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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Crown Point , (NW) Indiana
    Posts
    529

    Post

    From what I've read:
    Various sub-species of bees maintain different quanities of brood over the winter, generally the lighter the larger brood area, the darker, the more likly to cease laying until spring.

    Queens seem to restart about mid/late-December/January.

    Queens tend to lay in the center of the warm cluster and work outwards as the climate improves and center brood spaces fill.

    My queen questions are:
    When do queens start to lay in drone cells?

    Drone cells within the used winter brood area are filled first, right?

    When could one expect the queen to lay on exclusively drone frames (like pierco or the like?)(weeks/months/temp dependant?)

    Drones require two weeks to mature following their hatch.

    My Drone questions are:
    Is maturity slower in colder temps?

    Though the temp maybe too cold for flight, could drones be hand picked from frames and seman collected for insemination (provided of course they are mature)?

    Does a drone require a flight(s) to be viable to mate? even for seman quality for instrumental insemination?

    So in short, when Am I going to get 'em, when can I use 'em and how can I use them?


    Thanks, Aways

    Jeff
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,212

    Post

    Drone eggs are laid only when fresh pollen is available. Its interesting in a way because many people think drone eggs are laid as a response to fresh nectar or even just as a matter of course. This is not correct.

    The answer to your question is to find out when your first pollen flow starts. 45 days later, you should have drones ready to mate. We usually get an early pollen flow in mid February. I expect to have drones available by the first week of April. Your timing should be around the 15th of April or maybe just a bit later.

    Fusion

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Jeff, that should be easier than it sounds. Remember you can actually see the pollen on the bees. Here in Colorado, I just look on the lawn for dandelion plants to bloom. that's the start of my bee season.

    Are you gonna II em?

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    NW,
    There are steps that can be taken to get drones earlier in the year. Feeding pollen patties, open feeding pollen. (they may collect on days warm enough for flight but before the time of pollen sources available.)

    I heard one guy say something about making queenless hives early in the season and somehow this kicking in drone production in the rest of the yard. I am not sure about this however.

    You can buy drones.
    You can buy semen.

    Other than that, the other comments are about right with regards to drone age, time, etc. Dandelions here is 1 or 2 months after pollen has been coming in from other sources. Silver maples are early providers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Crown Point , (NW) Indiana
    Posts
    529

    Post

    Robert: [Are you gonna II em?]
    I surely hope so, but I have to learn a technique first.

    BjornBee: ..[feeding pollen]..

    Thanks, that was my next chain of thought.
    I was figuring feeding anything more than the dearth of winter may motivate some rearing.

    Drone semen has a long shelf life (months).
    I was also trying to figure:
    1. How late queens could be reared
    2. How late semen stocks would still be viable
    3. How big a window would exist between stored semen stocks and new spring drone stock

    I thought on the bigger picture has to be what quality is a queen if she is reared in late fall dearth, and half heartly inseminated with half dead semen in early winter, only to have a nuc which has to be fed and babied through the winter.
    Not to mention this means she'll most likely be tired/stressed immediately before spring honey flows start.

    In the scheme of quality over quantity, late, or even very earily queen rearing may not be the most healthy for the queen or the gene pool.

    I hope this is a beekeeper instinct, but I'm feeling in my heart that this is going too deeply against the grain of nature.

    Thanks for your inputs,

    Jeff
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    726

    Post

    The easiest way to collect dones for II is to simply lean a queen excluder over the hive entrance and pick off the drones as they return from flight. They will be hungry, but will have already defecated(making semen collection easier), and most likely are mature enough to yield semen. They can be collected right off the frames though when the weather doesn't permit flights. They do not have to make flights to be viable. Older drones do tend to congregate on frames of honey.

    With II you certainly can raise queens just about anytime it's warm enough to work the hive, assuming you provide the missing resources and have drones available or semen already collected.

    -Tim

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