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Author Topic: Sunkist Queens  (Read 7749 times)
RZRBCK BEE
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« on: March 10, 2011, 11:36:44 AM »

Anybody ever had the Sunkist queens or use them now? Know anything about them? Just wanting to know your experience with them. I'm fixing to try some.Thanks
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DCHoneybees
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 10:25:11 PM »

I have two on order from Russell.   Looking forward to building a huge pair of colonies!
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RZRBCK BEE
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 10:49:33 PM »

Yeah me too. I lost a few hives over the winter and have 4 left. Planning to split some and try his queens. Hoping for the best.
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Hiveyleague
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 08:15:37 AM »

Yeah me too. I lost a few hives over the winter and have 4 left. Planning to split some and try his queens. Hoping for the best.


 DCHoneybees  who is "Russell"? Sorry to have to ask but I'm brand new here and tried a search for this member and also "Sunkist queens" but didn't have any luck doing so.

   Thanks
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2011, 09:02:04 AM »

Yeah me too. I lost a few hives over the winter and have 4 left. Planning to split some and try his queens. Hoping for the best.



 DCHoneybees  who is "Russell"? Sorry to have to ask but I'm brand new here and tried a search for this member and also "Sunkist queens" but didn't have any luck doing so.

   Thanks


http://www.russellapiaries.webs.com/
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Hiveyleague
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2011, 11:17:49 AM »

Thanks  for the link VolunteerK9
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johnnie
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2011, 01:40:45 AM »

sunksit build up early like no other the sheer number of bees in the hive is staggering
and they are gentle.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2011, 09:48:16 AM »

I also don't have any experience with them, but placed my order early this year in hopes to try them out. Super excited.
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kbfarms
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2011, 04:49:09 PM »

Can't wait. Have one on order.  Need to figure out how to manage them before I buy more !!! Wink
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Apple Farmer
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2011, 08:37:54 PM »

Having read a loy of great things about SunKist bees, I ordered 4 and received them a week later.
Made up 4 nucs for the new Q's. I did a candy release on three and a direct release on the fourth.
I was really happy to see that fourth queen walk across the frame and down followed by a lot of her new colony.
After three days I checked to see if the Q's had been released all 3 had. Then I saw queen cells starting to be drawn on the side of the frame. Long story short...I lost them all! Found one Q dead on the bottom board and the others were nowhere to be found.
Checked again today...day 8 no SunKist Q's but they have drawn out Q cells to make their own.
I made 10 splits and requeened 5 hives last year with 1 loss(that was replaced No Charge NDA by the supplier). I'm waiting to hear from Dr. Russell.
I hope those of you that have some coming have better success than I did.
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tom
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2011, 01:45:50 AM »

I would like to know more but i and a freind of mine has not gotten any of the queens we orderede back in january and we can not even get anyone to answer us back.


Thomas
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2011, 02:02:05 AM »

Got a dozen of em little over a couple weeks ago.  To early to tell anything but they are supposed to be the beez Kneez.  They have all started laying up a storm so far, we will see what happens.  If I notice anything in particular Ill let ya know.
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Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2011, 01:31:57 PM »

bee-nuts,

How are those SunKist doing? What did you put them in - nuc or full? How long where the hives queenless before putting the SK's in? Did you do candy release?
The reason for asking all the questions is I lost 4 of 4 SunKist a couple weeks ago and after many attempts Robert got back to me saying they stand behind their queens and to let him know when I want the replacements shipped. I do not want to loose the next 4!
If the other nucs I started with queens from Kohnen hadn't taken of like gangbusters I might have developed a complex! Now I'm thinking that the little southern bells I got from Robert didn't care to socialize with my northern ladies. 3 I couldn't find and 1 was dead on the bottom board with no sign of being mauled!
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2011, 02:35:53 PM »

I started them in in small three frame nucs.  I have lost a few too.  This is not something rare from what I understand but has been a thing with hes bees from the number of folks I have talked to now.  I have to go and take a look at them today.  I have been to busy to really pay any real attention yet.  I will get back to you tonight.
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Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2011, 04:23:31 PM »

