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Thread: raising queens

  1. #1
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    Hi everyone. I wonder for how many of you this was your first year of raising queens, and now that you did what are your plans? This was my first year and I used a Russian queen X smr drone. My goal is to get my outfit so they can withstand the mite problem. But I still want to get good crops of honey. The Russian queens I raised probably mated with Italians. I wonder what suggestions you all might give to meet my goals. Thanks

  2. #2
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    You will find that the first generation queens raised from what you have are about what I am after. I open mate mine for the most part, and have russian, nwc, and smr bees. I am trying to get a good percentage of the area flooded with these type bees. I am happy with first generation queens raised from pure breeder queens and bred with northern over-wintered stock.

    This was the first year commercially selling queens and nucs. I have raised queens for several years, but taking orders and hitting dates of delivery is another matter. It was an experience, but met many wonderful people.

    My russians yards, not mixed with other bees, have averaged about 15% loss over winter, with no treatments at all. My other yards with italians as the norm, average over 50%. This should improve drastically this year as I am changing over most of my operation to russians.

    Expanding, getting better(proficient), and providing a higher quality of bee is my goal for this coming year.

  3. #3
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    fat drone,
    You will find that it will take several years before you are able to observe an increase in the genetics of your bees. The improved genetics have to get out into all the yards that provide drones for your queen daughters to mate with. And this happens by your drones mating with queens from other yards.
    I have been using SMR Minn. Hyg.Ital. and SMR Carn. breeders from Glenn Apr. since 2000 and have just started to see a larger percentage of colonies that have reduced mite counts.
    I sincerely believe that the only way to solve the varroa problem will be through improved genetics. (not chemicals) And, it will take time, but something that every one of us must work toward. Use the best genetic queens that you can find.
    I have not had to treat my hives this year, by evaluating mite counts, however; I expect to have to treat some of them this coming spring, and hopefully it will only be a percentage of them.
    The less you treat your hives the less chemcials are absorbed by the wax and stored. And, the less contact your workers, drones, and queens come in contact with the pesticides used to control varroa.

  4. #4
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    Hi everyone

    Thanks for your input. I also believe the way to solve the problem is in breeding it out. I got my queen from Glenn Apr also, but not one of his breeder queens. Do you think its worth the money to go ahead and buy one or is it just as well to use the 75 dollar queen.

    I think Ill get a smart queen bread with a Russian for this next year. Im pretty far out in the country and usually not many bees around. So I hope I can start seeing improvement soon.

  5. #5
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    Its all economics for the most part. The $75 queen(now$100) is of the same genetics and even same graft as the more expensive $250-300+ queens. They($75) just are verified layers, as compared to the more expensive queens that have been monitored for several months and judged on brood pattern, and other breeder criteria. Running on the comb, and some other rated criteria in queen breeding is not always important for all beekeepers. I think both are good deals and both are worth the money.

    For the small breeder or those who just raise thier own queens, I think the lower cost queens are what you want. You get a pure strain A/I queen. I have been very happy with all the queens I have recieved from Glenn, and have my order already booked for next year.

  6. #6
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    WG said
    You will find that it will take several years before you are able to observe an increase in the genetics of your bees. The improved genetics have to get out into all the yards that provide drones for your queen daughters to mate with. And this happens by your drones mating with queens from other yards.
    Is this true even if you graft from an AI queen like the Glenn Apiary Russians? It would seem to me that you would see an immediate improvement.

    Thnaks I am enjoying this thread and seriously considering getting a Russian Queen for next year's grafting.

  7. #7
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    Grafting dramatically accelerates the process in larger bee yards. In smaller apiaries I think that you would also have to contend with your neighbor's drones (in terms of both genetics and disease). I geuss you could correctly argue that the maternal genetics are the most important, but unless you constantly raise queens from AI stock, I think that the apiary gene pool will gradually drift towards that of the surrounding drones. Also, if you have a larger apiary, then you can distribute the cost of your AI breeder queens over many more colonies. From my perspective, grafting seems like a great tool, but not practical for less than 20 colonies.

  8. #8
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    If your a small beekeeper, then who cares about what going on around you. You can requeen with the stock each year with any queen you want. Why would you worry about every drone from some crappy hive in your area. Requeening will allow you much more success than the random chance of waiting for your queens to swarm/supercede and then finding out your new queens are lousy.

    If you are going to graft, either for yourself or commercially, five years is a long time. Setting up drone yards with a second genetic line would be one choice. Second, would be to simply offer to requeen the beekeepers in your area. Or if your a good salesman, have them buy your queens at a discount. Third, would be to find an isolated yard that you can control with selected drones(genes). Moving nucs, and queen cells is easy and I have one remote yard I breed from and its no big deal.

    Flooding the area should not happen over 5 years or by chance. There are things you can do to get the results you want immediately, or at least within a year.

  9. #9
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    I think Im allready seeing better survial of my beehives at least so far. Now when I have all my beehives putting smart and russian drones do you think to improve honey production it would be good to get a nwc queen? Is this a good mix?

