Holding newly mated Queens?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by jajtiii, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. jajtiii

    jajtiii New Member

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    After 3 years of various experiments, I have nailed down a fairly reliable method of raising queens. When I started this effort, my primary driver was to make local queens available to the folks in my area so that we wouldn't need to bring in so many outsider's. Now that I have it down, I'm struggling with figuring out how to efficiently hold these queens.

    As a bit of background, my primary 'offset' to my hobby is Nuc's. I raise several dozen each year and sell them for around $150 each (price varies a bit, depending on frame exchange).

    So, when my queen cells are 'ripe', I need a place to put them so that they can mate and get started. Currently, I pretty much create a Nuc the day before and add the cell the next day. This works great, but it's hard for me to reconcile selling a single queen for a fraction of what I could sell the Nuc for.

    Do folks simply use the Queen Castles (or basically a super divided into 3 chambers)? I see all kinds of contraptions (mini-nuc's and the sort) on the internet, but these seem to all require special equipment.

    What about once the queen is mated? Do folks cage them and hold them in the same hive? What is the consequence of preventing a queen from laying for a week or two, until she is sold?

    There seems to be a lot of information out there about how to raise a queen, but I am having difficulty locating some easy method to hold the queens once they are mated and ready. I have to wonder if the real goal is to get the order BEFORE the queens are ready.
     
  2. jajtiii

    jajtiii New Member

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    Also, out of curiosity, how much do folks charge for locally raised queens? I don't treat or anything, so I consider my stock to be pretty good.

    I ask because I sometimes see queens for sale in one of the bee magazines for $20. There's no way I would go to the trouble of raising a mated queen for $20 (at least not with the demands on me today.)
     

  3. Beeboy

    Beeboy New Member

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    Thank you for asking this question. I have had these questions for awhile, & am looking forward to keeping up with this thread.
     
  4. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    jajtiii,

    Not to change the thread, but you mind sharing your method of raising queens. This being my second year of beekeeping I am fixing to start learning to raise queens.

    I want to get some nucs going to over winter. Maybe sell some next spring.
     
  5. jajtiii

    jajtiii New Member

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    I use the Nicot system with a double deep/cloak board for my starter and finisher.
     
  6. cheezer32

    cheezer32 New Member

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    You can keep them in nucs and the sort until they are sold. Just watch that they don't get overcrowded they can expand quickly.

    You can also cage them and put them in a queen bank or the sorts to keep them for awhile, many of the large breeders do this.

    If you just need to hold them for a few days you can just leave them in the cage I know people that have left them in the queen cages for up to 2 weeks with no ill effects. I think anytime that you cage/bank queens you just want to make sure that they have been given time to lay and mature before you cage and bank.

    Personally I just try to make sure I am sold out most of the time since I am not raising a large amount of queens, that way I know they are going straight to a hive when I take them out, and that gives me a fresh place to put my ripe cells the next day. I like to have a system so I know how many to graft so I'm not wasting a bunch of good cells.

    As far as price goes I charge $15 for mine, I don't see much trouble in producing mated queens, it's a fairly cheap, easy, and labor un-intensive process if you as me.. although most do disagree. For me I make a enough profit per queen at that price that I'm happy and I think it's a fair price to the people buying from me as well, especially with the average pricing being between $20-30 this year from what I've seen.

    The easiest method I have got for myself is to take a double deep hive with a queen excluder between the boxes, on day 1 pull the top box off screen them inside for 24 hrs. On day 2 put your graft into the now queenless second box. Day 3 re-insert the screen deep box on top of the excluder that you originally took it from. On day 12 your queen cells will be ready to put into a mating nuc. To me its a very efficient way to make a starter/finisher without pulling resources or hassle to keep a queenless starter around all the time or take the effort to look for and pull frames for a swarm box. The whole time you are going through your cell raising the hive keeps growing and working away without losing anything.
     
  7. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    The queens available to me in West, Central Texas are 28 bucks plus shipping.
     
  8. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    So Cheezer,

    Day 3, the screened deep goes back on top and the hive is back to original? The bees can come and go through the excluder?
    Queen on the bottom deep and queen cells in the top deep? Correct?
     
  9. cheezer32

    cheezer32 New Member

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    That is right Yankee, day 3 on the hive is deep, excluder, deep. This way of manipulation lets someone without nuc boxes, swarm boxes, or just a small number if hives raise queens any number of them really. Almost without having to set aside a hive for it. Because the queen is laying the whole time, and the bees are storing you honey the whole time to harvest. Another advantage of this (and the biggest in my mind) is that you use a strong single deep to start the cells for 24 hrs and you then have a strong double deep hive to finish feeding them. You can really count on having large well feed cells
     
  10. The Bee Guy

    The Bee Guy New Member

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    I use the Nicot system and grafting to raise queen using the cloake board method.
    I usually have orders ahead of time so I won't have to hold the queens for an extended time.
    I use 2 methods of installing a queen in a Nuc.
    One is putting the queen which is in a cage in the brood part of the Nuc and check on her a few days later(10 days)
    The other method is to install a capped queen cell in the brood foundation and let her enter the Nuc on her own.
    I check in 10-14 days to see if she's laying.
    I will then Mark her and if sold will cage her for the customer pickup.
    I don't like to hold queens in a queen bank for 2 weeks or so for I believe it can cause the queen to be inferior.
     
  11. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    If you are selling locally raised queens to people in your area I would ask quite a bit more than the 20 bucks. The top 10 reasons you should do this.

    1. They are not paying shipping

    2 No worries on a queen arriving dead.

    3 If they are familiar with you they know what they are getting in the queen they are buying.

    5 You are close by if they have questions or concerns.

    6 Local queens usually do better than queens brought in from other regions.

    7 if queen was not a good layer they have a possible quicker replacement time

    8 They can pick up the queen at there convience instead of waiting on the post office

    9 less waiting period getting a new queen

    10 keeping their money local
     
  12. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    cheezeer says:"If you just need to hold them for a few days you can just leave them in the cage I know people that have left them in the queen cages for up to 2 weeks with no ill effects. I think anytime that you cage/bank queens you just want to make sure that they have been given time to lay and mature before you cage and bank."

    My addition: It's been a very long time since I managed a queen bank (certainly over 20 years ago) so I don't remember all the details---but I'm sure that I had them banked for more thaan two weeks (probably closer to a month) without any ill results.