Our Queens are REARED WITH TENDER LOVING CARE. We use queenright starter/finishing colonies that feed the developing queens more royal jelly than queenless colonies. Because queenright colonies are raising the queens under the supersedure impulse, they do not cap the developing cells as soon. This extra day of feed before the queen cells are capped produces a larger higher quality queen. Some breeders force their cell builders to feed as many as 52 cells at one time. We put a maximum of 20 cells in each builder at one time. With an abundance of young bees to feed a small number of cells, the developing queens are much better fed and are of higher quality. When the queen cells mature, they are moved from the builder colonies to the mating nucks (nucleus colony) where the cells hatch and stay until they mate and start laying. Most breeders use what are called "baby nucks". These are miniature hives with very small frames and a small number of bees. We feel that better queens are produced when you have a larger number of bees in these mating nucks. For that reason, we use a 10 frame full-depth box divided 3 ways. Each section has three 9 5/8" full depth brood frames covered with bees. In 2014, we will also be using 5-frame stand-alone nucks and half frame 9 5/8 inch deep frames. These nucks with a larger population of bees produce larger, higher quality queens. It is much easier to judge a new queen's brood pattern under these conditions as it gives the queen much more room to lay. We hold these young queens until they have laid long enough for the eggs to hatch into larvae. That way we can judge the brood pattern before we cage the queens. When we cage the queens for shipment to you, we inspect the queen and judge her for size and color. Off color queen are rejected and not caged.
Our Bees are MAINTAINED FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. We have been breeding bees for forty-five years and the program we developed results in superior queens with only three lines. We use a modified line breeding program that was very successful in other plants and animals for many years. A simple explanation is that we maintain each bloodline using line breeding selecting breeders within each bloodline. Each bloodline is maintained as a closed mating population. Queens in each blood line are not out-crossed to any other line. Production queens that we sell are a cross between each unrelated bloodline. Since our production queens are mated to unrelated stock, there is very little or no inbreeding. All line breeding programs eventually result in some inbreeding. We bring queens from one line and raise daughters from them and back cross them to the other unrelated line. As each generation is back crossed to the unrelated line, it becomes closer to the original line before the unrelated queens were introduced. After about five or six generations, the process is repeated. The result is a bee that does not change over a long period of time.
Our Bees are BRED NOT TO SWARM We test potential breeder queens for tendency to swarm. We crowd a very strong colony and watch for signs of swarming such as queen cells. We select those colonies that build few or no queen cells for breeders. One common way beekeepers increase their colony numbers is to capture swarms from their own and other beekeeper's colonies. The problem with that is you have bees from colonies that tend to swarm. That breeds this undesirable characteristic into the next generation of bees. We select from those that do not swarm thus breeding this desirable characteristic into our bloodlines.
Our bees are the BEST. Because of the tender loving care we give our bees and the many desirable characteristics, our bees are one of the best stock on the market today. From the selection of the breeding stock, maintaining blood lines, to caging queens we strive to produce the best bees available anywhere. Try our bees and we think you will be well satisfied.