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Western Canadian beekeepers buy tens of thousands of queens each spring. Many are imported in early May, when splitting is ideal and local queens are unreliable and difficult to raise. A number of large producers in the southern US and offshore provide a supply, but there is room for more suppliers, especially suppliers who can offer stock which promises good production combined with superior disease and mite resistance.

Many smaller queen producers have not stepped into this market because of the paperwork involved and other uncertainties. Nonetheless, for a producer who can ship several hundred or more in one shipment, these obstacles are not particularly hard to navigate.

I would be interested in hearing from any who would like to approach this market and help them find importers who are already handling queens and have customers. Please reply here or PM me.

Thanks.
 

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Western Canadian beekeepers buy tens of thousands of queens each spring. Many are imported in early May, when splitting is ideal and local queens are unreliable and difficult to raise. A number of large producers in the southern US and offshore provide a supply, but there is room for more suppliers, especially suppliers who can offer stock which promises good production combined with superior disease and mite resistance.

Many smaller queen producers have not stepped into this market because of the paperwork involved and other uncertainties. Nonetheless, for a producer who can ship several hundred or more in one shipment, these obstacles are not particularly hard to navigate.

I would be interested in hearing from any who would like to approach this market and help them find importers who are already handling queens and have customers. Please reply here or PM me.

Thanks.
AFAIK, importation has been the default for some time in Alberta, but I believe that this is going to change with the rising interest in urban/natural[1] beekeeping. Like myself, these folks will be seeking to buy locally adapted survivor bees.

In fact, I think there's a ground floor opportunity here for established beeks to provide nucs/queens to meet a short term spike in demand. After 2-3 years, the urban/natural folks will likely be self-supporting, and no longer reliant upon either imports, or the support of traditional/lang/commercial crowd.


[1] It's rather ironic when the urban is more natural than the country.
 

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In fact, I think there's a ground floor opportunity here for established beeks to provide nucs/queens to meet a short term spike in demand. After 2-3 years, the urban/natural folks will likely be self-supporting, and no longer reliant upon either imports, or the support of traditional/lang/commercial crowd.
Well, that is a tiny market, and it is not as if the attempt to be self-sufficient has not been the Holy Grail of beekeepers for many, many years. Many have spent a lot of time and lost a lot of money -- and pride -- pursuing it.

There are a lot of very smart people keeping bees in Alberta and a few have managed to stay somewhat self-reliant, but I can't think of any who have not had to replenish stock after a disaster, or run down to warmer country to winter, and I think I know the province pretty well. Some of them were bragging about how they did not need imports, too and even blocked the efforts to obtain replacement stock. Odd how they were at the front of the line to get some a year or two later.

We do have a number of breeders in Canada, and some have done fairly well in terms of developing good stock, but none have ever managed to even come close to meeting the demand in the time frames required. It is not from lack of time, money, technology and brains being applied. Both governments and private individuals have thrown literally millions at the problem. The problem is the climate. We can produce lots of queens, but weeks after they are needed and when beekeepers are busy with honey production work. Even a few weeks late means missing the current crop.

The simple fact remains that commercial beekeepers experience periodic crashes and have to recover fast. Their clock is running and time is money. They cannot just sit a year without income and need bees. Often they have no warning that they will be needing the bees either.

Western Canadian beekeeping was established by Ontario beekeepers moving west and California beekeepers coming north. All the provinces except Alberta have been badly damaged by problems getting imports and high prices. Alberta was damaged, too, and many went out of business, but smuggling took care of much of the shortage until after 9-11 and the tightening of the border. Alberta has also been at the forefront of importing bees.

The simple fact is that commercial beekeepers need queens in May and packages as well. I don't see this changing.

Let's not divert this thread into anything but what it is. An appeal for those who have good stock in the US to consider selling into the Canadian market.
 

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Well I dunno. I suppose if there were such suppliers they would be selling those queens. I'm not sure that those who fill out the paper requirements of Canada would agree that " these obstacles are not partricularly hard to navigate". Take for example the requirements of having no more than 7 attendants (I thinks that's the number) per queen in a 3 hole cage. Lots of extra labour there. Battery boxes are not allowed, might get some small hive beetles. At least that's the rationale in forcing the suppliers to use 3 hole cages.

When the border to continental USA Queens opened there were 3 suppliers. The following year there were 2. I believe they stopped because it was a hassle. I think they can sell all the queens they want in the USA. If I were a USA supplier I would not bother.

I have asked 2 suppliers of varroa resistant stock, for 500 queens in a single shipment and they did not try to ship:(

Jean-Marc
 

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Thanks. I was going to look up the requirements. Actually I have a supplier who wants to ship in three hole cages and I thought we needed battery boxes. I've been out of the loop. Are the rules on the web somewhere?
 
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