May 21

The Ohio Queen Project is DEAD.

The Ohio Queen Projects was started by the Ohio State Beekeepers Association in 2007 with two goals in mind.  First, to teach beekeepers to raise queens and second,  to develop a stock improvement program (ie. a breeding program).  To quote directly from the Ohio Queen Project's Mission Statement from their website:

The Ohio State Queen Project was begun in the spring of 2007. A need to improve the quality of queens used by Ohio beekeepers was recognized by the OSBA board and a committee was established to set up a state wide program to help beekeeper to raise their own queens from outstanding queen stock. OSBA decided to develop a stock improvement program in conjunction with the classes being taught…….

……A need exist within Ohio for queens which will carry desirable characteristics for our climate and will provide an enjoyable experience for beekeepers to keep bees.

Both parts of the program are critical.  Without beekeepers to raise queens, stock that does better in our area wouldn't benefit anyone.  Without improved stock, we just have less desirable stock that happens to be raised in Ohio.

OSBA supported the program from 2007-2009 while coordinators give queen rearing classes and OSBA even held a queen symposium which I hoped would be repeated but never really happened.  Minimal work was done on the stock improvement portion of the project, in part due to the difficulty of running a distributed breeding program and due to a lack of funding and guidance.  In 2010 a member of the Ohio Queen Project stepped up to lead the the breeding program and the project had an opportunity for a significant grant to fund the breeding portion of the project to really get it off the ground.

However, after meetings, work preparing the grant and shortly before submitting the grant, the powers that be decided:

"…it is not appropriate nor would it be effective for OSBA to play a primary and direct role in achieving those goals."

"…the goals  … for an Ohio queen project would best be accomplished by a separate group."

In short, since OSBA is not interested in supporting the Ohio Queen Project per their mission statement the Ohio Queen Project is DEAD.  All they apparently want are some random queen rearing classes given by volunteers.  While I can't speak for those that have lead the Ohio Queen Project and the other coordinators, I feel disappointed, used, mislead and have little interest supporting OSBA's volunteer teacher program and I believe many of the others involved in the program feel the same.

As for me, I will continue my breeding efforts, and while not a breeding program yet, I'm working towards that goal.  I also hope to enlist others in the effort much in the spirit of the Ohio Queen Project, but it will not be associated in any way with OSBA.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/the-ohio-queen-project-is-dead/

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