When you receive a breeder queen from us, you will be sharing our best breeding stock and benefit from our experience and knowledge of selecting bees for mite resistance. You can be confident that the daughters of our VSH breeder queen will produce varroa-resistant colonies (even when mated at your location to drones that may not carry the VSH trait for mite resistance).


Each breeder queen we sell is produced from a parent colony that has expressed the highest level of the VSH trait. She is then artificially inseminated with semen collected from drones in a different mite-resistant colony. 


We have three options for those who wish to purchase breeder queens for 2017. Option 1: We produce artificially inseminated breeder queens and sell them before they start to lay eggs. This otion is available from April to June. Option 2: We artificially inseminate virgin queens that you produce. This option is for those who want to do more of their own selective breeding and is available from March until July. Option 3: This is our traditional practice of selling laying AI queens after we have evaluated them for brood production. Option 3 will be available after May 15.


Breeder queens that are not yet laying.

Responding to customer needs, we offer the option of shipping artificially inseminated queens before they start to lay eggs and before their brood pattern can be evaluated. These queens have the same level of mite resistance as Option 3 queens. Each queen has VSH alleles and each has been artificially inseminated with spermatazoa that also carry VSH, making her a VSH breeder queen. 


Timing: By offering AI queens before they have begun to lay eggs, we eliminate much of our production time. This enables us to produce more breeder queens and enables you to receive them earlier in the season.

Cost: Because of our lower production costs, we reduced the price of each breeder queen from $300 to $140. We set a minimum order of three queens and a maximum order of eight. Shipping via USPS Express mail adds an additional $35 per order. We guarantee live delivery.


You will be responsible for introducing your VSH queens. You had to do that anyway, but these queens will be different. They will not have laid eggs before you receive them, so they will require a more gradual introduction to the bees. However, once an artificially inseminated queen has begun to lay eggs, she can be treated as any other laying queen. See FAQS Introducing Queens for methods that work best for us. The success or failure of the queens becomes your responsibility after you receive live delivery.

We do our best to ensure that the queens are healthy and well mated with semen from genetically compatible drone sources, but we know that some will perform below par. We surveyed customers in order to evaluate the success of the Option 1 queens in 2016. In our survey we received responses from 12 people regarding 37 queens. 19 of the queens were good (51%), 10 were poor (27%) and 8 (22%) were lost on introduction. This is a small sample but it suggests to us that Option 1 is a good choice for some.  



Your Queens Artificially Inseminated with VSH Semen

This may be a preferred option if (1) you already have VSH alleles in your breeding population, (2) you are able to produce queens earlier than we can, or (3) you want to make your own selections. However, if you provide queens that do not have the VSH alleles, we would not expect their free-mated daughters to produce colonies that are resistant to varroa unless those daughters mate with drones that have the VSH trait. 

Details:  Your virgin queens will need to be at least 7 days old at the time of shipping but not older than 16 days. We will examine the queens for physical flaws and then inseminate each queen with 7±1 microliters of semen and give them two CO2 treatments (to stimulate ovary development). We will clip and mark the queens unless you have already done so. If we receive the queens on Tuesday or Wednesday, we will send them back to you on Monday or Tuesday of the following week. 

When providing queens, examine them to be sure that they have no defects or injuries. Common injuries for banked queens are damaged legs and blackened foot pads (arolia) that should be white. Queens are less likely to be injured if they are kept as the only queen in a small nuc or in a mailing cage with attendants.

Advantages and disadvantages are similar to those for Option 1. Since you provide the queens, the cost is $100 per queen rather than $140. Option 2 has a minimum order of five queens and a maximum of twelve. Shipping cost via USPS Express mail is an additional $35 per order.


Breeder queens that have been laying

As in previous years, we will continue to produce young, artificially inseminated breeder queens that have been laying for about 10 days. Before we release an Option 3 queen, we evaluate her for worker brood production, a solid brood pattern, no sign of disease, and an absence of queen cells. As with queens in Options 1 or 2, they are examined for physical injuries such as imperfect legs and foot pads (arolia).

Genetically, Option 1 and Option 3 breeder queens are the same. Option 3 breeder queens will be available after mid-May, 2017. The price of each queen is $300. Shipping cost via USPS Express mail is an additional $35 per order.


PLEASE NOTE: Regardless of which option you choose, we guarantee live delivery of queens we mail.