Package Bees – Randy Oliver
3lb package of California bees with hygienic Marked Randy Oliver queen. The queens in the packages will be marked. See below the Disclaimer for more information.
PLEASE NOTE: Cash/Check discounted pricing and quantity discounts need to be mailed in using our PDF order form.
Cancellations must be made by March 15th, and will incur a $10 cancellation fee per package of bees. No refunds will be given after that date.
All pick up dates and address will be posted on naturesnectarllc.com/blog, our Facebook page, or sign up for our newsletter on our website to get an email. You must pick up in Stillwater, MN. The Bees are not delivered to you. When you sign up for the newsletter, you will get an email to your inbox to confirm that subscription. Make sure to confirm! These emails route to your junk or spam box without confirming. You will not get a phone call.
At times, our California supplier may substitute queen types if they are out of another type. This does not happen very often.
The delivery date may change due to weather. While this is unlikely, it has happened before. If the date changes, it may be short notice. Check the blog to make sure the bees have arrived before coming for pick up: naturesnectarllc.com/blog.
You must pick up bees on the designated day and according to the pick up schedule posted on the blog. If you do not pick up your bee’s during your 3 day pick up window, you will forfeit your bees without refund.
Always wear protective clothing, gloves, veil, and use a smoker when near or working the bees. No bee suit is sting proof. It is the responsibility of the beekeeper to watch for aggressive behavior of the bees. If the bees are aggressive, they must be re-queened immediately. Bees should not be located on small residential lots near people or animals.
Special pricing for beekeeping clubs! Local beekeeping clubs must submit one order to qualify for discount and mail in their order. Beekeeping club orders must designate one person to pick up the bees. Note the name of the bee club and the designee for pick up day on the Name line of the order form.
Randy Oliver Golden West Queens:
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. This is all 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 Oliver’s 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 Oliver’s 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 Oliver’s 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 Oliver’s 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!