<chuckle> Well, I didn't intend to start a discussion on the need for raising our own queens, but that's ok. Looks like some good info in spots.
But, really, where would the country be without the southern queen and package producers? Would the blueberry, almond, apple, orange, vegetable, etc., industries be what they are today without the southern producers? Would folks so easily find a box of blueberry Pop-Tops, an Almond Joy candy bar on the shelf, or a tomato in the produce bin when they wanted one? Would there be as large of a variety of breads, cookies, syrups, fill-in-the-blank
...would these industries be smaller? Living in the USA we are accustomed to eating what a large part of the world considers exotic, luxury foods...vegetables and fruits. Many populations exist primarily on a grain/legume/meat diet and the vegetables and fruits that we here in the USA take for granted are foreign to them. Without pollination on corporate/consolidated farms many of these foods would be in less supply, if not absent completely. We import a lot of fruits and vegetables, but there is still a lot produced here in the states. Without the queen/package producers would we be more on a grain/legume/meat diet?
So, without a source of mass produced honey bees and queens, which have been products more or less of the southern states for the last many years, what would be different in this country today? Would our diet be different? Some of our industries? What about the losses that have hit honey bees?...tracheal mites, varroar mites, CCD, SHB....without the mass produced bees would the colony populations be up at the levels that they presently are?
True, without shipped bees the local populations would become more adapted to the local area...drones with genetics from other areas would be less of an influence on the locally raised queens...but, could there be enough of them raised to pollinate the dependent crops? Seems like without large scale producers there would be a large vacuum in the bee world. So, if there is ingress of African Honey Bees into the southern mix of package/queen bees and people decide to not purchase these from the south...what happens when the honey bee populations are small when the major flows start?...Are we all going to start eating grits, black-eyed peas, and dried talapia for our three squares a day?
Or, are there just as many packages and queens produced elsewhere so that the southern production doesn't matter and I've wasted a lot of electrons typing the above??? I'm just a newbee, after all, that doesn't know what he's talking about.
Just some thoughts to go with the original post....sorry to hijack the thread.
BjorneBee, what's with the "(The 99% so I call them....also known as Hobbyists)" remark? I'm a hobbyist but far from being akin to the "99%" group. ?? You had some interesting comments...
FRAMEshift, I've thought along those lines of using packages with local queens/cells. What I've been thinking about is using the packages to build nucs...would a 3# package make a couple of decent nucs? Three nucs?
BlueBee and tefer2... I'm with BlueBee, it shouldn't take much $$ to raise a few queens. I'm looking at the Hopkins/Case method. The reasons for a small beek to use this method see good. One thing in studying on raising queens that I think is a central, very important item is uninterrupted feeding of the larvae. I like the idea that the larvae remain in their original cells with their original royal jelly. My next choice would be cell punching, but the Hopkins method (for a beek with a few hives) just seems to be more appealing to me. I've thought about reducing the laying area for the queen or destroying more cells than normally suggested so that fewer queen cells are formed...that will allow the cell builders and nurses to have fewer queen larvae to attend to and thus give better care to and feed better. I agree that the local drone population can help or hurt the queens productivity and personalities, but if you have a good queen to start with you've got a promising start.
Having said all of that, many people graft and do well with it and I may try that one day, too...but my first attempt will be the Hopkins method.
ray, don't move down here quiet yet...the new year is bringing us 20F nighttime temps with the high daytime temps in the 40s and 50s (well, that's cold for us!
...today, in the low 70s)