Queen Rearing Question(s)

Discussion in 'Raising Queens' started by Eddy Honey, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    This Spring I'm going to try grafting so I can raise up to 30 queens at a time.

    Is my thinking right that if I can raise up to 30 at one shot, or enough for all of my splits, the splits will be queenless for a much shorter time than if I did walk away splits. Also, those bees can be left with their parent hives making honey until the queens are ready.

    I assume I can raise all these queens on a frame with cell bars placed in a nuc packed with lots of nurse bees and resources. The problem or decision comes when it's time to get them mated. If I just give capped queen cells to my splits then the need for mating boxes is eliminated but then I have splits with no laying queen for 10-15 days +- vs giving them a mated queen so they can get busy immediately.

    So it's a question of if I want to get mating boxes for however many queens I want to raise at a given shot.

    Is one method more successful over the other as far as acceptance; giving a capped cell vs mated queen?
     
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    When making 30 splits whether you use cells or buy mated queens comes down to timing. You are in Jersey so the timing will be similar to mine out here, dependent mostly on the weather. If you want to make your splits early at the start of dandelion so the hives could be used for pollination of orchards, It is to early in the year to raise your own queens. It takes the drones a minimum of 45 day from eggs to being mature enough to mate. So if you do not see an abundance of drones in the hives when you are grafting any drones still caped will not be ready. If you are making splits 3 weeks later you will have the drone population and better weather for mating hopefully, can never fully expect the weather to fully cooperate.
    If you are making queens for splits put the cells in the splits and let the queen emerge and start laying in the nucs. It saves the whole hassle of catching caging and introducing the queen in the nuc. If you are selling nucs put the existing queen in with the nuc and the cell in the existing hive and you get your hive requeened. And the nuc keeps with brood laying and building up. You should be doing this every year so you are not selling old queens 2+ years. If you have old queens you may want to raise 60 cells and requeen some of your existing hives at the same time.
    Go with cells over pulling nucs and letting them draw their own cause it causes two long of a break in brood rearing. Graph from a few different hives from different yards and try to avoid placing cells from a yard back in the same yard. Also buy a few queens to evaluate and if you like their traits add them into your mating program.
     

  3. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    "Is one method more successful over the other as far as acceptance; giving a capped cell vs mated queen?"

    Mated Queen. I believe the average success rate of getting a laying queen from placing cells is in the range of 70%-80%. I usually get about 80%, but I've heard 70% or better is typical. I would hope that the successful introduction rate of a mated (caged) queen is much higher than that, if you're careful.

    If you're grafting and mating queens, it's advisable to use the smallest mating nuc you can manage, in order to minimize risk (I use 2-5 frame nucs). You could then take your successful mating nucs, along w/ their laying queens, and use the whole nuc to "requeen" your splits. Then you'd have about 100% successful introductions, and only risk losing a fraction of the small mating nucs you made up.

    -Dan

    PS- "I assume I can raise all these queens on a frame with cell bars placed in a nuc packed with lots of nurse bees and resources."

    IMHO, I think you'd be hard pressed to raise great cells in a nuc. They're often started in queenless nucs (or "swarm boxes"), but then moved to a nice, strong hive (above an excluder) to finish being built.

    But of course, as in all things beekeeping, there are lots of approaches. I'm pretty green myself, so don't necessarily listen to me. Just read up, pick your fav, and let us know how it works.
     
  4. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I would first look into what you need to set up a cell starter/builder colony. That has a lot to do with the quality of the queens you produce.

    You can start and finish queen cells in a 5 fraems nuc. but you have to have the right stuff in it and it is limited at most to 20 cells at a time. I consider that could be overkill by half for a nuc. I have seen information that says only 20 cells can be finished in a well prepared 10 frame deep.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    all good suggestion above and I would take special heed to what dmagnitude mentions in regards to the size of the splits. he mentions risk... which some might call the hazard of things not working out to plan.

    at the front side if you have limited bees (hives) and want to make a good number of cells (and 30 is a goodly number) you might wish to consider a 'nursery' for getting the queen cells emerged prior to placing the one that do in splits. in small numbers this also kind of spreads out the split making since you will quickly come to understand that not all the cells will hatch at one time. once emerged you need to get these into a split fairly quickly. the largest 'risk' this insulates you from is the cells that do not hatch are eliminated.
     
  6. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I can make up to 30 but I think 7-12 is what I'll be shooting for based on the amout of strong hives I'll have headed into Spring.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray Member

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    How do you avoid inbreeding? If you raise a bunch of queens from one hive. All the hives requeened, are 1/2 sisters to each other. Farmer used to call it 'wearing out the seed'. Good record keeping might help, but I think eventually you have problems.
    Do you just rely on the DCA, and the ferals/neighbors?
    I am not criticizing, I am honestly curious.
     
  8. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Gee IDK Ray. I'm grafting from 9-10 different hives come Spring...my hives that made it through winter, a cutout I'm watching and will perform in April, and 2 Russian nucs I'll be aquiring from Carl Webb in GA.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    as to genetic diversity... well actually it is the diversity in drone population that 'should be' your concern here.

    most of the books would advise you to select 'the very best hive you have' based on a number of variable (productivity, gentleness, health issues) and then to rear your 30 cells from that one queen (aka queen mother hive). Ideally if you want to maintain genetic diversity in your stock then you also select 'drone mother hives' that are as unrelated to the 'queen mother hive' as possible. You are essentially practicing out breeding. Inbreeding (which I assume is what Ray is referring to as 'wearing out the seed'?) can also be done by using highly related individuals.
     
  10. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Ray, Inbreeding is manly avoided in that the Queen and the Drones travel to zones or Drone congregation areas for mating. I have also heard that they will travel different distances like drones will travel up to two miles while queens will travel much further. This avoiding mating with drones not only from her own colony but from the same apiary. Even if the drone and teh queen from the same colony ended up in the same congregation area the likelihood there would be a mating between brother and sister is reduced given that drones are there from every colony in the area.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    almost anyone that pursues queen rearing either as a side line or as a serious commercial manner selects for both side of the mating. a lot in the mating is left to pure chance but you do try to shave things in your favor as much as possible.

    ps.... these decisionS comes at the very front side of the process of rearing queens. at least for me the difficulty in making this two pronged decision was not a minor thing.... I did a whole bunch of 'consideration' before I could make a decision and at least part of my final decision to use II queens for my queen mother hives took half of this decision off the table < imho 50% control is better than no control at all.