I had always wondered what Zia Queen Bee advertised as Survivor Stock Queens and found out this last weekend that they breed queens from queens that have survived a minimum of 2 years. That's impressive in today's bee world. Many beekeepers buy queens from out of state to replace their queens every year. The problem with this practice is that you never have a queen that has proven to be perfect for your environment. A better practice would be to raise queens from the hive in your own backyard because those bees are survivors! I say survivor because of a quote I heard this last week, "20% of your hives will perform great, 40% of your hives will perform abysmally, and 40% of your hives won't survive". Those aren't very good odds of keeping a healthy hive. I should know, having lost 5 queens in a 2 week period of my 16 hives just this season... and we haven't even hit winter yet.
Anyway, I left the class with a determination to start producing my own queens and sharing them with my neighbors and other local beekeepers. I do have to change their langstroth techniques a bit to suit my top bars, but I have some good ideas on ways to make this work. I'm checking my hives this Wednesday to see if I might be able to raise a few queens before I pack up the hives for the winter. Brazil and Guatemala... I'm looking at you, you fantastic queens!
|What's that... oooooh, a langstroth hive. Cool.|
|Melanie, finding a needle in the haystack, or grafting larvae into queen cups|
|Mark, beekeeping without even a veil. Those bees are sweet as kittens|
|Super beekeepers, Melanie and Mark|
|About 19 healthy queen cells ready to be placed in nucs|
The only bummer about this weekend is that it was raining too hard for a graduation bee beard. I need to make this happen somehow!