My father and I began rearing queens for our own use in the summer of 1961. I was only 12 years old at the time and I had already been a beekeeper for two years. We learned the proper techniques from an experienced queen breeder, Ransler Barnes of English Mountain Apiaries, in Cosby Tennessee. We learned the basics such as cell builders, grafting cells, making up mating nucks, etc. From this base, we developed our own strain of Italian bees called "Winters Strain Italian Bees". We developed them to the point that we felt they would be of value to other beekeepers so in 1978 we started producing them commercially. In 1978 we founded Winters Apiaries to market the German Black bee and German/Italian hybrids that were still widely availble in this area. When news of the trachael mites in the mid-1980's spread to all beekeepers, the market disappeared. Everyone was afraid to buy queens or packages from breeders because they were afraid of getting mites. Another blow to the bee industry was the closing of the Canadian border to U.S. bees. We went from a nationwide company to a regional company almost overnight. After the mites became widespread, we found that the caucasian stock that we had maintained and from breeders from Bill Gafford, formerly of Bolling Bee in Alabama, over the years was more mite resistant than the Italians or the German Black Bee.
Today we breed only Caucasian bees because their ability to survive the winter here and overall great characteristics. We are extremely happy that Sue Cobey imported semen from the Republic of Georgia to re-establish this bee here in the US. We will be producing queens from multiple bloodlines from her imported stock. We produce queens and package bees and ship them to forty-nine states and the US territories. We do not ship to Hawaii because of their restrictions on importing honeybees into the state. We are located near a small Tennessee town called Parrottsville near the Smoky Mountains. Our mailing address is: Winters Apiaries, 3225 Long Creek Rd., Parrottsville, Tn. 37843. Our telephone number is (423) 465-8197. We are beekeepers first so there is little time to stay in the office and answer the phone. Since we spend a lot of time in the bees, please leave a message. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call, or write us a letter. Be sure to read our terms and conditions that apply to all orders as you are responsible for them. Thank you for visiting us and please call again.