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Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by roccman, Aug 26, 2008.
Sorry to hear of the bad luck there flyman, hope the next round goes better for you.
Next batch was great. 26 out of 30 as a take and all have new homes. Usually, I learn pretty quickly....until next time.
The worst part of rearing to me is between making sure she emerged and when she starts laying. Did she or didn't she?
What time of the year is best to do this, or does it matter?
the 'easiest' time of the year to produce queens (I am speaking here of the entire process from grafting till you have a mated queen in the box) is in the early spring as the flow is peaking. earlier a lot of folks have problems with fluctuation in temperature (primarily low night time temperatures) and availability of good numbers of drones. later in the season lack of flow doesn't motivate the girls to produce many cells and extremely high temperatures limits the virgin queens ability to mate.
I have been taught to requeen every year. If you do this during the nectar flow, how are you ever supposed to get the strong army of workers to collect honey enough for a honey harvest? That was my problem this year. I requeened in the middle of April. That was right in the middle of the nectar flow, and by the time the population count was getting high, the nectar was all but over. There is something I am missing. I just don't know what it is.
From what I have read, those who requeen every year, do so in August or Sept., depending on location. They want the new queen to have 2 full laying cycles before winter. ""42 days"". Then the queen is ready for the spring buildup.
That makes more sense, but it is very hard to find queens that time of year. I am thinking of raising a queen or two of my own. Do you raise your own queens or do you let them raise them for you as needed? I had one hive last year that just barely made it because of a weak queen. It's seems like they would have replaced her, but they didn't. I did.
If you make some queens at the end of july (after you've harvested spring honey and when the hive is heavily populated).... put the old queens in small 5 frame 'holding nucs'. Let the main hives make new queens for a month, during which time the mite population will crash. Then by Sept you can decide which queens to keep (the old or the new) and you can either pinch or sell the extra queens and either recombine the holding nucs with the main hives for winter, or take a chance in trying to overwinter the holding nucs with the old queens, as a hedge against losing all your hives. None of this interferes with the Spring honey harvest.
What I do would not be best for you. I do not try for the best honey harvest, nor for the most bees. I just let the bees do what they want unless I do something just for fun.
as Iddee at least suggest above most folks that promote the benefits of young queens to maximize the honey flow traditionally requeened in the fall of the year (late summer queens were often times though superior due to any number of reasons... at some locations given the arrival of the ahb this may be an assumption a person might wish to reconsider)
I have never had any problem buying all the queens I might wish for at any time of the year although certainly you do take a large risk in buying queens when ever the temperature is too hot or too cold.
a often time's overlooked benefit of rearing your own queens is this allows you to cull the less desirable queens (for whatever reason) and maintain the best queen stock that fits your own situation (I think Omie's post somewhat speaks to this benefit). I have myself seen some benefit in rearing queens at non traditional times of the year.
as to honey crop or the lack there of at your location...
I suspect you are confusing the question here. this may or may not be about trying to rear queens at the peak of the flow.... but I would suspect likely not. if you are attempting to rear queens at that time of year then naturally any hive you remove bees or brood or feed from will not produce quite the honey it might have if you had left it alone. another aspect often overlooked (often not highlighted in any text) is that it is assumed by almost all the folks doing this kind of thing that feeding of everything involved in the process of queen rearing is just part of the process. for most southern beekeeper maximizing a honey crop is really more about rev'in up the bees 45 to 60 days ahead of your main flow and not so much about the queen in the box. the queen is an obvious component of this but feeding ahead of the flow 1)gets you a large population as the flow hits and 2) illuminates any of the 'poor doers' since their lack of growth relative to everything else will look quite pathetic. my strategy is then to utilize the 'poor doers' to make up smaller populations for the season queen rearing purposes. they ain't going to make you a crop, so I use these for their next best purpose.
Thanks guys. Very good stuff!
Omie, you something about mites population crashing. Is that because of the time of year, or going through the process that you are talking about? Very interesting stuff. I think I am going to copy you post so I can read it on my phone. Also, for you a small time deal like me, would you recommend the miller method of rearing queens. It seems the easiest for a small amount of queens.
Tecumseh, I didn't rear any queens this year. I bought them from a local supplier. They were not available to me until the middle of April. She was already bred, but it took a few days for her to start laying then of course 21 days for her brood to start hatching. By that time the nectar flow was dwindling down. They are still finding a little bit of stuff somewhere, (I don't know how, as it has been so dry here) but nothing in the super.
I am learning that planning is a more important role that I first realized.
Regarding Omie's post, when there is a break in the brood rearing cycle of honeybees, it affects the reproductive life cycle of the varroa mite. They have no cells to duck into to reproduce once they are capped. It can be used effectively in your IPM strategy.
Beeboy, it's because of the length of time the hive has no open brood while they are making their new queen. That time period disrupts the whole mite breeding cycle since they have nowhere to lay for a while. Doing this in late summer is great because Fall is typically the time when mites get out of control if left alone.
I don't know about the Miller method or about grafting methods. I just basically remove a queen and do something else with her, and let the hive make queen cells. If they make a bunch sometimes I'll swipe some and make other nucs from them if i have extra brood frames and nurse bees.
WOW! Incredible information! Thank you guys so much! You have no idea how many questions you have answered for me. Thank you!
You've got to feed and build up the hive starting 6-8 weeks before the nectar flow. Then you can requeen when the flow has started. You already have an abundance of workers, and a break in the brood cycle will allow them to focus maximum attention on honey gathering and less on brood rearing.
I have just did a video on how to make queen cells its on utube to help the new beekeepers. I am not a computer person its on utube/fineshooter or fatbeeman;s channel
fatbeeman's video is here:
make your own queen cell cups
or just watch it here! :grin:
I own a bee removal Long Island service in New York. Bush Farms is an excellent source for beekeeping.
where on long island?