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Thread: Why buy?

  1. #1
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    Hi all,

    Out of bordom or depression, not sure which especially with all the wonderful snow. Why buy queens? I'd like to discuss the pros and cons of buying queens. Why buy? Why not buy?

    Clay

  2. #2
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    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    I typically buy queens for making early splits before the weather / coniditions permit for queen rearing / mating around here. It allows me a little head start on the season.
    I do let colonies raise their own queens later in the season if I do splits. I have had some very good results this way.

  3. #3
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    >Why buy queens? I'd like to discuss the pros and cons of buying queens. Why buy? Why not buy?


    Nothing like a simple yes or no question. J

    Reasons to BUY a queen:

    You want a new breed or you want to introduce some fresh blood.

    You don’t want to go to all the work of queen breeding. True you can do splits, but if you don’t come back and clean up prematurely capped queen cells the quality of your queen could suffer.

    You know of a quality breeder and want to get some good quality queens.

    You don’t know how to raise a queen.

    You want to get queens at a time of year you can't raise them.

    You need a queen quickly to stablilize a situation.

    Reasons to RAISE a queen:

    You want to get offspring from survivor stock.

    You want to save money.

    You want to learn to be a better beekeeper.


  4. #4
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    I typically buy queens for making early splits before the weather / coniditions permit for queen rearing / mating around here. It allows me a little head start on the season.


    reply:

    My thoughts on my recent posts are in line for the selfsufficient beekeeper, to put profit, quality, pride, and simple beekeeping back where it belongs with the beekeeper. This is exactly what I mean when I ask why buy? Now have you thought of wintering your own young fall queens instead? This would free you of southern queens, would be cheap too. Would be winter hardy having to survive winter first.

    Clay

  5. #5
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    OK, so tell me more. I am hoping to take a queen raising class at the U of M this summer, but haven't tried raising my own yet. How would one keep young queens over winter in a northern zone? Small nuc? In my garage? (unheated) I have so far done ok with my larger hives, but I do baby them a little.

  6. #6
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    My plan for overwintering queens is to use a good strong hive with several nucs on top all seperated by double screens. It may be an interesting experiment to see if you could set up a queen bank and overwinter several queens in cages, but that seems cruel to me.

  7. #7
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    Fremont, New Hampshire, USA
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    Clayton,
    "wintering your own young fall queens instead"

    By banking or by setting up nucs/over colonies?



    ------------------
    Dave Verville
    Fremont, NH USA

  8. #8
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Big Grin

    I would rather raise my own queens beccause of some of the stuff stated above like because I want to be self-sufficient and I would like to be a better beekeeper. Also, I would like to create my own stock of disease resistant, small-cell bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Drums, PA, USA
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    I raise my own queens, and overwinter them. I think it is the only way to keep adapted stock. My thoughts of buying queens are the same as Michaels. If you are going to start a new breed, or just want fresh blood. I truly think adapted bees are better, and overwintered queens are pretty tough too. I requeen in September, and then I know there are enough drones out there for sufficient mating. I have not tried to have quuens mate early in the year. In PA it is still only touching 60 degrees and really about 50 is the norm. My bees have only been flying for about two weeks, and thats if it is warm enough. We are expecting 7-12 inches of snow tonight, then in the 60s the latter part of the week. So raising queens earlier than the middle of May would not give them a chance to mate properly. Also, I think it is a pride thing for me too. I've raised some pretty good queens, and that is pretty cool to me!

    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

  10. #10
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    >>for the selfsufficient beekeeper, to put profit, quality, pride, and simple beekeeping back where it belongs with the beekeeper

    Buying queens to maintain bee stock year to year dosen't take away profit, quality, pride, and simplicity from beekeeping at all. It is a tool widly used by may beekeepers to make them better beekeepers....

    Ian

  11. #11
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    but haven't tried raising my own yet. How would one keep young queens over winter in a northern zone? Small nuc? In my garage? (unheated) I have so far done ok with my larger hives, but I do baby them a little.

    reply:

    Here in N. NY most use 4 or 5 frames nucs placed over double screen boards with follower boards seperating one from another.

    Clay

  12. #12
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    Ian,

    Buying queens to maintain bee stock year to year dosen't take away profit, quality, pride, and simplicity from beekeeping at all. It is a tool widly used by may beekeepers to make them better beekeepers....

    reply:

    When I say profit, I mean the expense in procuring queens unless one gets them for free. Of course one can still be profitable, get quality queens (maybe not locally acclimitized however), and still have pride too. My point was only that beekeeps that raise queens "could" have such.

    Clay


  13. #13
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    Hi Clay, re:4-5 frame nucs overwintered in NY. Greenhorn question here, what is a follower board? I am guessing at a double screen board, (size of an inner cover, just with screens on each side?) Then stack multiple nucs together? How would you feed them?
    Michelle

  14. #14
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    >what is a follower board?

    If you cut a piece of wood, plastic etc to exactly the indside dimensions of the brood box that comes level to the top and down to the bottom board it can be used to block off part of the box from the other part. If you make it from something thin like 1/8" plywood, you can use it to make a ten frame box into two 5 frame boxes by using it as a divider down the middle.

    >I am guessing at a double screen board, (size of an inner cover, just with screens on each side?)

    Good guess. Here's a plan for them or you can buy them from Brushy Mt Bee Farm. http://www.beesource.com/plans/screenboard.htm

    >Then stack multiple nucs together? How would you feed them?

