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European queen breeders

 
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Kelo
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:44 pm    Post subject: European queen breeders Reply with quote

Where in Europe - apart from Denmark - do people buy queens from? I take it you can import queens or do you need to fill in forms etc first?
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess Russia is an option?
I know Russian bred Queens have been imported here, not sure of the paper work involved though.
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madasafish
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Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 880
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cyprus, France Germany..Slovenia etc...
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andy pearce
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Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the right time of year you can buy Queens here in the UK. This means they are not imported from anywhere else thus avoiding all the problems we have discussed at length on this forum. If you really want to help bees in the UK buy our native Apis mellifera mellifera queens, they are the bees that have evolved here to cope with the variable weather we have on the Atlantic side of Europe.

Can I remind those people who come from anywhere where the European honey bee is not native that we still have the vestiges of a native population here in the UK and the conservation of this sub species and and its ability to cope with highly variable weather is a highly important part of our biodiversity. We suffer from hybridization of these honey bees by imports of sub species from central and southern Europe which could possibly make honey bees less fit to live here. I actually believe it to be part of our responsibility as bee keepers to preserve our native sub species, otherwise what is the point?

Of course some would argue that the native honey bee is dead and gone...hybridized out of existence (which is not the case) and we should adopt a more agricultural/production approach, breeding 'better' bees etc. The reality is we are hit hard by the weather and we need bees that can cope with it.

The best analogy I can think of at the moment would be like trying to conservation graze our mountain uplands with Race horses, Frisian cattle or Beltex sheep, and killing off the breeds (the Exmoor ponies, the Highland cattle and the Herdwick Sheep) that actually could do it in the process. They wouldn't last long.

Yes you can import queens but why would you do that.....?
A
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Kelo
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a question, that's all. I had no intention of importing queens but was simply inquisitive as to where queens could be had because try as I might I couldn't find the answer on line.
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imkeer
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 203
Location: Belgium, Antwerpen, Schilde

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I couldn't find the answer on line

That's a good thing for the conservation of native bees and ecological balance.

I know a lot of bees and queens are sold from Italy, particularly from Sicily.
Commercialisation of breeding is a bad thing if you ask me (but you don't, so...Very Happy).
I'm only a beekeeper for 6 years, and how I see it, the art is to breed locally adapted bees. Biodiversity is the key, not racial purity...

Luc P. (BE)
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In 15 years of beekeeping I've never had the need to buy a queen or ever requeen from my own stock for that matter.
I don't rear queens, but my bees do! They do love to swarm and swarm and swarm! They know what they need and I leave them to it. The only times I have had failures is when I have intervened by making splits etc.
I have dark, locally adapted bees and would certainly agree with everything Andy and Luc advocate.

Was delighted to get reports this week that three of my colonies' swarms that I caught and gave away last summer have made it through winter. I've not had an update from the fourth one yet, but all 7 of my colonies have been flying strongly when the sun has come out here (sadly, we've had a lot of damp, cold, foggy weather the past week, whilst the rest of the UK has been basking in sunshine and smog), so in my view locally adapted bees are the key to survival.

Curious to know why you would want to know or ask about importing queens on a "Natural Beekeeping" website?
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Kelo
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just how many people on this forum have 100% native British bees do you think? If you don't want people to ask questions please just say so.
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think 100 % of the people here just wanted to "help", by asking about your motivations. And the question on the importations is a debatable one. Especially in natural beekeeping.

There are many many breeders in Europe, but they of course specialized. So what kind of bee you are after? Dark bees? Buckfast bees? Italians? Carnicas? Russians?
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imkeer
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 203
Location: Belgium, Antwerpen, Schilde

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So in case a natural beekeeper would prefer to have dark bees, and no one around has them realy, it would be good to be able to get them from somewhere. Is there a breeder that's specialised in darkies?
They wouldn't be local of course, but it's already better locally adapted than carnica or buckfast?

Luc P. (BE)
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prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If you really want to help bees in the UK buy our native Apis mellifera mellifera queens, they are the bees that have evolved here to cope with the variable weather we have on the Atlantic side of Europe.....

.....I actually believe it to be part of our responsibility as bee keepers to preserve our native sub species, otherwise what is the point?

.....Yes you can import queens but why would you do that.....?


A person might turn to imports having come across the wall of silence which (in my personal experience) a lot of the British amm breeders use to field off potential customers, maybe because:

1). we don't live local enough to them -a lot seem to have an attitude of:

Quote:
'I wouldn't dream of sending amm to that place because they don't already have a local population -but, I don't want them to import anything descent either'


2). that they can't produce enough good queens to meet demand (and fill their own in-house requirements) but don't want to admit that in the face of the UK buckfast breeders who manage to knock out good quality queens by the hundred.

Now, compare that with the warm welcome which often comes back from an enquiry to continental breeders (if you make some effort). In fact, even though I never purchased bees from them a couple have turned into occasional but long term correspondents who are always happy to talk bees.

