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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have used small numbers of queens (4 to 8) from 6 different queen breeders. They have been different types of queens NWC, Russian, Russian hybrid, Survivor, and Italian. About half have been good productive queens that built up quickly and produced some honey. The others build up slow and never amount to much. The exception are the cordovan italians which all build big colonies. What percentage of the queens you purchase are good or excellent quality?
 

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I think what you are seeing is probably the norm. Rearing queens is a tough business. There is only so much time to rear queens during the bee season. Ideally a queen breeder will check out the brood pattern of a queen before caging and selling. However this does not guarantee the queen will produce massive honey producing colonies. Queen breeders simply do not have the time and resources to fully evaluate new queens in a production enviroment. Most queen breeders use instrumentally inseminated queens or select breeders from their top performing colonies. This helps with production predictability, but is never going to be anywhere near 100%.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. I was just wondering what other folks were seeing as far as queen quality. I have raised dogs, rabbits, sheep, goats, pigeons and chickens. With any animal breeding there is a lot of variation in quality. I just wonder what the commercial beekeepers do if half of their queens go like gangbusters and the others never build up big colonies. It seems like it would be hard to manage a large number of hives if they did not have uniform queen quality.
 

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I suspect Queen quality is the same as other breeding programs. You have "show quality" from breeders who concetrate on producing a small amount of very high quality individuals and then you have the massed produced individuals that vary in quality but overall are acceptable. The "good for eating" and middle to end of the line in the show string.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I like the koehnen cordovan italians. They are the most productive that I have tried, but also eat the most. I have been trying not to treat for mites except powdered sugar and screened bottom boards. The cordovan italians seem to get hit the worst by mites since they raise so much brood.
 
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