Buying high-quality queens is becoming a near-impossible task. Several large queen producers who sell queens year-round exist today but we remain skeptical as to whether they are producing quality queens. In the past few years, we purchased queens from large queen producers. In 2012, we had a 25% survival rate and in 2013 we had a 0% survival rate. During both years the queens were accepted and started laying but within a few weeks, the queens were superseded or just gone. This is very troubling for the small beekeeping operation because queens cost a lot of money ($25-$50). We have purchased queens from four different large queen breeders and failed to have a good experience with any of them. After several unsuccessful trials, we decided that purchasing queens was not working for our operation. It wastes time and money.
In 2013 we started raising our own queens and continue to do so on a larger scale. The survival rate of the queens raised at our apiary is around 80%. We select breeding stock from only the best hives in our operation. Selected queens must come from hives that not only survived the previous winter but also builds up strong in the spring. The hives must have a low varroa mite count and be in the top 10% of honey-producing hives.
Hale’s Honey produces our own queens on a very limited basis mainly to support our own apiary. We sometimes have spare queens for sale, email or give us a call for information about availability.
Please check back later for the status of queen sales for 2021.