All breeding stock is selected and certified
Saskatraz stock is selected + bred in Saskatchewan for honey
production, wintering ability and resistance to mites and brood
Saskatraz stock is available as queen cells, Saskatraz hybrid
production (OHB-USA) and Saskatraz production and breeder queens
(Sask.) in 2019.
2019 Saskatraz Lines:
Queen cells from tested Saskatraz breeders ($20 CDN).
Available for pickup only.
Saskatraz Breeder Queens available from June to August
Out-crossed mated breeder queens in 3 hole cages ($200)
Out-crossed mated breeder queens in 5 frame nucs ($400)
Closed population mated breeder queens in 3 hole cages
A limited number of 5 frame nucs with Saskatraz Hybrid
queens are available for late May/early June 2019.
production queens are produced at Olivarez honey Bees Inc. (OHB)
in Northern California (Orland area) from April 15th to
August 2019. These hybrids will produce pure Canadian Saskatraz drones for stud use.
queens produced in Saskatchewan at Meadow Ridge Enterprise
Ltd. are available from June to August 2019.
Shipping is through
Air Canada Cargo or Canada Post Priority Mail.
All shipments are UNINSURED,
but the risk is minimal.
Please email us anytime at
firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order or at
if you have any questions.
Saskatraz Hybrid Production Update 2019
Saskatraz hybrid production queens
now available only from OHB in USA (www.ohbees.com)
hybrids are produced in Northern California (Orland area) by Olivarez
honey Bees Inc.(OHB), using
Saskatraz breeder queens constructed in Saskatchewan, Canada by
Meadow Ridge Enterprises LTD (Breeder, Albert J. Robertson). A
detailed review of the Saskatraz project (established 2005)
including breeding methods, published research articles, power
point presentations and information on individual breeding
families, including Saskatraz hybrids can be found at
breeder queens are selected for honey production, wintering
ability, temperament, tracheal mite resistance, varroa
tolerance/resistance and brood diseases. The Saskatraz breeding
program uses recurrent natural selection to select for varroa
tolerance in productive colonies with good economic traits. We
have found varroa tolerance is not a stable trait, with
considerable variability in the daughters of selected breeder
queen’s. In the last 3 or 4 years, we have crossed high VSH
lines with our naturally selected colonies to try and increase
stability of the varroa tolerant trait. This looks to be
promising and new lines are currently being evaluated. However,
we have also noted that treatment with some synthetic miticides,
although initially effective in lowering phoretic varroa
infestations, may negatively affect the colonies ability to cope
with subsequent mite infestations. Some miticide treatments may
also result in increased virus infections, particularly in
varroa susceptible phenotypes. (Unpublished data)
hybrids are being produced in Northern California using virgin
queens from diverse families of Saskatraz breeder queens and
open mating them with unrelated drone populations in the Orland
area. These queens produce workers (F1 generation) with diverse
genetic backgrounds, generally resulting in increased colony
vigor. Analyses of Saskatraz hybrid colonies in Canada is
showing fast spring build up and increases in honey production.
of Saskatraz hybrid stock in your apiaries should provide drone
populations which will increase the frequency of alleles for
honey production and varroa tolerance, as well as other economic
traits. This is because drones from the hybrids carry the
genetics of their mother, the breeder queen.
of Saskatraz breeder queen traits:
- Excellent honey production
- Good wintering ability
- Selected for increased varroa tolerance and resistance
to brood diseases.
- Show increased hygienic behavior
The Saskatraz Hybrid Project
long term objective of the Saskatraz project is to produce
Saskatraz production queens in adequate numbers, at reasonable
prices, for commercial bee keepers, in the spring of the year.
Our original plan was to export breeder queens to Chile, and set
up a breeding and commercial queen production operation. In our
original feasibility study an agricultural company with land and
resources was willing to take on this project in isolated
valleys in the Andes Mountains. We have to date failed to
achieve export status to Chile, but with some of the recent
advances in our work with diagnostic microarrays and multiplex
PCR, we may be able to achieve export status in the near future.
However, an alternative strategy was initiated in November 2011.
This arose because of requests by commercial beekeepers, for
larger numbers of Saskatraz production queens, from Saskatraz
Saskatraz hybrid production plan
November 2011 we attended the California State Beekeepers
Association meetings, and met with two queen producers
interested in multiplying our stock. They are located in
northern California, near Orland. Twelve breeder queens from 6
of our best families, selected for honey production, wintering
ability, as well as varroa and tracheal mite tolerance were sent
to a California queen producer collaborator in September, 2011.
