Dr. Peter Stöfen
(full version as pdf: 2018 Spring letter)
Dear fellow bee-keepers,
The days are getting longer and the monologue from Goethe’s Faust gives me hope that a little more light and warmth will spread everywhere. Not only in nature and with our bees, but also in our homes and gardens and above all in our minds. However, the power of light alone will not be able to fill the many negative fields in our environment with positive energy. These many incomprehensible things, for example in the environment and in global events, are difficult for us to change and we must not allow them to increasingly dominate and paralyse us.
The light and the warmth should strengthen us in these spring days! To occasionally focus on what is going well in our lives. We live in Germany, a country in which small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly being treated with contempt and the influence of a small handful of cartels is increasingly infiltrating our state. The glyphosate discussion is an apposite example of this. Having said that, we have a stable democracy, one of the best health systems in the world and, above all, we have been blessed that we have all been largely spared from armed conflicts over the last 72 years. Maybe it is just possible to be satisfied that one is largely in good health; about the work, the hobbies. About his partner, the children or the grandchildren. About the flowering winter blossoms, especially when they are visited by the bees. About music from Mumford and Sons, for example, that makes me instantly forget my numerical age; or laughing at Monty Python’s bizarre English humor.
We should never forget to look at what is positive in our lives and be grateful for it!
Our breeding lines in 2018:
Breed mother 2018
During my agricultural training, I was taught how to make production technology as lean and efficient as possible. Of course, the overriding aim of ensuring a high-quality product must never be overlooked. For our business this means that the genetic input or the genetic qualitative characteristics of our queens would not improve if we were to base our work on as many genetic strains as possible. Our breeders, who all have a greater number of bee colonies intended for honey production and are therefore consequently in a position to select consistently and responsibly, do this work. They also limit themselves to as few strains as possible and if you study the pedigrees carefully in this respect, they become the calling card of every breeding business.
In this sense, we will select the best 4-5 best of last year’s 40 or so remaining drone-populations and we will graft their larvae. That is why we still have the question marks in the genetic code below: it is not possible at this time to know the precise numbers we will use.
This is where the focal point of breeding work lies. I am primarily focused on phenotypic traits and of course to the honey performance in the rapeseed of the previous year. Our breeding mother for 2018 comes from Bavaria and was bred by Stefan Holmer. His pedigrees speak for themselves and for the intensity of his breeding work. He has regularly sent his queens to all important mating stations (including the two by Eugen Neuhauser) and he has an enormous wealth of experience in combination breeding. He entrusted his B 144(HST) to me in autumn 2015, her daughters were paired without exception with B27(ABg) on our station in Friedrichskoog in 2016:
B???(BZF) .16 –B144(HST)frkg B27(ABg) : .14-B63(HST)hbgB101(CHP)
imq.13- B63(TR)hbgB235(PJ) : .12-B137(TR)balB72(TR)
The lineage is promising on the basis of the names that are linked to it and, in line with our philosophy, are tried and tested. We do not wish to experiment with our drones; rather we aim to preserve the current, proven Buckfast lineage. The breeding work of Thomas Rüppel is unrivalled and requires no further praise. One of the first to recognise this was Brother Adam. Paul Jungels is another breeder in this league. I remember fondly the daughters of his B235, which were unfortunately decimated by mites. In this way, this line has returned to our operations; what a piece of good luck!
Mother of Drones 2018
B92 (DB) – The line of drones in Friedrichskoog
Our drone mother comes to us this year from Lower Saxony. She was bred by Detlev Biel, who is also a member of the breeding cooperative Friedrichskoog, and was acquired by us in recognition of his excellent breeding efforts. This year’s genetic input is the basis for 2018 at the mating station in Friedrichskoog and will more than likely be the basis for the maternal breeding activities for 2019. He describes his B92 as follows:
”Are you looking for Buckfast material which is typical of Buckfast and bred according to Brother Adam’s specifications? Then the B92(DB) is the drone line you should mate with. Their honey yield meets all the requirements of a commercial beekeeping business. Thanks to an Anatolian influence, this bee is ready, from the early to the late bloom, to successfully bring in the honey yield. This is due to the extraordinary willingness to breed and the vitality of these bees. We are always striving to preserve genetic diversity, because this is the guarantee for an optimal willingness to perform. In addition, mating with Anatolian material has made this bee very resistant to disease and frugal with winter supplies. You will be able to enjoy the growth of your hives in spring without fear of dwindling feed reserves. This is certainly also due to the coordinated breeding stop in winter, which starts like clockwork with the first night-time frosts. Even though we recommend this bee to each professional beekeeper, it is also well-suited to the needs of hobby beekeepers because their swarm behavior can be easily and quickly steered by implementing an adaptive spatial strategy. We have never had to resort to breaking cells or choosing other swarm-preventing methods to control them. The adaptation of the honey chambers to the nectar on offer is sufficient. In addition these bees are notable for their gentle nature and honeycomb continuity. They are very pleasant and even without the need for smoke the bees remain on the combs and one can simply enjoy the beekeeping. You can really look forward to their offspring: we have tested them and are confident in our ability to present to you the best of our selection and breeding efforts.”
B92 (DB) = .14-B45(DB)lthlB200(BB) : .13-B49(DB)lgnB73(HGS)
.11-B1(DB)lgnB79(HGS) : imq .10-B164(IC)bal135(TR)
Orders / Getting in touch
As the work mounts up quickly at this time of year, we kindly ask that all questions and orders be placed via our homepage:
or by email. For the second time, we have created a hotline for urgent questions related to orders. You will be connected to Mr. Steinfeld directly via telephone, text message or WhatsApp. We would kindly ask you to bear in mind that this number will not be active outside the times mentioned below. Beekeeping with a mobile phone in the hand is a tricky business and prevents focussed work!
June to August
Mon.-Sat. 16.00 – 18.00
+49(0) 178 – 111 70 04
Having said that, I would like to reiterate that you would really be assisting our work greatly if you could please use our email as your primary method of contacting us:
In this way, nothing will be lost in the hectic course of a busy working day and you will be assured of a quick reply.
We aim to start shipping our queens on 11 June 2018. We will be sending parcels every Monday. This allows us to collect and prepare the queens on Sunday. It also helps us to prevent the additional stress for the queens of spending a weekend in the post office in the event that the delivery is delayed.
As always, we will provide you with an email approx. 1 week before the shipping date. This has proven to be a tried and tested approach over the last few years.
We are currently accepting orders for our economy queens, queens from the mating station and selected cultivation queens. We have a couple of selected queens from 2017 left, too. Please do make sure that you place your order in plenty of time. We always try our very best to ensure delivery at short notice too but are subject to certain limitations in this regard. An overview with prices and shipping options is attached for your convenience. We would be grateful if you would pass this information on to any colleagues who might be interested.
You will be pleased to hear that we have been able to maintain out prices!
Payment / Processing orders
Shortly after having received your order, (in many cases on the same day), you will receive a confirmation of your order as well as the information regarding shipping and an invoice by email.
Please only proceed to make payment once you have received the invoice. You are kindly asked to settle the invoice approximately 2 weeks before the shipment date noted so that we have sufficient time to trace the payment being made. At this point, we can still make minor adjustments to your order. Once the queens have been collected or are on their way to you, it is not possible to make further changes and this would be rather stressful for the ‘ladies’ in addition.
May we be blessed with a good year for our bees and us and may we always have a little bit of beekeeper’s luck. In this spirit, I wish you all the best and much success as well as personal self-fulfilment with your proteges. I am very thankful to my son of law Killian O’Brien for the translation!
Best regards, Dr. Peter Stöfen