Should I go with Saskatraz packages
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  1. #1
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    Jun 2013
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    I will be getting back into things here in Pennsylvania this season and am wondering what kind of bees to order. I have heard good things about Saskatraz bees. My primary goal is to get honey. I have a beekeeper friend who lost 90% of his hives this year so I am not optimistic about chances of overwintering, though Saskatraz is supposedly better. I just hope to make a lot of honey, and if I have to buy packages next year then so be it.

    Anyway, what is your experience with Saskatraz?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    i bought ten queens from OHB in California, most of them have been good, check em out on my channel https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  4. #3
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    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Local mutts from a reputable queen seller will overwinter just fine provided they are healthy which means you are doing something about mites. You probably should not take any advice from your friend unless s/he tells you not to do what they are doing. J

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by marcos bees View Post
    I will be getting back into things here in Pennsylvania this season and am wondering what kind of bees to order. I have heard good things about Saskatraz bees. My primary goal is to get honey. I have a beekeeper friend who lost 90% of his hives this year so I am not optimistic about chances of overwintering, though Saskatraz is supposedly better. I just hope to make a lot of honey, and if I have to buy packages next year then so be it.

    Anyway, what is your experience with Saskatraz?
    Your experience may vary.... I ordered 6 packages of Saskatraz, in 2018, Hived them on comb, built them to 2 deeps and 4 medium supers full.
    Had a great Honey crop, 24 medium supers. All we dead by new year, Mited out. If you spend the dime on the bees, I would do the 2 Cents for treatment, or just extract it all, and get more next year. Packages IMO are not TF candidates. As well if your friend has mite issues they are in your area and the bees will find a way to bring them back. I liked the bees, the survivability not so much.
    GG

  6. #5
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Are there any bees that are mite proof in mite prevalent areas? It seems to me that acquiring set and forget bees is a tougher proposition than having bees you expect to treat.

    In Pa. I would think success or failure is more in the hands of the beekeeper than in the breeding of the bees.
    Frank

  7. #6
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    May 2016
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    Victory Township, Michigan
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    45

    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    I agree that all bees need to be treated for mites. And I am leaning towards requeening all hives in late July. But having said that we have been very happy with the Saskatraz we have had. If honey production is what you are looking for, ours have built up fast and produced very well. I can't say that others would not do as well but we have been happy just the same.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    You probably should not take any advice from your friend unless s/he tells you not to do what they are doing. J
    +1 Goes real well with my motto of "never take beekeeping advice from someone who buys bees every year".
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    buy what ever packages are available, yes local nucs would be better.. but sometimes you have to take what you can get before its sold out , re queen later in the season as local queens become available, start nucs to over winter with the old queens, monitor and treat

    here are some leads for you
    http://northernbeenetwork.org/web-2-...oe-zgurzynski/
    http://northernbeenetwork.org/web-2-...steve-repasky/
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    Your experience may vary.... I ordered 6 packages of Saskatraz, in 2018, Hived them on comb, built them to 2 deeps and 4 medium supers full.
    Had a great Honey crop, 24 medium supers. All we dead by new year, Mited out. If you spend the dime on the bees, I would do the 2 Cents for treatment, or just extract it all, and get more next year. Packages IMO are not TF candidates. As well if your friend has mite issues they are in your area and the bees will find a way to bring them back. I liked the bees, the survivability not so much.
    GG
    So you put them on drawn comb? I will be putting whatever packages I get in new hives. I plan to feed them sugar and hopefully get them to draw out the frames and then when the flow kicks on I'll put medium supers on. Thankfully, I do have medium super frames that are drawn out.

  11. #10
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by marcos bees View Post
    ...... I just hope to make a lot of honey, and if I have to buy packages next year then so be it..........?
    If all you need is honey - just buy honey then.
    Simple solution.


    Else your honey will cost you $$$$ per a pound.
    If that is what you want - then so be it.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #11
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    Jun 2014
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    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by marcos bees View Post
    So you put them on drawn comb? I will be putting whatever packages I get in new hives. I plan to feed them sugar and hopefully get them to draw out the frames and then when the flow kicks on I'll put medium supers on. Thankfully, I do have medium super frames that are drawn out.
    where in PA are you located? i am likely to be selling a few nucs this year. i flood my mating yard with saskatraz drones.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by marcos bees View Post
    I will be getting back into things here in Pennsylvania this season and am wondering what kind of bees to order. I have heard good things about Saskatraz bees. My primary goal is to get honey. I have a beekeeper friend who lost 90% of his hives this year so I am not optimistic about chances of overwintering, though Saskatraz is supposedly better. I just hope to make a lot of honey, and if I have to buy packages next year then so be it.
    Anyway, what is your experience with Saskatraz?
    There was a discussion on Saskatraz bees a few years ago, you might want to look it up here. There were mixed reviews at the time. My own experience with them (I bought queens from OHB) were they swarmed quickly. I’d have to look at my notes to see, but if you search it on here you will find lots of info. Deb
    Proverbs 16:24

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    I forgot to add at the time OHB advertised hygienic bees, which we did not find at all. I did mite rolls and on the one that rolled 1 mite I didn’t treat till I inspected it and it had PMS. One of the other beeks who had them swore his had EFB but he might have confused the two they are so similar in appearance. Others loved the Sas.
    Proverbs 16:24

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by marcos bees View Post
    So you put them on drawn comb? I will be putting whatever packages I get in new hives. I plan to feed them sugar and hopefully get them to draw out the frames and then when the flow kicks on I'll put medium supers on. Thankfully, I do have medium super frames that are drawn out.
    My first disclaimer is that I don't have any personal experience with Saskatraz packages. But a ton of them along with mated queens are sold here directly off shipments from Olivarez so I've had some observations of them. My overall impression has been that they normally are able to produce a good honey crop. And that makes perfect sense as what you are seeing is a queen line out of Canada that has picked up hybrid vigor in a cross. Being packages and shipped queens, you can bank on a % having some problems but overall I do feel they could give you a honey crop even on foundation if that is all you had.

