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The Bee Blog

A quick look into Randy's Queen Breeding Program


Beekeeper of the Year -Randy Oliver is a renowned beekeeper and researcher known for his expertise in honeybee biology and queen breeding. He has developed a successful breeding program for queen bees aimed at producing healthy and productive colonies. Here are some key aspects of Randy Oliver's breeding program and why we support the Oliver family with our Spring Nucs Sale.  The Nuc list is building so please get your orders in now for Nucs.  We sell out of Randy’s Nucs every year.

In order to get your Randy Oliver Nuc,  a payment in full must be made to reserve a Nuc.   $400 on a card. $375 cash discount.  Queens are not marked in Randy's Nucs. You will be placed on a list and a Nuc hive will be reserved for you. Again we will run out.  

  1. Selecting Parent Stock: Randy begins by carefully selecting strong and disease-resistant colonies as the parent stock for his breeding program. He looks for colonies that exhibit high honey production, resistance to pests and diseases, and good overall traits such as gentle behavior and longevity.

  2. Varroa Mite Resistance: Varroa mites are a significant threat to honeybee colonies. Randy emphasizes breeding for varroa resistance, selecting those colonies with genetic traits that show resistance or tolerance to mite infestations. This helps reduce the need for chemical treatments and promotes healthier bees.

  3. Genetic Diversity: To maintain genetic diversity and avoid inbreeding, Randy incorporates genetic material from different sources into his breeding program. This diversity helps produce stronger, more adaptable bees that can cope with environmental changes and challenges.

  4. Hygienic Behavior: Bees with hygienic behavior are crucial for colony health. They can detect and remove infected or dead brood, thus helping control pests and diseases. Randy selects for colonies with high hygienic behavior to improve overall colony health.

  5. Performance Testing: Oliver conducts performance tests to evaluate the offspring produced by his breeding program. He assesses various traits, including honey production, brood rearing, disease resistance, and temperament. Only the best-performing colonies are selected as breeding stock for future generations.

  6. Natural Selection: Oliver mite washes 1,000+ the hives once a month. If there is a mite, that queen and hive are out of the breeding program. If there is no hygienic behavior,  that queen and hive are out of the breeding program. If brood pattern does not measure up, that queen and hive are out of the breeding program.  If honey product is not strong,  that queen and hive are out of the breeding program.  And temperament. At age 9 my son was in short pants and a veil while working Randys selected hives.  Gavin was doing mite counts that week and did not get stung. Only when all the boxes are checked,  that queen is in the breeding program.  

  7. It is the daughters of these special queens that go into our Randy Oliver Spring Nucs. The nucs are checked by Randy and Eric(son) and then we transport at night when the temperatures are much cooler and better for the bees. 

  8. We do not have a specific date yet.  Weather will determine nuc arrival time.  

  9. ​Why do we go to such great lengths?  Because we are passionate about the bees!

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