru August; Contact with any questions


    Creekside Apiary LLL-Birnamwood, Wi.
    Owner: John Evans
    Email: use Facebook page below
    Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/CreeksideApiary/?ref=bookmarks
    Products: Open mated VSH Carni, Saskatraz, and survivor Queens-pickup only
    Availability: check availability on Facebook page

    Sweet Mountain Farm-Washington Island
    Owner: Sue Dompke
    Phone: Contact using email
    Email: [email protected]
    Products: open mated Russian queens
    Availability: Contact Sue

    CENTRAL WISCONSIN:
    Lone Oak Apiary-Montello
    Owner: Jon Polcyn
    Phone: Contact via email.
    Email: [email protected]
    Products: open mated VSH and survivor queens
    Availability: mated queens approximately June 1st; cells slightly earlier

    FLYING SQUIRREL APIARY-Princeton
    Owner: Fred Ransome
    Phone:920-229-2204
    Email: [email protected]
    Products: open mated 2nd gen Purdue Ankle Biter queens
    -open mated 1ST GENERATION Purdue Ankle Biter OR Mite Mauler queens about July 1s
    Availability: mated queens beginning approximately May 20th


    SOUTH EAST WISCONSIN
    Trevor Bawden
    Owner: Trevor Bawden
    Phone: 414-241-6327
    Email: [email protected]
    Products: -Open mated Carniolan and feral queens (mated, virgin and cells)
    -Open mated 1st gen VSH Carniolan queens-July 2019
    Availability: Mid-June thru September
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Rosholt, WI USA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    Thanks Greg. Lots of folks nearby on this list.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: queens for upper midwest

    Nice list Greg.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTqB0zcmhmQ

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