Update March 2018: I’ll be breeding queens again this year but mostly for my own use. I might sell some queen cells or virgin queens if people place orders greater than 20. I want to focus this year on my own operation and honey production. I’ll revisit breeding mated queens for sale on a larger scale in coming years.
March 2017: If you’re interesting in trying some tried and true Albertan genetic stock, you might be interested in our Snow Queens, available for sale this year. Over the last six or seven summers we’ve been breeding queens for the following characteristics:
- High wax production with ability to draw out perfect comb with and without foundation.
- High propolis production.
- Excellent winter survival with minimal inputs. Snow Queens get their hive through winter on fall food reserves and build up quickly in spring.
- Low prevalence of diseases. Most beekeepers I know don’t like treating for pests and diseases, so having some degree of natural resistance is the name of the game here.
Snow Queens are winter hardy Alberta mutts. They’re heritage is Carniolan and a smidge of Buckfast with a probably a dash of Italian because they’re open mated. Their starting point were bees that had been bred in Alberta for thirty-five years, so at this point they’re as adapted to Alberta’s climate as a bee can be. We’ve been intentionally selecting for high wax and propolis production and we feel like we’re seeing results on those fronts. We also don’t use fumagillin or antibiotics in our hives, so the bees are hopefully developing some coping strategies for bacterial and fungal infections that can be passed on genetically.
Snow Queens are perfect for:
- Requeening packages. Requeening packages is the perfect strategy for minimizing diseases while ensuring strong, vigorous colonies.
- Building later season splits or nucs.
- Requeening colonies with old queens.
- Getting some local, Alberta-hardy genetics into your hives. It’s fun to try out new genetics! Snow Queens are a good jumping off point for experimenting with different philosophies in beekeeping management because you know you’re starting with stock that can survive here.
Snow Queens are $35/queen plus shipping. They will be available from June through the end of the summer. Please email to place an order: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pick-up and shipping days will be every Wednesday of the summer. The earliest start date is weather dependent so plan on late June and you might be pleasantly surprised with some queens a bit earlier than that.