Need Northern Queens

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by riverbee, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    i need a couple queens by mid to end may, unless the heatwave keeps up. anyone know of or can suggest any beeks who are rearing their own queen stock in the midwest artic? i keep my bees in Wisconsin, so am looking for queens bred in the north and as ‘local’ as I can get. i keep russkies,(from iowa), can’t get russkie queens bred in the north until mid june. can’t wait that long this year. ‘mutts’ would be okay if survivor stock, or carni’s, but i don’t want italians or minnesota hygenics….

    thanks for any replies, greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    thanks iddee,
    this is helpful, wasn't aware of this association.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  5. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I can't post the link here, but if you search on Facebook for "Indiana State Beekeepers Queen Project" you can get info about the program the State Beeks are doing here in Indiana with some grant money we received. It started with the Purdue bees that Dr. Greg Hunt has been working on for quite a few years, breeding for mite-resistance and northern survival. To widen the gene pool, we bought some breeders last year from Glenn Apiaries (Calif) and Joe Latshaw (Ohio).

    I'm not involved with the actual queen rearing - just a member of the State Assn - but queens should be available in the timeframe you're looking at.
     
  6. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Southern queens are not the evil demons some suppose as the breeder queens come from OWA Apiaries in Washington (Russians), Ferguson Apiaries in Canada (Buckfast & Danish) , Glenn Apiaries in California (Carnolian VSH & Pol-line), Joe Latshaw in Ohio (Karnica & Aurea), and California (Italian).
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am whole heartedly with Americasbeekeeper on this one.
     
  8. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    riverbee,
    I appluade you for seeking acclimatized and northern raised queens.

    Personally, I do not call a person who raises queens a breeder, if all they do is order breeder queens every year and sells first generation daughters every year.

    NSQBA focuses on "breeders who are trying to perpetuate lines of bees selected for traits most beneficial to northern beekeepers. As example, there is distinct differences in the brood period of Italians as compared to other lines like Russians and Carni lines. Italians many times brood right through the summer dearth, and winter. They will eat themselves out of their stores and will get stuck on brood at a time when other lines do not.

    Each line developed in Europe on specific geographic and environmental conditions. That is why we have linguistica, carnica, and other lines. Why would bees be any different here? Some are better in some areas than others. Of course there will be many bee producers (calling themselves "breeders") who will feel differently. They will suggest that "a queen is a queen is a queen". Like all apples or dogs are the same....which we all know is not correct.

    I would focus on a line of bees, then focus on a breeder. Several years ago, we had a breeder from Florida give a talk about his losses to CCD. After stating that he lost 147 out of 150 hives in one yard, he was asked if he planned on breeding from the remaining 3 hives. It sounded like a good question to me. But the "breeder" said that they did not bother with such matters as they just bought a couple breeder queens every year and any local breeding efforts was not advantagious since they open mated anyways. What a joke! No drone support yards, breeding nothing but first generation daughters from a few select queens every year from the same place many other all buy their queens, and passing along tens of thousands of queens all simlar to the buyers.

    And some wonder why we have problems in the bee industry. ;)

    We started NSQBA to help beekeepers support and find something other than the mass produced queens from the bigger producers. We focus on quality over quantity. And we do not invite membership from so-called "breeders" who are not breeding from survival lines and those acclimatized for their area.
     
  9. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    thanks to all for your posts,
    Tecumseh: I see tim is a member of the NHSBA, (as is bjorn). how has his nw carnis fared for you in the south?
    some snips from the nsqba website:
    “To work towards a better survivor stock of acclimatized and over-wintered bees with traits desirable to benefit northern beekeepers.†“The NSQBA encourages local queen production. The bee industry can benefit greatly when more beekeepers raise their own queens. We encourage local clubs and beekeepers to pool their resources and raise queens as a group. The more bees raised in their local environment, the stronger the traits, allowing bees to deal and cope with environmental conditions in their local areas.â€

