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I know that I will open up a can of worms but here goes. In the spring of 2011I plan on adding an additional 50 hives. The past couple of years I have been getting packages from various sources, the bees are fine, but the queens leave a bit to be desired. So who has the best queens year in and year out? I'm not worried about the bees just queens.
 

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...So who has the best queens year in and year out?
The question that you need to be asking, in my opinion, is "who has the best queens for my part of West Virginia?"

I bought packages this year that were nothing but problems from the minute I hived them. All have finally been re-queened with northern New England-raised queens and they are doing well and I feel better about the whole thing..

No sense in importing more queens from away and maybe having a whole new set of problems to deal with.

Wayne
 

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How many hives do you have now? You plan on adding 50 hives, can you just do splits to achieve this number? I know a guy that last year started the season with only 7 hives and by the end of the year, had well over 50 hives, so he split at least 7 times. What about getting out there and chasing down swarms?

C2
 

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I got 1 package of NWC from Oliverez this year to give them a try. The queen is an egg laying machine, & they are producing honey.
 

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I currently only have 14 full colonies and 8 mating nucs. But I find it is most cost effective to purchase a single breeder queen and raise my own queens for repopulation and splits. No matter the method of queen rearing, one should easily be able to get more than 5 daughters in a season from a breeder which would be the break even point. And with little more effort, one should see a 5 to 1 return on their investment with more aggressive queen rearing methods.

I have finally reached the point that I am now mixing my II breeder queens, my most productive queens and my feral cutout queens as a mixed breeding stock. Once I retire from my day job I hope to expand my opertaions quite a bit.
 

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I made six 4-frame nucs this spring and installed them into my equipment on May 20. I queened them using queens from Tim Arheit at HoneyRunApiaries.com (tarheit - here on BeeSource).

Three of them are supered (and two of those have already filled their first medium). The other three are filling out the second deep and will probably be supered when the sunflower comes on in about a month or so.

This was my first experience with Tim's queens. I initially decided to try them because they were the earliest available queens from northern broodstock that I could find. I have been very happy with them and Tim is now on my shortlist for queen suppliers.

My other (established) hives have queens from Michael Palmer (French Hill Apiaries). I also try to get Michael's queens for my overwinter nuc's. They overwinter very well (haven't lost one overwinter yet - although my sample is still small) and are also highly productive. The downside is that they aren't available until later in the year and you have to order early - Michael books up quick!

I would recommend either of these two sources.
 
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