Be One of the thoughts that comes to mind when it is argued that commercial queens are the best is do they actually pay off .
All kind of breeding is based on selection. If commercial breeder has 500 hives it is difference if you take parent queen from best amoung 500 or best of 10 hives.
BUT last two purchases were not luck because queens showed bad weaknes to chalkbrood. But you never know if you do not try.
To Brian: I bye only a couple of commercial queens and I raise others queens myself. Lets say: I bye a piece of breeders genepool. And I take first generation daughters.
If you use all the time same stock and you are quite isolated inbreeding will happen.
Are your bees good? - You know only if you compare them to anothers.
Last year I make an mistake: I tryed to get disease resistancy to my bees. Now I have so evil hives that I have got more stings than during 10 years alltogether. And too many swarmy hives. I mixed 2 races of bees and now bees are too natural. But I have some splended hives and I change whole stock this summer.