Michelle will be putting out more information on package orders as it becomes available.
Stay warm and enjoy our wonderful winter,
***Note--Upcoming "Snow Queen"meeting for those interested. Following is the note from David Payant with details.
December 30, 2014
To: All Beekeepers interested in
breeding a Superior Snow Queen
Dear Fellow Beekeepers,
I have obtained a date and venue for a meeting to plan a queen rearing project for 2015. The meeting will be at the Peter White Public Library, Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 6:30 pm
. The meeting will be in the library basement (the art center), tentatively in room #4. I know I said a meeting would be scheduled in February when we last met, but I think we need to meet earlier so we can order queens prior to the 2015 season.
The widespread failure of the packaged bee queens this year leads me to believe I should replace all my packaged bee queens in 2015. Also, replacing these lousy queens will mean the drones we have to mate with our survivor queens will be of better quality. I was hoping others will also be interested in preparing a joint order.
I foresee participation in this project at different levels. Some may want to provide larva from outstanding survivor queens to make into virgin queens. Others may wish to go the whole 9 yards and mate the queens with quality drones. The mating requires a higher level of commitment since mating nucs will have to set up and the mating of the queens controlled so they mate with quality drones. Hopefully, the year after next (2016) some of the queens we produce in 2015 will survive the winter and can be used for another round of breeding.
I suggest the following for an agenda:
1. 1. What characteristics should we select for? I intend to advocate we select for: 1) Winter survival, and 2) Honey production (See the excellent YouTube by Dean Stiglitz on bee genetics and the importance of having clear selection criteria.)
2. 2. We need to select a research director to keep records on the breeding program. This is essential to developing good genetics.
3. 3. When do we want to distribute queens? 
4. 4. Who will do the grafting/queen rearing?
5. 5. Do we want to do any mated queens or just distribute virgin queens?
6. 6. If we are mating queens, do we want to do something to assure quality drones? 
7. 7. Should we distribute virgin queens for free? (I say yes to free unmated queens.)
8. 8. Should we re-queen our packaged bees? 
9. 9. Would anyone like to participate in a joint queen order?
10 10. We should we set another meeting to plan dates and who and where we will make the queens? I assume we will not be able to choose which queens will be used for grafting until we see whose queens survive the winter. We will need another meeting to decide this issue
Here are some queen breeders I like:
Cold Country Queens---Bob Brachmann, from upstate New York (Purebred Russians I have one of their queens that survived 2 winters.)
Meghan Milbrath---She is a member of the Northern Bee Network in the Lower Peninsula.
Mike Palmer----he is a commercial bee keeper from Vermont
Log Cabin Bees---Bill Sprenkle, Pennsylvania VHS queens.
All of these breeders have an internet presence. I hope some of you may have some ideas on where to obtain quality queens.
I have been reading and watching YouTube lectures on queen rearing. Here are some of my favorites: 1.) Queen Rearing in the Sustainable Apiary--a YouTube video by Mike Palmer (see all his videos they are all very good.), 2.) Dean Stiglitz, YouTube video on queen rearing which includes a very good primer on bee genetics, 3.) Queen Rearing Essentials, a book on basic queen rearing, 4.) Successful Queen Rearing--University of Minnesota book on queen rearing by Dr. Marla Spivak, 5.) Nicot Queen Rearing by Grant Gillard, the Nicot method does not involve grafting.
I welcome additions and ideas for the agenda. Let’s make this meeting what we want it to be.