    Whether you see mite resistance from them is a much bigger beast as there are plenty of variables just within the initial open mating that can put them all over the board when we start looking at levels of susceptibility. From the crossings I've messed with using both open mated daughters as breeders and other breeders that are suppose to be somewhat pure stock I think they are about average in comparison with known quantities like vsh. How you use them and what you get for outcomes just depends.

    If you are choosing packages and simply looking for a honey crop realizing that you may replace a great many, why don't you pick the cheapest option in packages. In theory you should get similar crops particularly off italian/carni cross packages out of california. Or get the saskatraz packages and let them do their thing and see if you happen to get some good survivors out of the mix. If a person had enough of those saskatrz packages it is likely that you will see some mite resistance. How big of a sample size will you need, not sure.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlackBirds View Post
    My first disclaimer is that I don't have any personal experience with Saskatraz packages. But a ton of them along with mated queens are sold here directly off shipments from Olivarez so I've had some observations of them. My overall impression has been that they normally are able to produce a good honey crop. And that makes perfect sense as what you are seeing is a queen line out of Canada that has picked up hybrid vigor in a cross. Being packages and shipped queens, you can bank on a % having some problems but overall I do feel they could give you a honey crop even on foundation if that is all you had.

    Whether you see mite resistance from them is a much bigger beast as there are plenty of variables just within the initial open mating that can put them all over the board when we start looking at levels of susceptibility. From the crossings I've messed with using both open mated daughters as breeders and other breeders that are suppose to be somewhat pure stock I think they are about average in comparison with known quantities like vsh. How you use them and what you get for outcomes just depends.

    If you are choosing packages and simply looking for a honey crop realizing that you may replace a great many, why don't you pick the cheapest option in packages. In theory you should get similar crops particularly off italian/carni cross packages out of california. Or get the saskatraz packages and let them do their thing and see if you happen to get some good survivors out of the mix. If a person had enough of those saskatrz packages it is likely that you will see some mite resistance. How big of a sample size will you need, not sure.
    They are more expensive definitely, so wondering if I should pick a cheaper package?

  17. #16
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    Northeast PA
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    Your experience may vary.... I ordered 6 packages of Saskatraz, in 2018, Hived them on comb, built them to 2 deeps and 4 medium supers full.
    Had a great Honey crop, 24 medium supers. All we dead by new year, Mited out. If you spend the dime on the bees, I would do the 2 Cents for treatment, or just extract it all, and get more next year. Packages IMO are not TF candidates. As well if your friend has mite issues they are in your area and the bees will find a way to bring them back. I liked the bees, the survivability not so much.
    GG
    Saskatraz bees are touted for their mite resistance, right?

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    Saskatraz bees are touted for their mite resistance, right?
    that was the exact reason I tried them. Could have been a local problem, but mine appeared needing treatment to make the first winter.
    In Hind sight, a brood break or a treatment would have helped. I did want to see how they did straight up. I had Hoped 2 or 3 would make it to split from, but was surprised when Zero did. Others may have had different experiences. give them a try, other than dying I did like them. Just realize they would likely need to be treated.
    GG

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    marco bees

    i have no doubt that in their original location saskatraz did have a solid level of resistance. but just like russians, vsh, purdue stuff that resistance thing is made up of various components and is an awful hard thing to maintain. take a look at how many colonies are sitting in CA when daughters of those saskatraz breeders mate. you may end up with some really good packages that winter well or maybe not. So if there is a price differential, i might be inclined to head towards the cheaper packages given that unknown.

    If you decide to start looking longer term, you might be best to find some local nucs as a starting point. It would be much easier to incorporate saskatraz genes into a pool of known quantity. Otherwise you are banking on finding a saskatraz queen(s) that happen to be carrying enough specific mite resistance traits to get you thru the winter. And if I was trying to incorporate various genes into local nucs, I'd start with vsh first over saskatraz as that path has been pretty well worked out at this point. Then I'd move to saskatraz, etc

  20. #19
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    NW Wisconsin
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    Default

    I had two Saz package a couple years ago. I saw very little difference in performance here in N Wisconsin. Plenty mites, not noticeably more or less honey than my local mutts.

    But I only had five colonies, so the sample is very small. Also a strange long cold spring and a dry summer. They did not overwinter.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    beaver county pa usa
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    Default Re: Should I go with Saskatraz packages

    Buy local over wintered nucs if possible. Be careful of some people selling nucs in Pa I would ask if they produced the nucs in Pa or were they brought up from the south and are being sold as northern nucs. Sad to say but it does happen.

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