I received my replacement SunKist queens from Russells yesterday. All are alive and look good. I'm waiting til tomorrow to install them in my nucs.
bee-nuts I watched all of your videos on youtube. I hope these SunKist perform as well as yours.
I like your method for wintering. What is the silver material you put in the top? Where do you get it?
By the way your mail box says it's full. Can't send you a pm.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2011, 08:10:23 PM »

Yeah, my sunkists turned out better than I first thought.  75% turned out nice. Others a coin flip at this point but from what I have seen from the good ones I am a happy camper.  They have to make it through winter though to amount to squat to me.  They do lay to full potential, I wonder though if they starve to death in a dearth.  If they want to raise brood like they do now during a dearth, you would go broke feeding them, lol.  I will empty pm box.
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Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2011, 07:17:53 PM »

 Russell's did replace the 4 SunKist queens that I lost. I let the last one out of it's cage a few minutes ago, after waiting 5 days to make sure they were accepted.

Now the long tense wait to see if they are as good as I hope and they build up like mad before winter. Pretty good flow on right now with white sweet clover and alfalfa blooming.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2011, 02:06:41 AM »

I looked up the Sunkist queens on Russell Apiaries web site, but I’m still confused.  If they are such heavy layers and produce extra large colonies, isn’t that what most of us want?  Why are these queens only now being offered if they’ve been using them internally for all these years?  I’m not being cynical here, but if you’ve got a corvette designed and built, why wouldn’t you be selling it all along?

We also hear the number bantered around that a good queen will lay up to 2000 eggs a day (in the spring), has anybody provided a number of eggs per day a Sunkist might be expected to lay? 
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specialkayme
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« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2011, 09:49:12 PM »

They do lay to full potential, I wonder though if they starve to death in a dearth.  If they want to raise brood like they do now during a dearth, you would go broke feeding them, lol.

I just checked up on my 2 Sunkist hives for the first time in 10 weeks (long story). We are in a dearth right now, as just about all of summer is. The 2 Sunkist hives had more honey left over than any of the other 6 non-Sunkist hives. In addition, nearly all 6 of the other hives stopped rearing brood, waiting for a flow of some kind, but not the Sunkists. Both hives had every cell full, of either brood or honey. I don't know how they are still rearing brood without consuming the honey, but I don't really care. I'm a happy camper!

Why are these queens only now being offered if they’ve been using them internally for all these years?
 

Dr. Russell was selling them before. Has been for nearly three generations (or is it four now?). Only up till this year he was selling only to commercial operators. They booked his orders. He tells stories about some commercial operators that send him a blank check and write in the memo line "send whatever you can."

From what I've gathered, Dr. Russell decided to make the strains available to the general consumer, more as a betterment to the beekeeping community. He doesn't make much of the hobbiest (or sideliner, really) but he still bends over backwards to help you out, all in the name of the beekeeping community.

has anybody provided a number of eggs per day a Sunkist might be expected to lay? 


No clue. Send Dr. Russell an email, he might know.
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2011, 01:37:26 AM »

I have found my sunkist's to lay wall to wall both in the frames and to the wall of hive bodies, thats right all the way to the outside wall.  I also noticed more honey.  More bees, more honey.  They build up very,very, fast.

Robert Russel's father past away this spring.  His father ran the company till this season.  His father only sold queens to large beekeepers and did not mess with the little guy and for good reason because he knew the P.R. nightmare it turns into.  When you go from selling 100 plus queens as a minimum or whatever it was to 1 queen per customer, you have a lot more people calling demanding the status of an order.  If we are lucky, we will have access to his queens next year.  I will be ordering more if they winter.  Even if you cant afford to buy very many, if you get two and one is a dandy, its worth breeding from as far as im concerned.

I only wish  I had a yard far enough away that I could try a couple of the old a.m.m.'s 
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« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2011, 02:33:32 AM »

Thanks for the added info guys.  The Sunkist’s sure sound interesting.  Please keep us posted on how they’re doing. 

