Russian bees suppliers in the USA

  According to the USDA ARS web site: "In the first year of the release program (2000), those who obtained production queens were getting Russian queens that produced hybrid colonies. Because of the genetic nature of honey bees, the Russian queens of the first year produced hybrid worker bees, but also produced Russian drones. These drones were available for matings the second year (2001). During the first year, it was recommended that beekeepers (both queen breeders and those that bought production queens) produce or obtain enough hybrid Russian colonies to produce the drones needed for the second year to produce "pure" Russian matings. Queen breeders will need the Russian drones to produce Russian queens that will foster "pure" Russian colonies. General beekeepers who had hybrid colonies the first year will have a supply of Russian drones that will mate with any Russian supersedure or other queens that may be produced in their apiaries. They will thereby assure that their apiaries with ARS Russian stock will remain Russian. It was not possible for the laboratory to test all of the various hybrids that were produced in the spring of 2000. We expect that at least some of these hybrids would be quite desirable. In such instances, queen breeders might consider organizing at least some of their program to continue to offer queens that will produce hybrid colonies. However, our best prediction is that there will probably be large variations between different types of hybrids, but generally, that they will be within the usual range for commercial honey bees in the United States, which also are highly varied.
Each year, the program will release queens that are sufficiently unrelated to the prior year's queens that inbreeding will be avoided. Of course, people are welcome to organize their own breeding and selection programs that include Russian honey bees. Indeed, we encourage breeders to include some ARS Russian honey bee parentage into their own programs in order to enhance resistance to V. jacobsoni in their own stocks of honey bees. However, attempting to produce ARS Russian honey bee stock by making crosses other than those recommended by the program may result in inbreeding problems. Also, such stock will not have the advantages to be derived from the ongoing selection program.
The current releases of Russian honey bee breeder queens are resistant to V. jacobsoni. This resistance is strong enough to have economic value. Beekeepers should be able to use half as many treatments for the control of V. jacobsoni as they are currently using. The ARS Russian honey bees are not immune to V. jacobsoni. Given enough time, many of them will succumb to the mites. However, ARS Russian honey bees are a good centerpiece for integrated pest management approaches to the control of V. jacobsoni that rely much less on miticides. As the selection program proceeds, the level of resistance to V. jacobsoni in the ARS Russian honey bees predictably will be further improved, and the need for miticides will be further reduced. The ARS Russian honey bee stock is not "finished". Indeed, selection will be continuing for at least several years. Because of this, the ARS Russian honey bee stock will be continually changed and improved for the life of the selection program. This selection program is designed to produce Russian honey bees of the future that will contribute to the gene pool of the honey bees in the United States in two ways. First, it is and will be developed as a stock in its own right. Second, it will be bred in ways that it will be useful as a source of genetic material to enhance existing stocks of honey bees, especially in regard to resistance to both V. jacobsoni and Acarapis woodi. Hence, ARS Russian honey bees, and the breeding program to further improve them, are a resource for all of American beekeeping." (Last Modified: 08/11/2006)

"At the end of Phase II (2004), permanent queen lines were established.  Six lines each from Group A, B, C. (18 lines total !)  Phase III will continue to evaluate and improve these lines and the "Best of the Best" will be released to the industry on a yearly basis by group."

"Following the advice of the cooperating beekeepers and the Office of Technology Transfer, and attending to the constraints of having a limited number of highly desirable breeder queens and the need to have a CRADA (Cooperative Research And Development Agreement) partner in close proximity to Baton Rouge, Charlie Harper of Carencro, Louisiana was asked by ARS if he would be willing to serve the beekeeping industry and function as the CRADA partner. He would be responsible for producing and selling ARS Russian honey bee breeder queens to the industry and also be responsible for collecting information from the industry concerning the performance of the various queen lines distributed by the program. Charlie Harper agreed to assume these responsibilities and began producing group "B" breeder queens for distribution in the late Winter of 2003 and early Spring of 2004. Group "C" breeder queens were released to the industry in 2005, and the 2006 breeder queens belong to group "A". The breeding rotation comes full circle, when the 2007 breeder queens were again be group "B" (LIGHT BLUE + line color (Blue or Red). For 2008:(Yellow blue) and (Yellow purple). "

The 2009 release of Russian breeder queens. There are two lines available: White Blue and White Green.

  I receive many inquiries for recommendations of breeders of Russian bees. The breeder from whom I used to purchase my bees has gone out of business.
However, now there exists the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association.
I cannot comment on the quality of services and products provided by any of the Associationís members.

Back to main Page