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mikethebee 

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THIS IS A FACT this year up to end Feb I have taken more orders for imported Queens than ever before doesn?t that tell you something!

Reports I have back from all beeks;
failed queens, -----80% due to bad mating UK raised 2008
drone layers,------- 60% due to bad mating UK raised 2008

Now why do you think that is, I ask?

Ask Norton----------sold out
Ask Bickerstaff------? June only if lucky
Ask Batsist----------? Sorry to late
Ask Turner spain---Sorry none till July
Ask bens bees------ none unviable
Ask Dominapi-------ring in June
Ask pasco-----------no more orderstaken
ASK BBKA---------- maybe in 2012

If we ban imported queens please tell me where were going to get queens from and when?
There is nowhere in the UK that can produces queens until June July weather permitting, the fact is its too late for a crop of honey for most.
all the best mike
 

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Mike, you are right. Nobody is going to argue with you that last year wasn't the best year for queen rearing. You are also right that people are not prepared to wait until June for UK queens as they won't get honey off this year.

But, if people (New beeks especially) changed their attitudes to long term sustainable bee keeping and husbandry. And knew they were not going to get a honey supply until year two, then this would really be much less of an issue. You as a supplier naturally have to do what ever is necessary to meet that demand. I can't see this changing, or the need to lower the dependancy on imports, until peoples attitudes change. It will happen in time as more and more young people get involved in bee keeping and want self sufficent sustainability. It won't be long before people start questioning the carbon foot print of a queen that has travelled half way round the world. People are becoming more and more aware of these matters.

Right now as things stand. I agree with you that you have to make decisions based on demand. In time though that demand will hopefully move towards something more home grown and sustained. But until it does then thats just what's going to be. I am not going to be a hypocrite and say otherwise. I myself have ordered 5 queens from Bikkerstaffs for delivery in May. I would prefer UK, but there just aint none around. The next few years will change I am sure as we work towards the establishment of a UK rearing programme. You never know but this may even benefit your business as I suspect that if more and more people rear in queens in small numbers, a surplus may appear. That surplus could be sold by you for a premium. The TV chefs are all doing it with UK reared pork and chickens. So why not bees?

If you don't make the move towards home grown UK queens, then in time I am sure someone else will take the idea and run with it. Thats the nature of competition in a capitalist market. I really do think though that people would pay a premium for a UK reared queen that had been overwintered. Just like they do for a free range chicken, or an organically raised pig. You could quite easily get a market head start on it if you really wanted to.

Nothing is impossible if people work together and solve the problem.

Jay.
 
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taff.. 

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You are also right that people are not prepared to wait until June for UK queens as they won't get honey off this year.

But, if people (New beeks especially) changed their attitudes to long term sustainable bee keeping and husbandry. And knew they were not going to get a honey supply until year two, then this would really be much less of an issue.
Jay.
As one of the new Beeks that you are refering to in this post I must say I have absolutely NO expectation to have a crop of honey this year.

I am not in such rush to get my bee's as to be ordering from any of the suppliers but will be getting started from a local Beek, this is not to say I wont order any in the future
 

Mission 

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Hi Taff, good for you mate!!

Your clearly viewing the husbandry as more important than the demand for honey. Your one of the many of us who feel sustainability comes first!
 

Crg 

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There is nowhere in the UK that can produces queens until June July weather permitting, the fact is its too late for a crop of honey for most.
There are some schools of thought that requeening in autumn is best, so in theory the fact that UK produces queens later in the year isn't really a problem for existing colonies.

Obviously if you are splitting in spring or replacing queens that may have died during the winter etc, then it can be.
 

admin 

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Could we expect the same honey yield from a uk bred queen as we do from a good import?
 

Mission 

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I have a buckfast queen (reared in Birmingham) who's colony, in just 10 weeks capped a little over 110lbs of honey. In my local BKA, members including the chairman who had imported a queen or two - didn't get any where near that from established hives.

I think a good queen is a good queen, no matter where it originates from.
 

Mission 

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I think she is F2. I will have to go back through my record sheet and have a look.
 

Hivemaker. 

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You mean a mongrel,but yes they are just as good as any import, will collect just as much honey, and know when to stop brooding. but there are also good qualitys that can be used from imports. And this country cannot produce enough queens for the demand.And any large scale queen breeder in this country would of gone bust last year,if not before. Where are the large scale queen breeders in the uk,the one's that breed thousands of queens every year for sale?
 