My point is that for people to take the often discussed qualities of the native amm bees more seriously, the breeders who have the stock need to be more customer friendly. If they think that it's not their job to pander to the wannabes that wish to use amm then that's fine because by not distributing their queens all they're actually doing is forcing people to find out for themselves that you most certainly don't need a native bee for your stocks to flourish from year to year in the United Kingdom.
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="prakel"]
Quote:


1). we don't live local enough to them -a lot seem to have an attitude of:

Quote:
'I wouldn't dream of sending amm to that place because they don't already have a local population -but, I don't want them to import anything descent either'




I can second this experience. I was told that unless a larger area of beekeepers around me all requeened with AMM stock there was no point my introducing AMM colonies to the area, as the local drones would diminish the genes in the ensuing generations.

I was disappointed but I suppose I thought he was probably right. It would have encouraged some AMM genetics back into the area though surely?
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Kelo
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can certainly see where my question threatens the balance of the stability of the Old Boys' Club where people like me are tolerated rather than encouraged. The cheek of me asking such an abhorrent question about where queens come from in Europe! I obviously had sinister intentions of diluting the gene pool of the mixed breed British bee with the one queen I may have imported – if I had had the inclination, which I don't. I was simply curious, nothing more. If I have a thousand hives it would be different. I have one.

Perhaps someone could draw up a list of no-no questions that are not allowed to be uttered just in case the sensibilities of bee-keeping junta are offended. Personally, I would be relieved and delighted that people are asking questions to gain the experience that is so obviously lacking in the new bee keeper rather than them going down a road that so many others have obviously taken.

I have trained many, many people over the years and those who were the most successful were those who weren't afraid of asking questions, awkward questions, too, at times, yet they were answered as honestly as they were asked. If you don't want us here don't let us in. It seems that the warnings I was given about some of the people on this forum are true, sadly, after all.
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So are you interested in an answer? Or not? More details would help. There are thousands of breeders, what are you looking for?

Or do you want to stirr in the hornets nest only?
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Kelo
Nurse Bee


Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure of how many ways there are to say this - I was only asking. I don't want anything from Europe. I was merely curious. This is not a difficult concept, surely? Why is this becoming such a crucifixion for asking a question?
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want a clear answer to your question, I suggest you phrase it in a way that makes your intentions clear. You asked, "Where... do people buy queens from?" and the answers reflect the fact that most people don't regard importing queens as a good thing and have given their reasons.

If you don't like the answers, then maybe you need to ask a better question.
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WileyHunter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 125
Location: Batesville, IN USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaunreiter wrote:
So are you interested in an answer?...

Or do you want to stirr in the hornets nest only?


Being from the wrong side of the puddle to even think about providing an answer, i have read through the thread several times and felt that it had been answered sufficiently. That the region has a sub species, native to the area is truly awesome, and certainly worthy of attempting to preserve. I don't see where the ones who answered early on came at the op in an attack, they seem to me, to have the good intentions of helping a strong native gene line to survive.
I can relate to this, through an example with quail. Where I live, Bobwhite Quail used to flourish, but do to many inputs from man, their numbers are very low. I have a nice sized farm (about 300 acres), that I am trying to revive. Part of what I am doing there is habitat improvement, I want to restore some of the dwindling wildlife, including quail. Well, having lived out in the great southwest, we had several species of quail there, that are in a few ways better than Bobwhites. My brother in law has become rather insistent that I order eggs/chicks of those species and we turn them loose on the farm. Tempting as that may be, that does nothing for the native species, or habitat improvement. I may have more work ahead of me, but I believe that we should only be putting Bobwhites back where they once thrived.

That being said... This thread is edging very closely to needing to be locked down. Kelo, I don't believe anyone has, or intends to, attacked you for asking the question. Wanting to know more about why you ask, is a way to help them provide better answers. If there is nothing productive, for anyone to add to this discussion, I suggest that we just let it rest.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kelo, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend, it just bugs me that people go for the "conventional" option without perhaps giving thought to the implications of it.

I know that sometimes I come across as dogmatic and I apologise for that, but I hope I have the good of the bees at heart. I get frustrated sometimes with conventional practices. I want to make people think about their options rather than go for the obvious or easy one. I appreciate that importing a queen is not necessarily the easiest one, but it suggests a very conventional mindset.

Where in Scotland are you? I'm not a queen breeder, but as I said, my bees ARE and will throw numerous swarms and casts before the summer is out. I currently only have two people on my list for a swarm this year and whilst I won't part with a queen on her own (I believe a colony of bees should be treated as a whole super organism, not individual parts) I would be happy to put you on my swarm list and give you one of mine if and when I catch them, assuming you are within traveling distance to collect them. If I know what type of hive you have, I will do my best to accommodate the bees in a suitable profile box until you are able to collect. I believe bees should be free and I am prepared to put my bees where my mouth is.
I can't, of course, guarantee that they are pure Amm, but the strain is dark and since I have had them for 15 years they have maintained the same characteristics both of temperament (pleasant) and colour and swarminess Rolling Eyes .

I made this offer some time ago in the sales and wants thread, but so far I've only had one taker, so there is a good chance of you getting some if you are interested.