    Indypartridge
    thank you for this information on the Indiana queen project, if anyone is interested in reading about this project, there is an excellent pdf available describing the project here:
    http://www.indianahoney.org/documents/apppropacceptanceletters.pdf
    some ‘buzz’ snips from this:
    “We propose to produce northern-bred queens that are more resistant to mites and disease and to promote their use. This will foster an Indiana queen-rearing industry and increase profitability and sustainability of beekeeping, while reducing the need for in-hive pesticides.†“Most of the queens and bees purchased for sale in Indiana come from southern and western queen breeders that generally do not select for resistance to mites. In the past these have not done well in Indiana.†….

    My experience, and others here, they don’t do well in Wisconsin either.

    “Increasing the use of northern-bred bees that are more resistant to mites and disease would increase the profitability of beekeeping by reducing losses, and the use of miticides in hives. “ “Potential Impact. This project would benefit any beekeeper that adopts northern-bred stocks that are tolerant to Varroa mites. Nearby beekeeping operations could also benefit by preventing the spread of mite-infested bees. The project will help to make beekeeping more sustainable and profitable in Indiana. As beekeepers experience first-hand the increased survival of their hives, they will realize the importance of having resistant stocks of bees.

    Americasbeekeeper
    You said: Southern queens are not the evil demons some suppose as the breeder queens come from OWA Apiaries in Washington (Russians), Ferguson Apiaries in Canada (Buckfast & Danish) , Glenn Apiaries in California (Carnolian VSH & Pol-line), Joe Latshaw in Ohio (Karnica & Aurea), and California (Italian).

    northern queens shipped from northern breeders to the southern climates…..and then, as bjorn pointed out(about daughter queens), sells and ships the next generation of daughters that are mass produced in what environment to a northern beekeeper…..hmmm…….
    (i am not discounting your statement or discounting these queen breeders, just to make myself clear, i am referring to our ‘traveling queens’ as stated above, who are used to breed from, from one environment to another, in large quantities, not acclimated or local to my area, or that lack the traits I most desire for sustainability.

    this would be no different than sending me an armadillo and expecting it to survive and prosper in a northern climate…:lol:

    i can only speak of my experience, i have not had success with southern queens; they are either superceded or rarely last one season, and i have received several that were pitifully small, most likely, from lack of proper nutrition.

    Bjornbee,
    i am on track with you regarding your statement about queen ‘breeders’, and some do suggest that a “queen is a queenâ€, i also do not agree with this thinking. going forward, we all need to be conscious of breeding and genetics more so now than ever, and more aware of the nature of our bees to be successful keepers in the areas we live and keep the bees in, and rear queens in, whether it be a particular line or a ‘mutt line’.(survivor stock).

    to your point, as a northern beekeeper i have learned and am keenly aware of what beneficial traits i need in a queen and her offspring, and there are distinct differences in the brood periods (and other traits) of lines available that are beneficial to me in my climate. no one i know (as a smaller keeper) can successfully keep and overwinter italians from year to year here, for various reasons, but as you pointed out, the tenacity for brood rearing and eating through their stores is great and these bees will and do starve either before or during our cold months.

    problems in the bee industry?
    there is a commercial keeper i know who tells his students to just kill their bees off in the fall, let them starve and die off, that it is cheaper to let the bees die and buy new packages in the spring. in addition, two of his students who live near me took up the additional practice of not treating their mite infested package bees, because why would they? their bees, if they do not swarm, die of mites and starvation, after whatever honey is produced and taken off. how does this affect me? for one, before these two stooges decided to ‘keep bees’, i did not have the mite counts that I started seeing.