Nine of the breeders are performing well and will serve to
initiate the project.
will be going to Orland, California on March 14th to
help set up the crosses with virgin queens from Saskatraz
breeders. Prior to shipping the breeder queens in September of
2011, we tested the progeny from each breeder for known viruses
and nosema species. This helps to eliminate possible
transmission of pathogens to the breeder queen progeny. We are
pursuing diagnostic methods to improve this screen, and will be
making this a routine practice with our breeding stock. We have
the option of crossing our virgins with drones from Carniolan
and mixed Italian stock. The queen producers have been
incorporating VSH breeding stock into their breeding populations
for several years. It will be interesting to test their drone
populations for viruses, nosema and traits associated with
varroa tolerance. We have identified putative molecular markers
correlated with varroa
tolerance over the last few years and can currently identify
these phenotypes in some of our breeding families. The hybrids
will be tested in Canada to follow the transmission of desired
1. What characteristics will these hybrid queens have?
The virgin queens will be of 100% Canadian, Saskatraz ancestry,
because they are raised from the larvae of the original
breeders. They will produce 100% Canadian Saskatraz drones,
because the drones are produced by the queens’ germ cells after
meiosis. They are haploid and are not fertilized by the queen
prior to laying like female workers. All of the drones have
Canadian Saskatraz grandfathers. Remember that drones have no
father just grandfather’s. This makes the Saskatraz hybrids
valuable for any breeding program, and allows queen breeders to
re-construct near pure Saskatraz family phenotypes .This can be
achieved by backcrossing Saskatraz virgin queens to apiaries
composed of the hybrid stock.
2. How do we construct near pure Saskatraz family lines, or
Since we will have Saskatraz hybrids available from this
project, for at least 6 different families (S28, S84, S88, S86,
S113, S125) we can choose which line of drones we wish to use to
cross to the virgins we produce from a Saskatraz breeder, or any
other breeder queen. Queen cells from selected colony phenotypes
can also be purchased from the Saskatraz breeding program, and
backcrossed to the Saskatraz hybrid colonies of choice. This
should be done in a closed population mating situation with
36-40 hybrid colonies per mating apiary. No more than 10 nucs
per apiary should be mated in any 10 day interval. Replacement
nucs produced in this way should stabilize the traits we have
selected for in the Saskatraz breeding program, and increase the
heritability (gene frequency ) of important economic traits
,such as honey production and varroa tolerance. Since all of our
breeding families have a high degree of genetic diversity built
into them, there is little chance of inbreeding depression.
3. What can we expect from the Saskatraz hybrid colonies when
The hybrid stock will be available from May 1 until July or
later. Establishment of the hybrid queens the first 3 weeks in
May in 4 to 5 frame nucs, with some brood will give you strong
colonies going into the honey flow. Supplying some drone comb
should give you fertile drones in 5 to 6 weeks. Since the
Canadian queens have mated with California drone populations,
they will be carrying sacs of semen from these drones. Their
female worker bees will be fertilized with this drone semen so
the workers will be hybrid. Since the California drone
populations are not closely related, or somewhat divergent from
the Saskatraz stock we can expect some increased vigor in the
hybrid worker population. It will be interesting to follow the
Saskatraz hybrid colony performance. We do not recommend
grafting from any of the hybrid queens, no matter how good their
performance. The best use of these hybrid colonies for breeding
purposes will be for the production of drones.
4. Queen Acceptance.
number of beekeepers purchasing commercial queens from a number
of different sources have complained about the rate of queen
acceptance. We have used a method developed in association with
instrumental insemination techniques which gives us consistent
and excellent acceptance. We treat the queens and attendants in
the shipping cages with CO2,
until queen and attendants are just anesthetised, remove all the
workers and leave the queen in the cage. We try to introduce the
queen to a queen less nuc (48 hours or more old) with in 3 or
four hours .We will provide this treatment procedure for
beekeepers purchasing stock from the Saskatraz program, since we
have the equipment to provide the service. CO2 treatment
and removing all attendants also helps to remove any pathogens
are optimistic about this project and will be providing
Saskatraz hybrid queens for reasonable prices. We feel this is
an economical way to disseminate the genetics we have developed
to commercial beekeepers. It will also help us to continue our
Saskatraz breeding program, since all stock sales revenues go
towards and are required for maintaining the breeding program.