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jimbeekeeper 

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There is nowhere in the UK that can produces queens until June July weather permitting, the fact is its too late for a crop of honey for most.
all the best mike
Mike I am with you 100%, you are right here right now for the current market, but it will change and people will demand change, I hope you can keep up with this change (thats lots of change because there will be change:hat:)

Just be straight and honest with people and you will not have to defend yourself.

There are more people like Taff starting beekeeping who are in the know and undestand that they will not get a UK queen and honey harvest in their first year.
 

taff.. 

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Hi Taff, good for you mate!!

Your clearly viewing the husbandry as more important than the demand for honey. Your one of the many of us who feel sustainability comes first!
The way I think about this has been moulded by doing Dog agility for a number of years.

When we first started we were keen to get competing and winning trophies, 5 years later we've come to realise that the training, spending time with the hounds and their welbeing is the important thing. The ocasional trophy is ace, I had a number of placings last year but it is not the be all and end all :)

The same is to be said of beekeeping, I love honey and to produce my own will be ace, to be able to sell a few Lb even better but having healthy colonies and not killing them off by f*cking up is the most important.
 

mikethebee 

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Mission mr clegg Thank you for your offer?
copy
But, if people (New beeks especially) changed their attitudes to long term sustainable bee keeping and husbandry. And knew they were not going to get a honey supply until year two

I suggest you have another think about no honey the first year? You can have lots of honey from starting your bees in the same year, if you manage them right?

It?s not the beeks attitude you have to change! It?s yours and the weather it is just not suitable that?s why I gave up queen rearing 5 years ago,
I have done exactly what you want to do and I wish you well, but I give you fair warning I think you have no chance at raising UK queens early, June being the earliest (and even then the weather can turn nasty for days) and that?s to late for a crop of honey.

ALL THE BEST MIKE
 

Mission 

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Hi Mike.

I know it is possible to get honey in the first year, especially if you get your bees early enough. And that is why your business is a success, because you can supply that demand and give them instant results.

I took 110lbs of honey off a colony started last year and headed by a UK reared queen. So I know it can also be done with UK reared stocks.

The real fact is that people are demanding early bees wanting the instant success of first years honey. That is what drives the demand for bees in April. Impatience.

The UK traditional practice of get a colony, expand to 10 frames, stick on a super and take as much honey as you can, and then give them sugar syrup to replace the honey is outdated. It's poor husbandry and it's unsustainable. I read somewhere else a bee keeper saying sugar syrup was better than honey for the bees in winter. That's a stupid comment. If sugar syrup was better then honey, then the bees would have evolved to produce sugar syrup rather than honey! Sorry though I am going off tangent......

The most sensible approach to UK bee keeping would be to get a colony around May, June or even July (in some areas). And then ensure this colony had sufficient time to establish itself and build a nice colony with some decent stores. Then allow that colony to take itself into winter. In the following spring, allow that colony to build up to strength and look to take a solid honey harvest. It's good husbandry as the bees come first, and the honey comes second. It's sustainable because the survival rate of bees through the winter will be higher given the optimum conditions at which they go into the winter.

Your imported queens (which I reitterate I have nothing against) give bee keepers that demand instant results, the opportunity for those results. However in time, I personally feel that as more and more people realise that long term sustainability and good husbandry are what ultimately drive success. You will see a change.

That change will happen and I will explain why. Education. The generation of bee keepers that are coming are being educated heavily on climate change, environmental change, being self sufficient, being aware of the carbon footprint of the things we use, protection of our environment. They also have a good handle on basic genetics etc. All the GCSE examinations over the last couple of years can be downloaded from the AQA web site. Look at the science papers and you can see for yourself. Within the next decade many of these kids will be becoming bee keepers, if only on a hobbiest scale. It will that generation that drives the change.

Right now Mike, you have nothing to worry about. Your customer base demands early bees and you can supply them. In the future though I feel things will change. If I am wrong then I am wrong, it's just my opinion.

I still think you take every comment I ever write as a personal attack. But I am not the kind of person to get involved in mud slinging. I agree with the fact that you have no choice but to import queens. I am not attacking you personally for running your business and meeting demand. All I am saying is that in time the system that drives that early demand will change.

