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Rotto love nest creates WA’s best queen bees for honey supply


Rottnest, it seems, is the bees knees for bees.

WA’s premier holiday island has emerged as a crucial breeding ground for the State’s bees, largely because of its distance from the mainland.

For six weeks every year, tens of thousands of bees are taken to the island to breed, free from exotic diseases and genetically unsuitable pests…


Several things: hives of drones? And $1000 per queen? Can that be right? Hard to believe.


Yep, the drones might be overstated but the price isn’t.


I agree on the “hard to believe”. I’ve interpreted “hives of drones” to mean “hives that have drones” and “$1000” to be “$100” (which is still pricey).


$1000 for a queen isn’t overstated??? Wow…


Are they the most expensive queens on Earth??


Most disease and pest free for sure. This year you could get a few as cheap as $650 I believe. They are exported all over the world as well.


Not sure what disease and pest free means to them. My queens here are bred with SHB and wax moth around, so they have a fighting spirit. There are no other diseases as far as I found out.
You wouldn’t pay that price for low immunity and genetic inexperience (if that even exists).
There must be a reason why people pay for those queens. I don’t get it. Yet.
To me, insecticide free could be a point. But we have that here far and wide too.


It’s pure genetics @Webclan. No other types of bees on the island. No diseases no parasites. What does an AI queen cost? The fact is that they are bought not only interstate but intercontinental also. They must be good. I don’t get it either but I’m no professional. I would however spend a grand on a power tool if it will save me money in the long term and time.
One of my colonys produce more honey than the others and it is supposably a pure strain, which I doubt. It is a good colony though.


Hi all,

And I choke at $40 to $50 per Queen ! I know we do have a few Highend Hybrids at $100.00… if I was a local breeder those prices might make sense but for this old man … I’ll pass ! :blush::+1:.




What confuses me is that all you could hope to do was breed up from those queens- and if you do that after the first generation they would already only be half ‘Rottnest’?

Also I wonder what Rottnest has- that kangaroo island doesn’t? KI bees can’t cross to the mainland or vice versa- and it is a great wilderness location with vast swathes of native forests still left. But I don’t think KI queens sell for anything like that. Having said that I tried to buy a KI queen and couldn’t none of the queen breeders returned my calls…


The thousand dollar queens might be the queens that queen breeders breed from. At a thousand dollars for one queen, that would be right up the scale as far as $s per kilo goes. That is assuming that it’s not a misprint.


I’ve googled around and it seems it’s real. Looks like maybe Landline on abc may be doing something about it soon.

If those breeders bought a queen wouldn’t they lose half the genetics on the first round? I wonder if they have breeding yards set up with Rottnest based genetics and try to keep them removed from random drones? Or are they just happy with the insertion of some ‘Rottnest’ every few generations- or what? It could only be queen producers who could pay that much for a queen.

I’ve been thinking about this in relation to my Italian bee long hive- all the local swarm bees seem to be the darker types- and now my yellow Italian queen got superceded I’m expecting my bees will all soon lose half their Italian features- and will be back to completely dark in a year or three? In other words if I want to keep yellow bees I’ll have to requeen regularly? I can’t control who they are with locally.


You might find that your superseded queen is just as good or even better than the old one. I’m only using genetics from my better performing queens in order to make new queens.

To answer your question, yes I guess they would lose half of their genetics.

I like to see nice yellow bees also, I’m tempted to order some Italian queens in, however, like you they’ll only turn dark again in a year or two, the bees that is.
It looks like you’ll need to keep yours Italian, if you want dry caps… Me, I don’t care.

Do you know anything about guppies? I got some out of a pond near the trap out to put in my water chestnut tubs to kill mozzies. In a couple of tubs, they are thriving. In the other tubs, they have disappeared without a trace. Anyway I’m heartened that some are thriving.


I know only two things about guppies:

  1. I love them
  2. they are much harder to keep here than where you are- they need winter heat.

I kept gold fish for years (I had one that was a decade old once) - and occasionally I dabbled in smaller fry- but never guppies because I didn’t want to bother with the heater.

Any chance birds or some other predator got yours? It’s good if the container is deep and has somewhere to hide at the bottom… either that or any cold spells?

As to dry cappings- most all of my bees are dark and seem to make dry cappings too. The harvest I did the other day was local dark swarm bees and all their flow cappings were dry. I do have some flow frames with visibly wet cappings too- some of which I’ll soon be draining. I’ll keep an eye out when I do and see I notice any leaks. The yellow bees haven’t capped their flow frames yet- so it will be a good opportunity for comparison…

I guess at least my yellow bees added a bit of genetic diversity to the local area- has to good? I wonder why local bees always seem to tend to be dark? Dominant genes? Head start advantage? Yesterday I heard the first honeybees in Australia were black ones. I’ll probably experiment buying more some day- I was very happy with Mulder Apiaires service and price.


Thanks Jack, two of the tubs got 6 each in the afternoon. By the next morning, not a trace. I wondered if they jumped out because the tubs were full. I didn’t see any bird activity. I’ll try again tomorrow when I check on the trap out. Next time I’ll put them in a plastic bag & get them used to the water temp. The mozzies are REAL bad where the trap out is. It wont be too bad in the early afternoon.


Jumping out is likely. Once I walked into a room and that 10 year old goldfish was flapping arround on the floor. After some 8 years he decided to see what the other side was like and jumped out of the tank - it was a pure miracle I found him before he ‘drowned’. He lived on for a few more years but was never really the same :pensive: I think he may have had a little brain damage… :hushed:

Also watch with full containers if it rains :kissing:

And yes using plastic bags and putting them in the water for an hour before release works well. Also letting tap water sit before using it so the chlorine can offgas (or whatever it does) is good.

BTW goldfish also Love mosquito larvae - I used to collect them with a sieve and feed them to mine as a treat. It was fun watching the goldfish hunt them down


So do natives and there are some really nice ones up Jeff’s way. Have a look in some of your local waterways for blue eyes


Here’s a clue. BIRDS love fish, had our ponds cleaned out twice, did the job just after the sun rose and everybody was still in bed. Decided to replace fish with tad poles. Now have thriving community of no less than three types of frogs which serenade us every evening. A good power external filter solves the problems of mosquito larvea that the tadpoles miss.