This is for those that don't always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and that the bees one has are good bees. How does the begginer beekeeper that wants to work with what they got (no packages, queen buying, nucs, ect)work up there bees? How do they choose breeder queens? Learn to make queens? And in general work up bees from the ground up?
>How does the begginer beekeeper that wants to work with what they got (no packages, queen buying, nucs, ect)work up there bees?
Raising queens is the best way to make splits. It disrupts less bees for less time. So if you raise a bunch of queens and use them to make spits you'll get more hives, which will eventually make more bees. And, of course less honey because they are busy making bees. You could just do splits without raising queens, but more bees are under more stress for longer time and they are not as productive.
>How do they choose breeder queens?
There is much written on this. There are the basics of course. I think you have to pick survivors. You have to use queens from hives that are succeeding. You want gentleness, of course. Traditionally this is determined by them being quiet on the comb. I'm not sure that is as important as them not flying off in your face. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif Swarming is generally considered a bad trait. I'm not so sure it isn't tied to being successful. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif Hygenic behaviour is good for all diseases from Foulbrood to Mites. This can be tested with the liquid nitrogen method if you can get it, but if you use the drone comb freezing method for mites you can see how long it takes them to start and to finish cleaning up the dead drone brood. I still think that sometimes we narrow our focus too much. Survival may be dependant on factors we are not so good at isolating. Maybe, however cruel it may seem, letting the weak ones die is the right thing to do. Or at least requeen them with a survivor queen.
>Learn to make queens?
Absolutely. I see three main methods to choose from.
There are variations on the method of leaving the larvae where it is but making the bees want to build a queen. This usually involves tearing down the wall on the bottom of the cell or turning the cells sidways. The appeal to me is that it requires little skill at grafting and no expense past the usual equipment on hand.
The cell plug methods, of which several versions are for sale, where a plastic plug with the larvae is moved. Costs more, but requires less skill than grafting. I have not had the chance to compare it yet.
Old fashioned grafting is probably a skill worth learning. I haven't. I intend to try it after I've mastered the rest of queen rearing because it's complicated enough already. It's cheap and doesn't require a lot from the bees. Every larvae you graft has the potential to become a queen and every one you don't lives. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif
>And in general work up bees from the ground up?
I am trying to do just that but on small cell in a short time frame. If I had more time, I'd go more for the top bar hives made of scraps and keep the costs down.
how about pulling frames with fresh eggs,make sure the queen isn't on them,put them in a nuc and let the bees make a new queen for you,that's pretty easy.
>how about pulling frames with fresh eggs,make sure the queen isn't on them,put them in a nuc and let the bees make a new queen for you,that's pretty easy.
And it can work. The problem is that bees in an emergency situation don't do as well at timing as bees in a swarm or supercedure. They are desperate to make sure they get a queen. If you go in 4 days after you add the frame of eggs to the nuc and destroy any queens cells that are capped over you will eliminate the larvae they tried to convert at too old of an age or some they didn't feed long enough. Then you'll get as good a quality as any other method. The other advantage to grafting and other methods is that you make more queens while stressing less hives of bees.
I find these walk away split to work good with limited time and or equipment.
If you go in 4 days after you add the frame of eggs to the nuc and destroy any queens cells that are capped over you will eliminate the larvae they tried to convert at too old of an age or some they didn't feed long enough. Then you'll get as good a quality as any other method.
Maybe. But you may need to add proper age larvae at the same time. Which adds more to the work. I used the walk away splits quite a bit for a good # of years. Doing for 40 to 60 splits in the spring and then again for fall nuc make up. For 2 years I marked these queens to see what happens and indeed if inferior queens resulted much. What I found was that about 40% were superceded within 2 months headed by good queens after that. About 5 to 8 queens each season that weren't superceded were poor. The rest good. What I learned was that for the most part even with poor chosen larvae the bees most of the time sort things out and end up with a good queen without the beekeeper noticing much performance loss and if unmarked probably wouldn't notice much at all. But I suppose there will always be a % of poor queens.
Any advantage to watching very carefully, and pulling swarm cells to start a nuc (along with, at that time, adding space, etc to the first hive to stop another swarm)? Seems that should leave the first hive stronger.
Three disadvantages to "watching very carefully". One, you disrupt the hive when you check on it (not as much as when you rearrange it) and two, it's a lot of work and three, if you mess up you lose a lot of bees. The advatage is the bees tend to raise very good queens for a swarm.