I ordered one last November as an emergency. It arrived 5 days late. I called them up before it got here, told them "overnight" doesn't mean in 7 days, and its probably going to show up DOA. They apologized and sent a second one. It ends up both queens made it.
I installed her into an Observation Hive as part of a project. I guess she had a difficulty going from 80 degree weather to 40 degree, because she wasn't accepted. Lucky for me I had a second queen
The second queen refused to maintain the brood size, just wouldn't lay, and the colony shrank until it couldn't maintain a temperature. At that point she wouldn't lay because there wern't enough workers to feed the brood and the colony died.
It doesn't really answer your question much, but customer service is great, and sometimes you just need a queen and no one else can provide one.
I ordered from them last Nov as an emergency too. They arrived with no probs what so ever. In fact I wanted to order a few more from them but they told me they are only filling standing yearly orders right now and don't plan on small private sales til around July. So on that, there's my only gripe, I can't get any right now.
Their previous customers get first crack each year and that means if you are a new customer they rarely have anything to ship until June or even later some years.
Here's something to ponder. They have no mites on the island where these queens are mated. Thus they have no resistance at all. They will quickly be infested with a varrora mites and crash unless you have a mite testing and treatment plan in place.
Or you could order queens that have the MN Hygnenic or VSH trait that at least have some hope of having some mite resistance.
i would focus on getting a queen with some resistance traits and forget the carni, italian russian caucasin names that mean very little for since most of them are hybrids anyways.
the other important factor is asking the breeder if they have clean brood comb in their queen rearing operation. High superscedure rates come from contaminated comb that affects queen cells and drone fertility.
Mite resistance and comb contamination are the two most critical variables in determining who and where to buy a queen. The rest are advertising gimmicks in my view.
I got my bees from a commercial guy who only uses Kona queens. Great bees and great honey producers. This year as he was making splits he had an extra queen. I know have it in a split I was able to make. I am both excited about it and looking forward to another Kona queened hive.
As with anything to do with beekeeping there will be both positive and negative as every beek has thier preferences.
For myself, mite resistance has been good. I do use IPM boards, count and track my mite counts throughout the year. However I do use essential oils in my hive and have noted a decrease in mite numbers since starting the oil patties.
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