Bee Nuts, you might want to add an electric bee heater into your hive just to make sure that Sunkist makes it thru winter grin
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Vance G
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« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2011, 04:32:49 PM »

Russells advise starting these in large nucs or requeening colonies so the queens can utilize their potential because that way they have the existing nurse bees to raise the eggs they are capable of laying.  I didn't listen and put them in small splits that were still building at the end of the season.  I am waiting to see how they winter.  The colonies went into our long winter with over 100 pounds of stores but If they don't shut down brood laying that will not be enough.  I will be weighing them again the first warm day my wife doesn't preempt.  They did build up well with end of June 2 frame splits completely filling two deeps with bees and honey with no supplimental feeding.   One went queenless and was tipped over by a cow after requeened so is not included in that general statement.   I have twenty pounds of dry sugar on top of it so that one is still part of the study I guess. 
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TwT
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« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2011, 04:50:28 AM »

I am going to try 10 of Russels Buckfast queens this spring, might try a few sunkist queens.
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yockey5
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« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2011, 10:11:53 AM »

Well chit, now I am a wantin a couple of them. ;^(
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Vance G
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« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2011, 06:16:33 PM »

Just like looking at the seed catalog and kinds of chickens to get in the spring!  Fond farmboy memories but same same now on my beek fetish.  I will see you sunkist and I have 10 moonbeams ordered!  Nanny nanny!  That is a joke son!
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tedlemay
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« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2012, 10:52:54 PM »

I have 1 sunkist nuc i started this fall. 3 ordered for the spring. hoping they do well. My fall nuc so far is doing well.
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SmokeEater2
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« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2012, 09:51:56 PM »

I've got one on order this year too. I'm looking forward to seeing how she compares to the Carnies and the swarm mutts.  Smiley
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gundalf
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« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2012, 09:28:57 PM »

Just got my first SK cordovan on Friday morning and introduced her by noon...   Checked back today and she was still in the cage but the hillbilly bees in my hive had built comb on part on her screen but had not gotten her free...   I removed the screen and allowed all to access the hive...   Hope it all works out...   The hive has been queenless for several weeks and I supplemented with a frame of mixed brood/ honey twice...   She's a beauty, if she does well, I'll start switching...   I'll check back on Sat or Sunday to see if she has taken her throne and post an update...   I'm still kinda new at all this, but love my ladies...   They call me "sugar daddy"...
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gundalf
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2012, 07:07:56 AM »

 huh Checked on Sunday, but found no eggs, larva or queen...   I think she's gone...   Looks like this hive is doomed...
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2012, 08:32:00 AM »

Could be but I would wait a couple more days just to be sure.  I feel for ya.  Is this the only colony you have? 
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Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2012, 05:44:21 PM »

raise your own queens they seem to do much better and dont supercede like bought queens just my opinion breed from your best producers Chris
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gundalf
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2012, 08:04:50 AM »

Could be but I would wait a couple more days just to be sure.  I feel for ya.  Is this the only colony you have? 

No, I have two others and two packages coming on Sunday...   Russell Apiaries are attempting to help and I am going to find a frame of brood/larva/eggs in my best hive and install it in my failing hive to determine for sure if I am queenless...   If so, they have indicated that they will send me an replacement queen quickly...   I think that I'm sold on Russell and if she works as well as everyone says, I'll requeen another hive or two and get some of my beekeepers club members into them...
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jaseemtp
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« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2012, 09:56:09 PM »

I have 12 ordered for deliver some time the end of April or first of May, weather permiting.  I hope the cordovan sunkist are as fantastic as people say. Im super eager to try them out.
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SmokeEater2
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« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2012, 10:35:40 PM »

My Cordovan SunKist arrived this morning and she's a beauty!  I made a split (2nd this week) from a strong hive today about noon and although I normally leave the new colony queen less for 24 hours before introducing a new queen I tried something different with the SunKist queen.

 I've read several posts from people describing how easily their bees accept these queens and decided to find out for myself. I took the queen out to the new hive about 5:30 and laid her cage on top of the frames to see how the bees would react to her. They immediately crawled all over the cage with no signs of aggression and several started fanning right away.

 I went ahead and put the cage between 2 top bars and the bees seemed very happy and calm. They took to her much easier than the Italian queen I gave to a split 2 days ago.
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