Roger Patterson & the huge queen shortage?

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


House Bee
Nov 24, 2008
Reaction score
Gloucestershire uk
Hive Type
Copy from Roger Patterson.
in my view there is no need whatsoever to import bees or queens.
I have shown it is perfectly possible to breed bees that are suitable to your locality from what is already there, and great strides can be made quite quickly.

Roger have you seen the amount of useless failed queens produced in the uk last year, don?t take my word for it ring the importers there orders have hit the roof

Copy from Roger Patterson.The answer is simple. If irresponsible beekeepers didn't import bees we wouldn't have had varroa in the first place.
That?s Brother Adam your talking about, Varroa first found in Torbay Devon just a few miles from Buckfast.

Many members of our BBKA branch buy queens from local 'importers'. This practice seems to have increased as result of the high winter losses and people wanting to quickly re-establish their stocks

The HOUGE reports from beeks desperate for queens this year, has been due to queens failure , cells, swarms and drone laying queens all produced last year. I have not had one tell me it?s from an imported queen.

BombusSwarm at dover
That report was in Beecraft!! What it did not tell you was that a Mr Sharp living at West Hougham had an apiary just outside Farthing-looe over looking the Port and had reported it was his bees.

Mr Clegg Mission looking back at your post you were going to breed masses of Queens this year and offer free mated nucs to all the new associated members are you still on track?
I have been telling beeks to apply for there free nucs from there associations in Scotland?s highlands lowland and isles. To date all have ordered there bees from other sources as its imposable to get them from associations.
It would be interested to see if anybody has had any supplied free from any associations this year as you promised.
All the best mike.
I think the Huge queen shortage is only a sign of the increase in demand for the hobby/pass-time or what ever you want to call it.

Some people can not change and like to stick with the "good old days".

I will not hide the fact that being a proud English Yorkshire man, it is always best to buy British (for what there is left), but until that day queens/nuc/hives are needed.

Maybe if older beekeepers had pulled their finger out a few years back and got making nucs / hives there would not be shortage?
Last edited:
thanks Jon and I see that the part the Mike quotes has vanished.

It's a very difficult issue. I will post my personal predicament shortly but I am under time pressure today to finish decorating a room before we take off tomorrow.

There is a guy on the BBKA forum just posted offering 5 frame nucs with British bred queens for ?50. Collection only west Cornwall.
Looks like a bargain whatever forum you read.
Mr Clegg Mission looking back at your post you were going to breed masses of Queens this year and offer free mated nucs to all the new associated members are you still on track?
All the best mike.

Hi Mike, You will of course recall that I had proposed a plan where if we all worked together to raise our own queens, we could then pass these on to local associations. This was a plan based on a 3 year strategy that could be implemented once the practice was proven as viable. The idea being that it would take a year to get up to speed on queen rearing, a year to roll that out to pilot associations, and then a year to roll it out nationally. The idea is viable but the reality is that the BBKA won't back the plan with anything like the necessary publicity or energy. With this in mind and the whole pesticide issue, I am not renewing my membership of any BBKA affiliated associations next year.

One thing I have come to realise is that those who actually care about queens and imports, are the very small minority who spend time discussing it on forums. The majority of bee keepers actually don't give a Sh*t where they get their queens from. So in many respects you were right when you said the plan would not work. The problem is not the plan, but the majority of bee keepers who really just dont care.

So instead I have decided to concentrate my energies on building up my hives to a sufficient number to allow me to enter the bee supply business and compete directly with you. You have no idea how excited I am about the prospect. Obviously this requires significant backers but I wrote a full business plan and this attracted the investment of several organisations that support young entrepreneurs. I think you referred to my business plan idea as a "day dream". However on that one you got it wrong. It will take 5 years to grow the business to a level where we impact your sales, but thats O.K. Nothing good ever happens overnight.
I would rather hope that Mike will be thinking of retiring in around 5 years.
Jay, I'm so pleased to read your post. That has really cheered me up (not that I was miserable at all) and I wish you all the best with it. The UK is crying out for young, go-ahead bee producers who will work for the good of beekeeping. You will have rough years (for example the last two have been terrible for queen raising, giving a temporary boost to the importers) but I think that you will succeed. I'm not sure that you are right about the general lack of interest in the provenance of the queen. Certainly not N of the border (maybe you should move here, where an indigenous queen raising industry is seen as an essential part of a healthier future for bees!). Actually, I take that back. You may have serious competition as I'm aware of another go-ahead relatively young beekeeper up here gearing up for substantial properly home-grown nucleus production.

Good on you anyway. Have you been able to source good strains of bees for your enterprise? Teaming up with those expert in the selection of stocks might be a good idea.

Mike: I was speaking at an association last night that has recently given free bees to 7 of their beginners. Personally, I think that associations should be selling them at competitive rates - and I've been trying hard to get our association an association apiary where we can raise nucs for sale as well as teach and share expertise. I'm confident that the associations in general are going to get their acts in order over beginners courses and the supply of bees.
Last edited:
HI Gavin also Mission
I am not renewing my membership of any BBKA affiliated associations next year.[/I]
YHOOOOOO I take me hat off to ya it has been a long time and a lot of contradicting posts?
So instead I have decided to concentrate my energies on building up my hives to a sufficient number to allow me to enter the bee supply business and compete directly with you.

You are welcome to come and take a look around maybe you might like to offer me a business venture to take it all on before the price goes sky high!!
The new building 100ftx50ft starts being built, Incorporating an AI lecture room, class lecture rooms, hands on workshop, floor heated extracting rooms, and many more ideas, This will enable me to reduce the price of the package bees and nucs cutting you out.
First breeder queens imported in today 350 we start to extract the nucs from our breeding boxes replacing with the new queens and I am afraid a lot are for Scotland
It will take a day or two stuck at this computer and on the phone contacting DECEMBER /JANUARY/ FEBUARY customers to collect there nucs
All the best mike
and i thought i was doing ok with a great plan of twenty hives and a shed at the alloment, but these guys opperate in a differant planet even the two proffessionals i worked with in wales and warwickshire look small compared to mike, and would i want to follow them no thanks i know what it takes to help run a beekeeper with a thousand hives and alltho i would like to do more breeding and experimentation these two are well in another league
Well think on running 2500 boxes. :)

the labour answer is Eastern European squads.

However the real devil is where do you put them all?

I am paying by the byte for this? JK

Hives laddie hives.

Skye is still awesome.

bees sold out of devon and cornwall are some times a bargin for several reasons, it is always advisable to tell youre bee inspector when you buy bees and ask there advice.

Latest posts