  10. #10
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    bjornBee,
    I plan to start breeding queens from Russians and if they are any good I plan to give them to any of the local beeks in my area whose drones and bees influence my area. I do think that to survive the varroa without chemicals, it is in my interest to try and help the other beeks in my area move towards an IPM approach to varroa management.

    Kieran
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  11. #11
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    Berkley David,
    You will get immediate improvement in your stock from purchasing an open mated daughter of a II breeder(SMR/Hyg./Russian) because in most cases you will end up with 50% pure genetics of the mother and 50% of the open air drones(mutts) that she has mated with. However; maintaining this high a percentage or even close to it is difficult if the original daughter queen is superseded or swarms. The percentage drops quickly. Even if only raising a few queens you should be concerned with what mutts she is going to mate with. The longer you use the SMR/HYG/RUSSIANS, the greater the opportunity that the genetics you are promoting in the drones your queens are producing, will return to you as increased percentages of the improved genetic traits that you want....
    Larry Conner who worked with Bud Cale and his 4-way crosses has mentioned in several articles & presentations about the importance of drones transfering the improved genetics. Sue Cobey wants to change the name of drones to "studs" as with animal breeding. When you use the word "stud"
    suddenly what your queen mates with seems more important.
    Frank Wyatt

  12. #12
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    Just wondering i read in Ritchard Taylors book a methed for the small guy to make some queens.It was simple.put a spacer between the 2 brood boxes to make room for queen cells that can be removed with out damageing them,make a small split with the queen form this hive leaving it queeness.It was said the a healthy have will make as many as 20 to 30 cells.Would this be much like some of the methods mentioned here.It seems this would be less work and simle for us rookies.what would be the down side of this method?
    Thanks Bob
    Mitch KD8IMF

  13. #13
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    &gt;what would be the down side of this method?

    Beekeepers for more than a century or so have made the observation that supercedure and swarm queens seem to be better than emergency queens. Simply removing the queen results in emergency queens. Reasons for this have been speculated about for some time. The most prevelant and likely theories are that the emergency queens are NOT fed as well or that they are started from an older Larvae (meaning they were not fed well before they were converted to queen cells). But obviously one is planned (swarms and supercedures) and the other is a recation to an unplanned emergency.

    Here is David Eyre's take on that method:

    http://www.beeworks.com/MakingQueens.htm

    An easy method that relies more on luck is to pull any swarm cells and put them in nucs. I tend to take the whole frame even if there are several queen cells and put it with a frame of honey in a two frame nuc to emerge and mate.

    Of course you have to be lucky enough to catch the swarm cells after they're capped and before the bees swarm. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    [size="1"][ November 07, 2005, 02:09 PM: Message edited by: Michael Bush ][/size]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    Thanks MB
    I now see why the 3 splits i did this spring had some problems.But i did get one good queen of 3.I have been talking to Dave about making some queens and the grafting part of it, now it makes sence to me and that is a bit scary.Now this will all be something to see Dave and I with magnifires on and then learning to catch queens with all thumbs.It should be fun anyway.


    So if i am getting the idea you all are saying here.I have had mostly carnis and russian bees for the last 5 years.On top of that there has to be several fearl black bee colonies in my area.This all adds up to be a good thing for breeding queens.Now comes the fun part getting started lol
    Mitch KD8IMF

  15. #15
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    Mitch,

    In the example you gave of adding the spacer did it say how to get the bees to make queen cells their? Is this done during swarming season?

    Kieran
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  16. #16
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    Murphy
    You get the bees to make queen cells by takeing the queen out of the hive by doing a split useing the queen from the hive you want to make the cells in.You can do this any time you have drones flying.Read this link on it i thought it was very intersting.As pointed out by MB this method produces emergency queens that may not be as good as a supersedure or as i see it a grafted queen.Tho i am sure you can get some good queens this way but more failed queens.I am just now getting into queens so im not the expert.What i do know is i did 3 splits haveing the bees make there own queen last year of the 3 one was a great queen one was a drone layer and one was killed by the workers tho that may have been my fault for messing with the hive to soon.The method with the spacer was from Ritchard Taylors how to beekeeping book.I find this book very helpfull.


    Here is David Eyre's take on that method:

    http://www.beeworks.com/MakingQueens.htm
    Mitch KD8IMF

  17. #17
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    Another graftless option when making a queenless cell rearer, is to find several larvae of the correct age (just hatched and so small that the larvae is smaller than an egg) and tear the bottom wall out of the cells. That way the larvae are the right age and the bees will convert these into queen cells. In a really strong hive you may even coerce a queenright hive into starting these as queen cells.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Try searching this website or the net for the "Doolittle method"
    which works pretty well for raising just a few queens. Its very similar to the above suggestions, but very low-tech, simple and easy to moniter.

  19. #19
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    NO need to search. Mr. Dolittle's bookis actually available to read on line.

    http://bees.library.cornell.edu/cgi/...image;seq=0002

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the online version. Doolittle was a pretty amazing guy. Anyone who wants to rear queens should read.
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

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