Even though the bad weather has delayed queen production this year and caused a delay on our package day, we will be able to bring some extra Saskatraz queens on the same trip.
Most queen producers are fully sold out until July, so we’re very happy to be able to bring some queens with us. Pickup date is still to be determined, but the queens will arrive the same day the packages do.
If you wanted to try Saskatraz bees but didn’t need to buy any packages, this is your chance to get some Saskatraz queens and introduce them to your splits.
This is the only time we will bring bring Saskatraz queens this year.
Remember that if you order a 3 lbs package of bees, it includes the worker bees (about 10,500 bees) and one queen bee in its cage. The package also includes a can of syrup to keep the bees hydrated and fed during their trip to your bee yard. If you want to setup a beehive, you just need a package without having to order an extra queen.
This year, if you bring the empty package box to us by July 2, 2016, we will give you $10 per box of in-store purchases credit.
If you want to order 5 or 10 or more packages, pay attention to our quantity pricing (drop down menu in the ordering page). We have a good price for the single package, but once you add the quantity discount or the store credit for returning the empty box, it becomes a really good deal.
Also, for beekeepers making nucs, splitting their hives or just having to re-queen early in the season, we bring queen bees. This is the only day in the year we bring queen bees and by pre-order only. Later in the season we recommend you to make your own queens. A survivor stock queen you breed from your best queen will be better than any queen we can bring from California or any other warmer state.
The current estimated delivery date is April 16. Once you place an order we will keep you updated on any date change over email.
If you never installed a package before, we will have demonstrations on how to install packages in different kinds of hives that day. We will set a 2-acre parking area so you can park, attend the demonstration, pick up your package and go home to do the same thing in your hive (you can see some pictures from 2015 setup below).
You can place the order online right now. Our walk-in store opens February 13 for the season and from that day on, you could order your bees in person at the store (but we don’t recommend waiting until then because we have limited supplies of live bees).
We are excited about selling package bees and queens to local beekeepers for the first time this year. We are bringing live bees only to our store and won’t be able to ship bees nationwide, as we do with other products.
We will be bringing Carniolan and Italian packages and queens.
The current estimated release date is Saturday, April 11. All live bees will be available for pickup on this date (depending on weather in California).
Queens are selling for $35 each, including Sales Tax. This year we will only have queens available for April 11 pickup (we won’t carry queens during the rest of the season).
Three pound package bees are selling for $120 each, including sales tax (it’s $111.01 plus 8.1% sales tax). Each package purchase includes a $8 in-store credit that you can collect if you bring the empty package box back to us before July 31.
You can pre-order online right now. We have limited quantities and sales are tracked online on first-come, first-served basis. This is the link to the store:
Queen cells are peanut-shaped cells made by honey bees only for a queen bee to emerge out of. These cells do not end up sealed in a hexagonal fashion like that of workers and drones.
Instead, a queen lays an ordinary worker egg in a queen cup if intentionally breeding a queen or an ordinary worker cell. Then, workers will continually feed large amounts of royal jelly – this is what makes the queen develop reproductive organs and a larger abdomen than workers.
Three days after this egg has been laid, it goes into the larvae stage. After five days of feeding, the workers seal the cell and the larvae spins a cocoon around its body. In the cocoon, it turns into a pupae. It will stay in this stage for eight days, during which it develops hair, eyes, wings, and legs.
There are basically two reasons for which you would like to mark your queens:
Sometimes it’s really hard to see the queen in your hive if she is not marked. Marking her will help you to see her faster and you will be sure that she is in the frame and not “walking in the garden”
Each year the color of the mark changes, so you know exactly how old your queen is.
The queen is marked with a dot of paint on her thorax (the part of the body between the head and the abdomen), and to be able to mark the queen, you will need to use a device that will help you in this task.
There are different varieties of queen marking paints in the market. We bought some time ago a pack of 5 pen type markers and these are the ones we use every year.
Below is the International Color Code you can follow to mark your queens
The mark should be small, in this way will not cover any other part of the queen body.
Many times, the queen that comes in a package comes already marked. But this is not always in this way. If you are a new beekeeper and bought an unmarked queen we can help you a little by showing the way we do this task.
We hope the images are helpful for you 🙂
First step is to “catch the queen”. For that, you can use a helpful tool called “queen catcher”, it’s a
small plastic tool that opens when you squeeze the handle. Once the catcher is totally open put it over the queen and very carefully close it.
Second step is to introduce the queen in another tool called “tube marking”. It is a clear tube with a plastic mesh in the end. The tube is were you will literally (and again, carefully) drop the queen in.
Once you have the queen inside the tube, is time to use the “plunger” which is a little stick with a sponge in the end. Slowly you will start “pushing” the queen with the sponge until she is barely touching the plastic mesh. Be careful in this step and don’t squeeze so hard.
Now you have the queen in the correct position. You have her thorax on the top and she can’t move at all, but don’t worry, these tools are specially design for this task, so, if you work with care, the queen will not be hurt at all.
It’s time now to finally mark the queen. For this just need to use the pen with the correct color for the present year, and make a dot in her thorax.
Wait a few seconds to allow the ink to dry completely and then you can release the queen in the hive again. While you wait for the ink to dry, you can take a look and verifying that she is doing OK.
To release the queen inside the hive, we just open the tube and lye it on top of the hive, you will see the queen walking to the end of the tube and quickly she will go inside her hive.
And now the queen is “on duty” again ! Now you will always (or almost always) see you queen while she is working in the frames and…….bad for her…….you will know exactly how old she is 🙂