Buckfast Queen Bee | Mated Buckfast Queen Bees for Sale
Introducing a new line of mated buckfast queens for sale for the 2021 season.
Buckfast Queen Bees, bred in Northumberland are a result of years of development selecting from VSH (varroa sensitive and hygienic) queen mothers. We aim to provide buckfast queen bees for sale in the UK, addressing the shortage in quality home raised and bred queens.
Northumberland VSH Buckfast Queen Breeding
- Bred from Queen Mothers showing Varroa Sensitive and Hygienic Traits (85% + VSH).
- Calmness on the comb giving a good character to work with therefore suitable for beginners.
- Low Swarming Tendancy, maintaining large colonies that are easy to work with.
- Excellent honey gathering potential with breeders producing in excess of 50Kg of honey per year.
Importance of Varroa Sensitive and Hygienic Bees
Varroa is one of the single biggest threats beekeepers face. Responsible for transmitting viruses varroa left to it’s own devices will in most circumstances result in the death of the colony. Bees however are adapting, and in some colonies the varroa sensitive and hygienic trait can be observed.
These bees demonstrate the highest hygienic behaviour and are capable of disrupting the varroa mites lifecylce by uncapping infected cells.
Not only do these bees have hygienic behaviour, but they also have the usual Buckfast characteristics of being very docile, showing low swarming tendancy and excellent honey gathering potential.
As varroa becomes resistant to an increasing variety of mite treatments we have a responsibility as beekeepers to explore more natural treatment methods. At the forefront of natural methods is breeding bees which are able to naturally cope with varroa. Those bees showing VSH behaviour disrupt the lifecyle of the mites by uncapping infected cells, often they will also remove the infected larvae, but this is not always necessary as it is thought simply the disruption of the cell is sufficient to interfere with the metamorphosis of the mites and thus prevent mites reaching sexual maturity and therefore prevent the mites replicating in the cells.
How we select for Hygienic Behaviour
Drone rearing colonies and queen mothers are seleted based on our usual criteria. That being: honey production, temperament, low swarming and disease resistance. We then go through further by culling an area of brood in these selected colonies. When the pupae is at the red eye stage, a selection of 100 cells are punctured, culing the pupae. Hygienic behaviour can be determined by the % of brood removed over 24-48 hours. Only those attaining 85% or more hygienic behaviour are selected for breeding.
We have used these queens in our own honey production operation and have extremely good feedback to give, with a lower varroa load, treatments being much more successful and overwintering / survivability is much increased.
How we raise queens
We graft in Queen Right cell starters and finishers, which stimulates the supercedure impulse for raising cells, which is known to produce a better well fed queen larvae than in a rushed stimulated queenless starter set up. Once the cells are sealed we transfer to an incubtor for the cells to hatch. This ensures that the temperature and humidty during development is exceptionally well controlled and the development of the queen is as near to perfect conditions as can be.
On the day of hatching, the virgin queen is introduced to a mating nuc (we use Apideas in preference). These apideas are situation in one of two queen rearing valleys we have depending on the breeding of the queen we are looking for. These valleys are populated with at least 20 drone rearing colonies to ensure the areas are flooded with our drones.
After 2-4 weeks the apideas are checked for successful mating. Once there is sealed brood the queens are then marked for being available to ship or use in our own colonies. Queens are only caged on the day of sending and not banked unlike many other commercial breeders who bank queens.
Mated Buckfast queen bees will be available from end of May through to September. Earlier weeks become booked very quickly so we advise if you are looking for a mated Buckfast Queen for Sale plan ahead and pre-order in good time.
Generally queens are caged on the same day as posting. Alot of producers will bank queens (ie cage for long periods of time in order to manage stock) we prefer to let queens lay fully up to the point of postage in this way you get a queen which is ready to get laying straight away.
Postage and Collection
- Postage – Queens are only sent by Royal Mail Special Delivery as this is a guaranteed and insured service. It is too risky to send queens in the normal post by first class.
- Collection -if wanting to collect, please select this option, but liase with us via e-mail or phone for a suitable collection time. We can usually supply queens for collection at quite short notice. But nonetheless arrangements need to be made to ensure your queens are available for collection at a given time as we are a working bee farm we need to ensure plans can be made for collection that fit into our beekeeping schedules.
Marking and Clipping Queens
- Marking – Queens will be marked white in keeping with the year colour code. Occassionally if we are trialling new breeding lines these queens may be marked with a numbered disc or multiple colour which simply helps us with tracing their breeding lines and helps us to keep track of information about queens.
- Clipping -Queens can also be selected to be clipped or not. The advantage of clipping is that you are less likely to loose a swarm as the old queen cannot fly from the hive, nonetheless it doesn’t take the risk of swarming away completely but signficantly reduces it.
How to Introduce a New Queen Bee
Terms and Conditions
- Queens found dead on arrival – a photo should be taken and sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org on the day of arrival. The queen must then be returned to us in the original cage and packaging with the contents intact for examination.
- Laying patterns and quality – all queens are checked before being sent, however rarely queens may become drone layers if mating with insufficient numbers of drones due to poor weather etc. Any queens that are reported to be drone layers should be reported to us within 21 days. If a queen is reported to be a drone layer we ask that the queen is returned to us alive for examination in a queen cage with attendents and fondant. Sent by royal mail special delivery. We will then assess the queen, checking the spermatheca and if found to be infertile within 21 days we will send a replacement. In the case of replacements of mated queens, the return postage cost will be borne by the customer, but the replacement queen will be provided free of charge . Queens will only be replaced once.
For full terms and conditions for bee purchases please see here