Moonbeam queens are they worth the extra expense?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by crackerbee, Oct 18, 2011.

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  1. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    I saw these queens http://russellapiaries.webs.com/apps/we ... ow/1732810 on Russell Apiaries site last Spring,and I think(if I remember correctly)they were sold as breeder queens then for a $2200 for a lot of 10 :shock: ,and they weren't offered any other way.I got an email from Russell's and saw that they now have them on a limited supply to pre-order for 2012,and the cost is $40 each,and the shipping wasn't too bad either.
    Has anyone here tried or know anything about these queens and if they're worth the extra expense,or would just the garden variety Italian or Cordovan do just as well?
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    They are likely open mated queens from his breeder queens. If so, the progeny would be half moonbeam unless they happened to mate with moonbeam drones from his yard.

    Then after the first supercedure or swarm, the new queen would be producing 1/4 moonbeams. That's why I never buy a certain strain of queen. In a year or two, they will be local mutts.
     

  3. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    That being said would you suggest one buy all difference types of queens to add to the yard instead of just one?
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am pretty much in the dark about russell apiary... but my doubting Thomas tuner fork certainly sings when I read their web site.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I bought the cheapest ones I could find when I was buying. I quit buying queens years ago. Would you pay the price of a thorough bred horse if you could only breed it once, then and no choice what the colts were bred with, and try to start a herd that way? You high dollar genetics will be gone in a year or two, so why not just start with mutts? That's what you are going to end with anyway.

    As for Russell, they are a large, old company, but this is going on here.....

    viewtopic.php?f=11&t=4671&p=37609#p37609
     
  6. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    I have to agree with Tec. Russell has a bunch of different varieties and strains of queens listed on their website - most queen breeders have just one or maybe two lines. How big must the operation be to support all those different lines and keep them from cross-breeding?

    As for the 'moonbeam' queens - I have tended to keep my mouth shut about them, mostly because Russell apiaries is pretty popular on 'another' forum and I don't want to become the focus of a holy war..........But - I have some questions about the line that trip the skeptic in me.

    For instance, Russell has posted (elsewhere) that the 'moonbeams' are bred from stock that are used for pollination and honey in Wisconsin. I don't believe that it was ever indicated whether this same stock also overwintered in Wisconsin or not. There is a big difference there and I would like to see that clarified.

    Still, $40 is pricey. Especially when your bees reject and kill her! But hey - they may be a great bee and the answer to overwintering in cold climates - I really don't know. However, I am more inclined to let others with more apparent disposable income serve as the 'test' groups. I will stick with my Russians.

    Mike
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Never heard of the Moonbeams, but i think they will go the same way the Midnight bees went. :roll: Jack
     
  8. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    So sounds like the bottom line is don't waste money on high dollar queens because you'll only end up with mutts in the end anyway.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    my two cents Crackerbee..

    if you want to rear some queens spend a few bucks and buy an II queen from Glenn Apiaries. At this point you know you are controlling 50% of the genetic make up of your queens. Get something that suits your taste and fits into your situation. Last time I checked you will have to wait till April to get something from Glenn but utilize the intermediate time to consider what you want to use as drone producing hives. At about $150 (queen + shipping) you don't need to produce many to average out the cost.
     
  10. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I am thinking of putting bees in an area that quite likely has no feral bees and no other hives within breeding range. With a setup like that, for me to raise my own queens I would also have to supply drone hives so I guess a person could do something like the moonbeams without quickly having the genetics diluted.

    On the other hand I believe that a fair percentage of people who have specialty breeds of anything, often secretly value the exclusivity factor of the breed more than any measurable utility value.
     
  11. larry tate

    larry tate New Member

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    What would a bee find at night anyway?
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    an excellent question Larry....

    I really wonder Larry why folks who put together what at least appears to be a nicely put together web site, don't first consider running their sales pitch past someone with a finely tuned bs meter prior to setting it out for the consuming public. It just make me wonder if the firm is naive or does it think ALL it's possible customer are???
     
  13. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I agree.

    I had the pleasure of visiting/inspecting a number of so called "queen breeders" (Really queen producers) and it amazed me the reaction when I asked to see their drone saturation yards. Or what the answer was when I asked how they controlled the drones, which is 50% of the mix. They had no drone yards, and did nothing other than let their queens mate with whatever was out there.

    There are many out there with fancy websites, and are good at talking the talk. But walking the walk, and doing what would be required to fullfill half of the protocol (or quality) they hype, is lacking or missing all together.

    A few years back, we had a Florida queen producer give some talks at the state fall conference. In commenting how 97 out of 100 hives had died in one of his yards, (He was a CCD hit operation) he was asked "Well, if you had three survivors in this yard out of 100, it seems breeding off the three remaining colonies would be worth doing".

