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Package bee sales will be available soon! I don’t have a date, there is a lot of work that goes into getting them available for sale. But very soon!

Additionally, we are now proud to announce that we will have a new Queen! Randy Oliver’s Golden West Queens. Randy Oliver and Olivarez Honey Bees are collaborating to produce this queen for sale this year!

Randy has been selecting queens for varroa tolerance and he is providing his queens as an option for you this year though Nature’s Nectar via OHB Honey Bees. They are OHB queens and they are bred in mating yards that are saturated with drones from OHB hives strategically placed to insure authenticity.

OHB is very impressed by their progress. By producing and selling their queens, we hope to support them in their efforts to free us all from the scourge of varroa!

“Randy Oliver and his sons Eric and Ian run the successful migratory beekeeping operation Golden
West Bees in the California foothills, taking their hives to almond pollination each year, and then selling a
thousand nucs each spring (and this without using any synthetic miticides since the year 2001).
While monitoring their hives for mite infestation in 2017, they discovered a colony that maintained
mite counts of zero, without any treatments. Sensing an opportunity to free their bees from the plague
of varroa, Randy decided to begin a serious selective breeding program, starting with daughters grafted
from that “Queen Zero.”
Each year they split and requeen all their 1500 hives, solely with daughters of queens that headed
the previous season’s most mite-resistant colonies. Starting with only a single resistant colony out of
1500, over the years they’ve slowly increased the percentage of their hives that exhibit complete or
partial mite resistance. In the first years, heritability was frustratingly low, but by the 2023 season, in
some yards over half their colonies maintained infestation rates below 2% over the entire course of the
season, right in the middle of crowded apiaries with plenty of mite drift – without the application of any
miticides.
The Olivers don’t select for “looks” and use their queens’ variation in color patterns as an indicator
that they are maintaining enough genetic diversity in their stock. But they do select for performance.
They breed only from queens whose colonies are very gentle and healthy, exhibited above average
honey production, and proved strong for almond pollination.
We are now proud to announce that Randy and Olivarez Honey Bees are collaborating to produce
production queens for sale. OHB has an isolated mating yard, which will allow the Olivers to better
control their drone pool. This is a win-win for both of us, allowing OHB to sell open-mated Oliver queens
mated to Oliver drones, while allowing the Olivers to focus upon their successful selective breeding
program — which involves performing thousands of mite washes throughout the year.
Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a mite-resistant queen – it’s the workers produced by the
queen and the drones that she mated with that confer resistance. That said, the Olivers want to make
clear that they have not yet “fixed” the genetics for mite resistance into their bloodlines, so they do not
yet make any claim that their stock is “mite resistant.” But it looks like you’ve currently got about a 50%
chance that any of their queens might produce a resistant colony – a figure that we expect to improve
each year. Keep in mind that even their “partially-resistant” colonies require fewer treatments.
The Olivers have put a heckuva lot of work over the years into their selective breeding program, and
OHB is very impressed by their progress. By producing and selling their queens, we hope to support
them in their efforts to free us all from the scourge of varroa!”