Regards

Barbara

For the record, I'm not against conventional hives... I have 2 framed hives, a framed nuc and a hybrid hive which is half framed and half free comb, as well as top bar hives. It's conventional ideology that frustrates me.
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly I do not think anyone has been hard on the OP. The question was asked and a number of replies given. I put the view forward about Amm and local bees. Some of the replies questioned motivation but I think due to the nature of the question asked that was fair enough and plenty of useful discussion has happened.

To comment on a number of issues arising on the thread.

Once I met a well intentioned new beekeeper who had bought packages of Italian bees from a major supplier who had no idea that we have a native honey bee and was regretful that he had gone down this line. He bought ten packages and by the time he contacted me for help he had three for one reason and another, I do not think he has any now. I now make a point of challenging the idea of importation and the original question did hint in that direction. There is no malice intended, just the challenging of an idea.Those of us that are here on this forum who raise or answer discussion points on the whole answer politely, or add opinion or observation to a thread which may inform or get people to think about their bee keeping and this is one of those issues that does raise questions and produce discussion. For those who live in places where the European Honey bee is not native the issues we have here about sub species are really only important when deciding which sub species to buy in relation to the climatic conditions they live in which may or may not be a consideration, indeed some beekeepers working with locally adapted bees may object to some one bringing in a load of Carnies next door.

Yes, Amm breeders seem to be hard to find and I offer that as a criticism of the breeders...the organisation for this is BIBBA an email to them may be helpful The fellow I had mine from failed to produce very many last year... the queens hatching a day early did not help, and also a big waiting list also did not help. This year I know he is going to produce more queens and I am waiting to see if he has them for sale. If and when he does I will let folks know.

But I have seen lots of adverts for local queens and there has been an initiative for local associations to produce local queens....you can get them, but not now, later on in the season.

A quick look at a major bee supplier is offering Amm queens for £40 and a local bred Queen for £40 the latter currently out of stock. Another big bee supplier is offering British bred hybrids for £50 from May. Another site is offering Amm for £32....These bees are available, in time, unless there is something that I do not know about. I know a major bee supplier is buying up North Welsh Amm nucs and selling them on.

I have no problem to continue repeating my views on importation and keeping bees adapted to places where climatic conditions are markedly different to our wet and windy islands. If I do not put forward this view I can not see any point to biodiversity and conservation and may as well apply for a licence to import Apis cerana and have done with the varroa problem.

So a further answer to the issue is Amm are available so are locally bred queens. Some leg work may need to be done to get them. This is probably the last I will say on this thread. But this issue is not going to go away.
A
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prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andy pearce wrote:

A quick look at a major bee supplier is offering Amm queens for £40 and a local bred Queen for £40 the latter currently out of stock. Another big bee supplier is offering British bred hybrids for £50 from May. Another site is offering Amm for £32....These bees are available, in time, unless there is something that I do not know about. I know a major bee supplier is buying up North Welsh Amm nucs and selling them on.


The biggest problem which I encountered (and I did make efforts to source amm queens from either England or Wales) was the hopeful breeders who would claim to have locally evolved/highly suitable stock and then be unable to get any surplus queens mated -in the same time frame as I've been able to produce local winter hardy, but very yellow, mongrels. Waiting for these breeders just costs yet another season -I'm actually now entering my third season on the waiting list of one particular guy; I email him at the start and close of each season just to make sure he doesn't forget me because it's now become a 'thing' in itself to see how long it takes him to produce a saleable highly adapted native bee (the fact he failed to do so last summer doesn't bode well in my opinion).

I think I know the traders you reference above but am happy to be corrected if I'm wrong; the one selling £40 amm queens showed a 'not available' listing for most of last summer, not sure about their local reared mongrels; the £32 amm are I think from the company that imports Greek reared amm of French parentage! If I'm wrong on that please pm me so that I can follow the lead up.

The supplier who's buying up 'North Welsh Amm nucs', would that be the one who's charging an extra £65 for the amm nucs than they are for their 'buckfast' ones (£255 compared to £190)? Perhaps the breeders who are selling their nucs to that company could do themselves more good in the long run by forming a loose co-op with their own sales point.

Quote:
So a further answer to the issue is Amm are available so are locally bred queens. Some leg work may need to be done to get them. This is probably the last I will say on this thread. But this issue is not going to go away.
A


Some leg work does need to be done. Which brings me back to my original post in this thread -outlining a reason why people do turn away from the idea of a native bee. The challenge of the search may suit some people but most want a fix-it now solution and they're the ones who form the larger part of this market.

For the most part I'm trying to avoid the issue of local mongrels because I see no point what so ever in spending £40 or £50 on a mongrel queen which is probably no better than someone with even a little idea could raise for themselves at home.
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Merinos
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Joined: 12 Sep 2011
Posts: 163
Location: Brussels, Belgium

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fact selection has between others , one objective: standardization.

All hives populated by bees from the same selector will do more or less the same way.

If one dies , most will die.

Queen producers are sending bees to professionals . They buy lots of them.
If you ask for a price for 300 queens, you will get it.

All 300 queens with more or less the same genes... the same resistance... and mated by the same drones. If your queens are poor for your area, they will be all bad.

On the other hand you can find people that love to see their bees evolve. one hive is good, an other is less. On biobees you will find this specie of beekeepers.
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