    His reply...."We do not select breeders since we open mate. We just buy a few breeder queens every year". Yet this operation touts his name and breeding efforts. What breeding efforts?

    And that has been one of the problems over the years. Many so called "breeders" are nothing more than first generation queen producers. Meaning they do nothing more than raise daughters off of purchased breeder queens every year. They do nothing to perpetuate a line, push forward the localized or acclimatized genetics, etc. And when so many people do this same thing, we just weaken the gene pool by having everyone buy breeder queens from the same location.

    I have bought breeders queens from Glenn Apiaries. They have great stock! But at some point, we need to further the selection and breeding efforts beyond first generation daughters.
     
  14. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    what about AI....it would seem to me thats the only real way of keeping what you get an controling what your gonna have later.
     
  15. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    No....it means taking the "easy" road in bypassing mother nature and the whole premise of "strongest of the fittest" by doing little more than trapping drones at the front entrance of some predetermined hive. Which to me is hogwash, since those drones are potentially coming from any number of hives. Some beekeeper could never possibly know the health of drones showing up at an entrance.

    Open mating has it's positives. Drones unable to compete, sick, weak, and anything not probably in the top 10% is probably not going to mate. They may be flying a good period of time, and when the time does come, they are up agianst another hundred or so other drones for the right to mate. So only the strongest pass on their genetics. While sick drones may leave the hive, they oftentimes return unsuccessful in the mating challenge.

    A/I is a reason for many to charge astronomical fees, use specialized marketing terms, and seemingly make statements that can never, and will never, be challenged by most. A/I is a way to keep your stock "closed" (or give you the impression you can) but I would rather have my queens mate with the BEST drones available, both my own stock, and the feral genetics in the area.

    Except for a very few breeders, A/I has it's positives, and equal downsides. (queen longevity, etc.,)

    Unfortunately, the same is true about most "breeders". They bypass doing the steps needed to set up drone yards, flood the area with selected stock, etc. But they can equally make claims, fluff up their product, and nobody really at the end of the day, is in a position to say much.
     
  16. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    i agree with you.....but if you want purple bees with pink polka dots from now untill your to old to care anymore ya cant do it open breeding....i wouldnt pay a nickle for a queen after my first time buying them....i ended up with feral bees anyways...which i love....an nature does what shes best at....good bees......but if you want to keep what you buy and only that bee in your hives no exceptions....for better or worse....AI is the only way you can do it....or keep buying bred AI queens....1 pure bee + 1 pure bee = 1 pure bee.......1 pure bee + whatever = 1 whatever.....just sayen :/
     
  17. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Yeah right..... :lol:

    Let me know where you get "pure" bees.

    Quality, selection, and results, regardless of your operation, technique or control, has NOTHING to do with "pure".

    On one hand, a beekeeper selects the genetics to pass along, if he can even do that, by picking up a few drone at the front of the hive. The other hand involves mother nature selecting the genetics based on survival of the fittest, of what has survived in the feral population, or drone saturation by the beekeeper.

    Beyond that, "PURE" is a loosely used term that does nothing but get dreamers to pay for queens from operations that they probably know little about. ;)

    If you don't believe me, go back and read the first post of this thread. :thumbsup:
     
  18. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    Well then I guess that answers that(from what I can tell)that Moonbeam queens aren't worth the extra expense(or anything else for that matter) :roll:
     
  19. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Know the breeder is the best advice. And put little weight on marketing fluff, terms such as "pure", and ask lots of questions....here, and of the breeder you want to get bees.

    There are many good breeders out there. But many more that just sell queens based on what you want, adjusting their marketing to what may sell the most queens.

    Some want A/I for whatever reason, and some want naturally...or should I say "open mated" queens, for whatever reason. I just think everything should be on the table for beekeepers to see.

    I think getting A/I queens from a place such as Glenn, is a good approach for those starting out in a breeding program. Then perhaps adding queens from other well known operations, building off the survivors, and actually having a breeding protocol. I do not think paying 2200.00 for ten queens, for 99% of the beekeepers out there, in hope of having better queens, is an approach worth taking. It's what you do with the queens in your operation that decides the quality you are putting out. Not from the origins of where you blew large amounts of cash. And expensive queens has little to do with individual hive results when it comes to overwintering survival, etc.

    Buying some expensive queens to establish a breeding program....understandable. Buying expensive queens to think you will have better losses or magical hives based on marketing hype, is not going to pan out. Mutts do better for the average beekeeper.
     
  20. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    [​IMG]



    Get it? :lol: :D :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
     
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