    7:00 am one morning, one of the stooges calls me in a panic, gotta come look at his bees, now!, something wrong…they are coming in flying funny, missing the landing board and flying into the hive front like they’re drunk, they got a disease, there’s big yellow and orange balls on their legs……..

    what are these 2 learning from this commercial keeper, or for themselves, they give no care to the science of keeping bees, let alone genetics and breeding.

    thanks for the advice of focusing on a line and then a breeder. this has been difficult to do. some of the russian queens are not available until june or july. Many here want Russian queens, and the demand for them is high, so perhaps those who are supplying them earlier in the spring are trying to keep up with the demand. (the quantity vs. quality of breeding), not to mention a ‘breeder’ and supplier who stiffed me for $750.

    i was fortunate in the past, i have only kept russian hybrids, and survivor stock of. my mentor, whose experience spans 50 years, immersed himself in breeding and rearing queens, initially purchasing russian breeder queens. i was given his daughter stock. from those i did nucleus hives started from swarm cells, or received additional daughter queens of his stock for divides. these hives thrived and overwintered well season to season, some with marked queens laying excellent patterns in their 3d year, (one 4 yrs.). my average honey production for any one hive, was typically not less than 180 pounds. on the honey he said I was ‘lucky’, I said it was the bees….and the abundant forage area available to them, but year after year of this production and winter success, i would credit to his meticulous rearing of the queens. it is the queen who determines the traits, the behavior, the health and ultimately the continued success and productivity of a colony, not any skill or experience we have as keepers.

    my mentor became very ill, so i no longer enjoy having his queens or his stock to supplement mine. i began to order russian package bees and queens from southern states. i did not have the success i had enjoyed before. what a difference. i learned about ‘quality’. iI became interested in queen rearing, and i believe in order to maintain sustainability, i cannot be ( and will not be) content to continue a practice of just ‘replacing’ queens and bees every year that will not thrive or survive here.

    last year i was fortunate to obtain russian nucleus hives from iowa, not far from me. these nucs built up quickly, wintered well and are doing excellent. hHis queens are not available until mid june, so the need to obtain a couple queens for mid may or so. will make some calls/emails to Indiana and nsqba. i may consider making up nucs with swarm cells, and/or obtaining some queens from iowa later when they are available to try and overwinter.

    queens laying well into the 3d or 4[SUP]th[/SUP] year in the north? overwintering productive colonies season to season when others i know keeping southern packages with southern queens are replacing them every year or sustain significant losses? from my experience, this is why i want northern acclimated and ‘locally’ bred queens.

     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    just my two cents..

    the carni I liked a lot... perhaps it is simply because they are an extension of the italian family of bees that I have always reared. some folks seemed to suggest the carni's (or more precisely new world carnoilaians) swarm a lot but I certainly never noticed that. unlike italians (or perhaps I should say some italians) they do tend to really ratchet back on brood rearing when the flow halts. if I was a bit further north these would likely be my bee of choice.

    as to the contents of the remainder of your thread... adaptation takes a long long time. none of us have the time required to see this happen in the full weight of the end results (ultimate conclusion in the rhetoric of evolutionary biology). selection by the beekeeper 'sometimes' speed this up but this selection can be performed anywhere without regards to location. 'sometimes' being somewhat to highly determined by EXTENSIVE beekeeping experience and the capacity (financial and otherwise) to take a very long view of things <the combination here is almost by definition extremely rare.

    your stated problem likely has nothing to do with where queens or packages were produced*. obtaining queens produced by the date specified is 'the primary' reason why queens are produced much further south. you are simply asking for something that cannot be done (this year given how mild the winter was it could likely have been possible, but most folks in the business will not plan production based on one extremely mild winter).