The offer of help with your web site was genuine.

Jay.
 
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Mission 

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You mean a mongrel,but yes they are just as good as any import, will collect just as much honey, and know when to stop brooding. but there are also good qualitys that can be used from imports.
To be fair Hivemaker - nearly every colony that exists in the UK, is a mongrel. Unless of course the queen has been artificially inseminated with controlled stocks. Even bees in mating stations cannot say 100% that any breeding is line bred and pure.
 
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Hi Folks
I do not want to get involved in the import foriegn queen argument again. I would however like to share a couple of observations. I have one hive with a purbred Bikerstaffes Greek queen and one with a Greek cross I raised last year. I have 3 other hives, recently purchased with queens raised by the Bee Keeper for the lasr 40 yrs.
My hives with Greek stcok have been active on mild days since january. They are all out when the temperature reaches 9 or 10 degrees. The hives are full of brood and they have been taking in large amounts of pollen firstly from the acconites and now from the crocus. Th hives are spotless and produced 20ilbs of surplus honey each last year in their first year.
The English bees only get moving when the temp is 13or 14 degrees. They have small patches of brood just being laid. There are only about 20% of the bees in number. The floors of the hives were filthy.
Careful selection of a queen from an outside source can have benefits. The one draback that I can see is that the Greeks are much more feisty than the calm English
 

Chris B 

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I took 110lbs of honey off a colony started last year and headed by a UK reared queen. So I know it can also be done with UK reared stocks.
Hi Jay,
I take it that's the nuc from me. If so I'll add a bit more detail. I reared the queen in 2007 from a Buckfast breeder sent from Denmark, but she herself was reared here. She was open-mated but I put about 20 colonies headed by Ged Marshall queens nearby for the drones. We ended up with about 120 new queens going into winter but later matings were poorer and colonies failed.
Your queen was good but I selected her for proven good temper above everything else. I made the nuc up mid-June by splitting her colony, and you got the half with the original queen.
The interesting thing was the colony work-rate and growth after splitting was much quicker than neigbouring hives. A bit like a swarm really. The reason they made all that honey was an induced accelerated work rate and they peaked later in the season which obviously suited your locality. There's no way the same bees could have made more than 30 or 40 lbs for me.

Anyway, Mike says "imported queens for more honey". He also says "if you manage them right". The management is the most important thing. There are so many variables, some controllable and others not. Importing queens for early splits is something I tried with fairly good success a few years back, but I've come to realise there are more important factors for a good crop of honey. LOCATION is number 1 on my list. A good swarm control strategy is probably number 2.
 

Mission 

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Hi Jay,
I take it that's the nuc from me. If so I'll add a bit more detail. I reared the queen in 2007 from a Buckfast breeder sent from Denmark, but she herself was reared here.
Hi Chris,

Well she is doing an amazing job! I saw her on Sunday whilst reversing the brood chambers. She still has a huge colony of workers, capped brood and larvea. I couldn't of been any happier with the bees you supplied.

I am hoping to take a queen off her this year, with a view to replacing her in the hive for next season. She is going to be getting a little long in the tooth by next year, but if she lives over the winter this season she is going to be moved into a breeding hive and used exclusively to rear my queens next year.
 

Busy Bee 

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Would anyone like to comment on Bee Disease and tolerance from imported bees. I have been informed that local bred bees which you can get tested for strain of DNA are better suited for our temperate climate, it has been suggested there are four different type of native black bee which are more resistant to disease and can sustain a balance control for organic infection over and above imported bees, whereby they show liitle sign of slow start to colony colapse. Does the forum not think it is more important to sustain our native heritage than to suffer pound signs in our eyes for honey production. I have noticed that mikethebee is more interested in profit, I feel this is very dangerous as he has shown no regard for bee health, well he hasn't mentioned it in his threads. Yes I can see how he will prove his bees are healthy but I should suspect you can only claim disease free bees if they have been tested in approiate government based laboratories. Which will inform you how healthy you colony is.

Just my thoughts


Busy Bee:confused:
 

Hivemaker. 

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Busy Bee
what are the four strains of black bee,where are they found,and who does this dna testing on them. Could you also explain the organic infections they are resistant to.
 

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