JCBA Queen Initiative
At the July 2016 meeting, it was discussed that the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association begin a locally raised queen initiative. Many members were in favor of the JCBA exploring a queen initiative program, and decided further discussion/exploration was merited. Basically, such an initiative would encourage members to begin raising queens and swapping genetic material from within the county. Queen initiatives are becoming popular in many areas of the country. These initiatives promote local production of queens, thus lessening demand of queen produced in other locations. The benefits for such an initiative are many including preventing the influx of disease, pest, and Africanized stock. Many of the queens imported into the state come from areas that have natural populations of Africanized honeybees. Breeders cannot guarantee purity of queens produced in these areas since most queens are open mated with drone stock of unknown origin. One of the biggests risks with such initiatives is the increased chances of inbreeding of stock.
The Three Rivers Beekeepers Association began such an initiative earlier in the spring of 2016. They are focusing on locally produced queens and nucs. According to John Timmons, their local is working hard to set up and begin such initiative by next spring. John was very interested in working with the JCBA in this endeavor, and felt that by sharing information between clubs would be a big benefit to both locals. In addition, it would provide a larger pool of genetic stock for members to work with. In addition, John stated that he would be willing to share any information with the JCBA to create a queen initiative.