    *the problem here can be any number of things.. but without a doubt quality of the end product does somewhat fall back on the detailed and quality of the individual queen producer. any number of other things can happen between the time the queen rearing outfit sets the queen or package in the mail and when it arrives at your doorstep. a secondary issue (but perhaps not psychologically second on the list???) is a lot of bee keeping folks are simply cheap and seem to think they are immune to the law which suggest you get what you pay for and nothing more. actually I am not certain it is a law, but it certainly should be.

    try some of Tim's carnis I think you might enjoy some of those. the darker italian line of bees might be also a good choice.
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    thanks for your two cents, Tecumseh

    i agree, adaptation does take a long, long time, and in the scheme of the ‘law of logical thinking, conclusion and consequences’ of evolutionary biology and financial investment, few have the time,the experience and the dollars, to see the end result, when energy and money is spent just trying to keep bees. sort of ‘ pick and choose the battle’ if you will.

    i am somewhat of an idealist and think of this long view. my mentor, the curmudgeon, got a bee in his bonnet, and wore the hat of breeder and rearer, no different than you or anyone in the business, but he did this simply for his own benefit of the long view, to better overwinter, and produce queens with good hygenics and resistance to mites, and he achieved his goal, over a long period of time. he believed rearing queens locally was the key to success, and passed his passion for this to me. (he did not ship them around the u.s.).

    BTW, he is still married…

    to a certain degree, it is unfair for me to take this good experience with him and ‘compare’ it to subsequent less than desirable experiences with queens and packages, and generalize all southern producers in that category, that was not my intent, and i hope i did not offend anyone. i only meant in my ‘law of logical thinking and conclusion’ in comparing the two, the frustration and expense tells me there is something wrong with the big picture, and the long view seems like a better alternative for me.

    without question i understand the primary reasons for queens being produced in southern climates, and you are not the first to tell me that I am asking for something that cannot be done. the thinking part of me knows this but the passion side won’t let me give it up.

    in examining problematic issues relative to the lack of subsequent or consistent success, anything can and does happen, but my logical brain goes back to the comparison of locally reared queens i once had. during one year of misdemeanor stupidity, a most disorganized and unsavory character sent 3 queens to the wrong address and the nitwit postal carrier bunched them in the mail box with other mail, where they sat from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m in 95 d temps.

    to your point about quality, some beekeeping folks are cheap, and some have no moral or ethical compass. laws will never be able to patrol or change this fact.

    thanks for the recommendation on tim’s carnis, i had looked at him as well. not sure about the dark Italians though, anyone else out there in the north have good experience with these?
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Let's look at a metaphor. I want to buy a suit. I can go to a men's store and buy a suit that was made on an assembly line with a few hundred more on the same day, or I can go to a tailor and be measured and a suit made to fit me. Now which way do you think I will get the best suit?

    Again, I can order a queen from a breeder who is raising a thousand or more a week, or I can either raise or buy from someone who raises a few each year.Which way do you think I will get the best queen?

    I don't think it matters where the queen was raised as much as the TLC and personnel attention it received from the one who raised it.
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    i want the queen with the tailored suit, the tlc and personal attention.....
    from a northern store :lol:
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    DANG YANKEES> JUST CAN"T MAK'EM HAPPY!!! :rolling:
     
  15. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    i am a dang yankee but it's the REBEL blood in me :yahoo::yahoo::yahoo:
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    as is often the case (and has been since I read Iddee first post some where far far away on a blog in another universe) Iddee has reduced the larger problem down to it's core.

    there are still a lot of thread in which ever suit you should choose.
     
  17. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I always love the "adaptation takes too long to benefit from" part of the discussion that seemingly brushes aside any efforts of regionalized or acclimatized bees and those making efforts to breed a tad bit more than the average mass produced generic bee that we should all accept as the norm.

    Lets see.... chickens, dogs, apple trees,....the list is endless in the numbers of types that are bred over a short period of time, all selected for cold weather, hot weather, drought resistant, and about any other trait you could think of. New lines are developed almost every year. Chickens that have different egg output, colors, more feathers, disease resistant, etc. Dogs designed for cold weather regions, warm weather areas, dogs with different temperments, work habits, etc. Apple trees that handle cold weather better, bloom at different times, have more sugar, etc.

    And yet when it comes to bees and the "all queens are the same" attitude, some beekeepers are stuck in the same rut thinking that all bees, regardless of type, regardless of where they are bred, are one and the same with no benefit of selection, enhances traits, or any other worthy efforts of breeding programs. That somehow any small benefits would take eons to materialize. Dog breeders, apple growers and chicken folks must think beekeepers are a bunch of ignorant fools.

