About Our Queen Program
Sol Enterprises is a family run business that has striven to
promote sustainable agriculture and a healthy environment since
its inception in 1997. The pursuit of these endeavors has taken our family down many
interesting and enlightening paths which have allowed Old Sol's
founder, John Jacob, to follow his deepest convictions by expanding
and utilizing his educational background (B.S. in Biology, with
Minors in Chemistry and Economics).
We recognize that sustainable agriculture and a clean, healthy environment will require our global culture adopting a new paradigm; especially in developing countries. Elements of this new model must include an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to pest management, support of local businesses', and many elements of organic farming.
The consequences of the "old ways" of doing things have been dire and lead to many insidious and intractable problems including the release of toxic chemicals into our environment, and a treadmill of pesticide addiction, as pests and pathogen species evolve resistance to an ever increasing number of insecticides and antibiotics. We have an on-site Biologist specializing in entomology with many year of field experience with honey bees.
These ideologies are incorporated into Old Sol's daily apiary operations. Vexing problems, such as Varroa mites, are controlled with an IPM approach which includes screened bottom boards, very limited use of acaricides, food grade mineral oil, and most importantly, a cutting edge bee breeding program.
Our quest for a better bee began with Minnesota Hygienic Italians and New World Carniolans. After a few disappointing years of heavy losses to Varroa mites using these lines of bees; Old Sol began participating in several Department of Agriculture sponsored breeding programs. In 1999 Old Sol was one of the first handful of bee breeders to acquire USDA Russian mite resistant stocks.
These bees developed by Doctors Harbo and Harris are known as Suppressed Mite Reproduction (SMR) or Smart Bees. SMR queens were eagerly incorporated into our honey bee improvement program, and after six years of careful selection and hybridization we have derived several lines of Varroa resistant stock. These breeder queens were selected from untreated survivor stock. Further selection criteria include gentleness, fecundity, and honey production. Daughters of these queens are offered for sale to the public.