I don't think I paid more for the actual queens than I would have anywhere, just opted for air mail which wouldn't have been a big deal on 100, but you feel it on 3. The East TN bee inspector (Jay) keeps Russians and we have a mutual friend who said his are admittedly testy. I don't have any Carnies, but I notice a lot of commercial guys on YouTube going that route, so, in essence you may be right. For me, I don't care if I make an oz of honey (although they made just as much as Italians under the same circumstances). I was going for some level of inherent resistance to mites and general survival. Too early to tell, and I've skewed my test result by spending inordinate amounts of time and money at the same time as changing breeds.I live where it gets cold and can stay cold! My experiences with Russian bees have not been happy. The outcrosses tend to be hot and swarmy. Carniolans would serve you better. Russians are expensive because they are not in big demand. Why would that be?
I was able to keep these brooding pretty heavily, but they completely stopped laying mid-Nov and there was no brood by Dec 7-10. None.They get A+ for wintering. But 2-3 frame clusters in spring make spring splits and equalizing was horrible.
Seems like you have it backward.The higher the demand the higher the price.I live where it gets cold and can stay cold! My expiences with Russian bees have not been happy. The outcrosses tend to be hot and swarmy. Carniolans would serve you better. Russians are expensive because they are not in big demand. Why would that be?
Just remember to make sure you don't tranfer any, I mean any 2-3 day-old larvae or eggs. i.e. transfer capped brood or old larvae.I have decided to wait until later in the year and go into my hives and get two frames of bees. I am going to put them in a five frame nuc with a frame of stores and two empty frames. I will then go into the Russian hive and get one of the "just in case" queen cells they are always making and add it to the nuc.
Of course I am going to make sure the queen cells are there before I attempt this.