Alex King, owner of Royal Alaskan Honey, started beekeeping over 10 years ago as a fun summer hobby. In 2016 it bloomed into a passion that became Royal Alaskan Honey. Originally strictly honey sales, we now offer spring bee packages and limited equipment sales to fellow beekeepers in Southcentral Alaska. Alex does everything involving buzzing while his wife helps behind the scenes with social media, packing honey, and honey sales. We are located in Wasilla, Alaska.
Our bees arrive in a plastic “Bee Bus” instead of a traditional wooden package. The benefit to these Bee Busses is ventilation on all six sides and both ends open to aid hiving the bees. Our queens are also in a different style of cage, a JZ BZ queen cage. These cages feature pre-installed candy (no more watching the queen fly away when installing a marshmellow!) and a protected area for the queen if the workers haven’t accepted her yet. We source our bees from two suppliers.
Italian and Carniolan queens, as well as the bulk bees, come from a commercial beekeeping outfit located in Northern California. Their bees are of excellent quality as result of supurb queen rearing locations and top notch beekeeping. I spent a short time working hives with them to get a feel for their operation and left very impressed. The bees are their livelihood and are taken excellent care of. You can’t ask for better.
Russian queens come from the second supplier located in Mississippi. He is apart of the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association producing USDA-ARS certified pure Russian queens with genetics originating from the Primorsky Region of Russia. The added hassle (and benefit) of producing pure Russian queens unfortunately results in a higher cost. Quality control limits queen rearing to about half the volume of other Commercial Beekeepers using Italian or Carniolan stock. More information can be found at http://www.russianbreeder.org/
Beekeepers intending to winter their hives typically use a breed that is more adapt to colder weather, like Russians or Carniolans, with bonus points going to queens from a northern breeder. Unfortunately, Northern queens are not available until end of May or June at the earliest, which forces me to source my Russian queens from warmer climates. A recently released study tested northern versus southern queens in respect to wintering potential. Interestingly, they concluded colony size, not geographical origin, has more to do with winter successfully. Although I feel this should be tested further at more extreme climates, the study shows there may not be that much of a difference between my southern Russians and “better” northern Russians.