    It does seem rather interesting to hear queen producers say they breed for gentleness, enhanced honey production, and mite resistance.....and yet dismiss any qualities that does not fit into their own box of selected material for their own promotion, like cold weather overwintering qualities, etc.

    Sounds like a snow job to me.
     
  18. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

    Messages:
    5,162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great point to be considered there BJ! :thumbsup:
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    well Mike I myself don't think all bees are the same but knowing something of the Natural History of bees certainly make any decision I make for myself or advice I might give to others easier. that is, find bees that thrived in some location in Europe that looks pretty much like where you live and go with that. this requires no real process nor understanding of the rhetoric of genetics or science but simply using what appears to have worked for several million years somewhere else.

    most of us 'here' are primarily concerned with the European honeybee??? above some longitude no bees existed in Europe which make you suspect any adaptation above this point ain't going to happen and of course (and evidently a point missed by some) 'adaptation' and 'selection' are not the same thing nor will the lead you to the same place.

    so Mike explain to me based simple on adaptation (and not selection) how many new breeds of dogs or chicken or whatever you have noticed in your lifetime?
     
  20. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ah yes....lets muddy the thoughts and bring out the "definition" of adaptation and selection.

    Ok, the Oxford dictionary of Science defines the following:

    Adaptation: Any change in the structure or functioning of an organism that makes it better suited to it's environment.

    Selection: The processes whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more.

    Can we go with these or do you have others in mind? Are you going to suggest that one involves the possible change in DNA or genetic material and claim that breeders of course can not change genetics due to selection and the enhancement of traits already present? How far do you want to go with this?

    Let's talk peaches... You want a better northern hardy peach tree, you start with the best stock you have already. You take a few hundred trees farther north that they perhaps already grow. You then select the best couple trees that do better than the other 99%. You propogate a few hundred (or thousands) trees from these few select trees, and again select the best of the best. A couple times doing this....and we now have cold hardy peach trees able to better survive and produce than we ever had previously.

    That model has been done to chickens, fruit trees, and about anything else you can think of. Was it adaptation or selection or even enhancement of traits already there....I could care less. You call it what you want.

    Beekeeping is no different. We have different strains. All have different traits that the lines selected over time to enhance their chances of survival.

    But what we have as an industry, is a bunch of breeders, who claim "A queen is a queen, is a queen". Then they take probably the worst of the lines (Italians) and propagate them further in the south. Then ship them north and tell folks that this is the best we can produce for the consumers they market too. And if anyone suggests otherwise, they try to confuse folks with the idea that any real breeding efforts are worthless, throwing in some idea that true selection and I suppose changes in genetics, take eons to complete. They market and sell the concept that they select for such traits like gentleness, increased honey production, and mite resistance. But then also suggest that any efforts of selection of any traits that could make bees better suited for northern climates are complete failure or something unattainable.

    You want better northerm stock queens. Start with the better lines. Select or enhance those traits that allow the bees to adapt and function better in their environment.

    If I wanted to grow peaches in the north, I don't go buy trees from Florida that have been selected and propogated to enhance traits that make them good producers in Florida. I go to a northern nursery who is focused on selecting and producing offspring trees from those that have been selected to better deal with the environment that I will be planting them. It makes sense to me with trees. Why some say it is any different with bees is mystifying to me.

    You can bog it down and somehow justify that with bees it does not matter. But I think the average beekeeper in the north, who may of just bought a cold hardy peach tree or a chicken better adapted to survive in the north, might just also see through the muddy water of what southern breeders are trying to sell them.

    I could care less about your nitpicking the terms. I think many beekeepers see the larger overall message that I am trying to pass along. And they understand the protection, marketing, and reasons why beekeepers and in particular breeders in the south say what they say.

    Got to run. It is bee season.