    Feeding is not a requirement if they have five frames of stores going into winter, but you could put a division board feeder on one side and lose a frame. My plan is to use the whole 10 frames of a medium for my nuc with a division board feeder on one side. This would give you 9 medium frames for brood and stores and one frame for the feeder.

    I have done this with a double brood box on the bottom and a top feeder on it. A box in the middle (with double screens above and below) with a division board feeder and a box on top with another top feeder.

    I suppose if you are building you're own double screen boards, you could leave a place for a boardman feeder.

  15. #15
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    Hi,

    Also to add to what Michael says here. You can also buy follower boards from betterbee and others. I personally haven't used them. This is in case one isn't to good at there carpentry skills. I make my own however. Also one can take a deep box before assembly and channel a groove down the center (middle) for a follower board to slide in (removable). But then you are stuck with 5 frame nuc size. But you can put division board feeders in to fill in gap if you want only 3 frames for instance.

    >I am guessing at a double screen board, (size of an inner cover, just with screens on each side?)

    reply:

    You could use a inner cover, but should only put a single nuc above unless it is altered to have 2 entrances on both sides. I prefer actual screen boards myself.

    How would you feed them?

    reply:

    I play robinhood in the fall. Nucs and light colonies are provided with capped combs of honey and pollen from the supers. I'm working in a more organic direction although I don't particularly sell labeled as organic so I use no sugar. Only liquid honey if I must. But this is for me and I realize not everyone is working this way. Honey in the comb in my POV is the best and fastest way to provide stores. Also I don't stack nucs above nucs separating with screen boards (above parent here)as I use three deep then add nucs, then more??? Gets to high for me to move quick in the spring or make winter checks in the snow.

    Clay


  16. #16
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    Clay,
    I attended the SABA meeting on 3/22 and saw a presentation by Kirk Webster,a queen breeder and honey producer from the Champlain Valley in Vt.He overwinters his nucs in a brood box seperated with a division board feeder which he divides into two compartments with holes in the side for bee access to each side.In other words,the feeder acts as your follower board.It lines up with a cleat on the bottom board and he uses plastic feed bag material for an inner cover.His mating nucs are divided the same way ie.divider,1/2 size frames,and two two compartment feeders.
    Getting back to your original question,why buy? Kirk uses no pesticides in his mating nucs,or overwinter nucs.He is working towards no chemicals at all by selective breeding.(He was asked about small cell and said he had corresponded with the Lusbys but had not gone that route.)I asked him afterwards about buying some queens and he smiled and said maybe next year.I'm guessing the demand is greater than his supply.But he,unlike myself,makes his living with bees.And he,along with a small cadre of others,is working to develop a varroa resistant honey bee.I am more than willing to support his efforts by buying queens,even at a premium.By the way,will you be selling any queens this year?
    Regards,Jack

  17. #17
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    I'm a little unclear about how both sides get to the feeder? Is it open to both sides at the top? Is there something keeping the bees from one side of the feeder from getting to the other side?

  18. #18
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    The bees can not get to the top of the feeder It sits a little higher than a frame(level with the top of the super)and meets the inner cover to seperate the two sides.The inner divider is across the "short"way forming two compartments for feed,front and back.Access for nuc on right is from holes on right side of feeder near the top into the front compartment.Access for nuc on left is from holes on the left into the rear compartment.
    Tried to send a diagram but it didn't go through right. Jack



    [This message has been edited by Jack Grimshaw (edited April 09, 2003).]

  19. #19
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    I see. That is much clearer, but the bees from each side cannot get together inside the feeder because of a divider? Is the divider solid? or is it screen?

    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited April 09, 2003).]

  20. #20
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    Hi Jack,

    Kirk Webster,a queen breeder and honey producer from the Champlain Valley in Vt.He overwinters his nucs in a brood box seperated with a division board feeder which he divides into two compartments with holes in the side for bee access to each side.

    reply:

    Yes Kirk lives about no more than an hour from me. Also Michael Palmer a commercial beekeeper lives a bit more north and winters nucs like Kirk with a little variation.

    I asked him afterwards about buying some queens and he smiled and said maybe next year.I'm guessing the demand is greater than his supply

    reply:

    Yes. Kirk is probably one of the few who I'd buy queens from these days. The fact that he is going without the dopes and has local stock for my area play a major role here too. But I won't be buying any.

    But he,unlike myself,makes his living with bees.And he,along with a small cadre of others,is working to develop a varroa resistant honey bee.

    reply:

    I am working in this direction yet with small cell. I have suffered very high loss this year due to my unwillingness to use chems and to get survivor stock. I started with a base of 68 colonies and over the last 3 years have via natural selection gone down to 8 colonies similtaneous regression to 4.9 cell sizing and should have the bees stabilized this year and will be building back up. The bees have all gone from 3 to 6 years without any dopes whatsoever. Now I believe Kirk had very heavy loss either last year or the one before and had to cancel nuc orders. Its tough working in this direction for sure whether one of the big boys or not. I will not be selling any queens till I get back to at the minimum of thirty to forty colonies. Then I can make no claims to how the stock would perform removed from 4.9 cell sizing. I will be focusing on making bees this year. When I have queens for sale I'll let people know ;> ) Jack have you been doing any work with survivor stock or 4.9? My area has high # of colonies with lots of mite migration in the fall. Add to this the fact that I do no pampering almost at all. This goes from feeding to wrapping. Only the best can live. To be honest its a wonder that anything has survived. If things go as other 49ers have gone the first 3 years of high loss should be followed by strong colonies the next year.


    Clay


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