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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    College Station, Texas
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    6,973

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    well not to be argumentative chef isaac, but do consider this process beyound the one step of cell starting. you must first start cell, then finish cells and finally have some place for the cells to go for mating. along the way you will need extra frames of pollen for the starters, and extra frames of soon to emerge brood for the starters and the finishers plus some more pollen frames, and when these two process are complete (if you are successful in rearing two racks of cells) a minimum of two frames per queen cell for mating. if you assume that the cell starter/finisher has 20 cells then this step alone will take a minimum of 40 full frames of bees and honey (I use 3 frames per standard nuc so my number would be 60 frames). you can stretch your resources by using baby nucs, but you loose some flexibility in terms of timing and these baby nuc units are much more fragile and therefore somewhat more difficult to maintain.

    a number of people have gone to just raising queen cells (which are then sold to primarily commercial outfits) here and I suspect much of the rational for this move is the reduction in hive and human resources required.

    just a thought...

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    722

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    Good point tecumseh. There seems to be two questions. How many hives to support a cell rearing hive and how many hives are needed for queen rearing. The first question is fairly easy to answer as one cell builder can realistically only raise a given number of cells. The second is very much dependent on the size of the nucs, how quicly the queens are removed, and how many queens you are trying to raise at once.

    Min-nucs may only need one cup of bees so very few hives are needed to populate them. But when using larger nucs as I do you may need quite a few hives. Typically in April when I make up the splits I use about 2 frames of bees and brood and a frame of honey, and I make about 3 from each parent hive. Then in a couple weeks time I can make a few more from each if needed. This works well in my location because the honey flow doesn't typically start until late May or June giving the hives plenty of time to build back up to strength and produce a normal honey crop. Those hives supporting the cell builders however have brood removed every week and often won't produce much of a crop.

    I think big outfits buy queen cells for several reasons. Price, ease of installation (you don't have to pull the cage, check for acceptance), availability (I can raise far more cells than I can queens), and some use them for requeening.

    -Tim

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,113

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    least one maximum sized batch of queen cells at a time to get your money's worth out of your time. In my experience if you don't have six strong hives you really don't have enough bees to set up a strong hive to hatch the larvae and feed them well(which for me is usually the hive with the breeder queen), a hive to set up as a cell starter/finisher (if you want to combine them but in a big production you may want to split this or have more than one), and several hives you can steal from to set up the mating nucs. My mating nucs are a frame of brood and a frame of honey in a two frame nuc. For a decent cell bar full of queens (about 30 or so) that's 30 frames of brood and 30 frames of honey, just to set up those mating nucs. With the ferals in April, no have has more than about five or six frames of brood. I will try to stimulate them earlier this year but I don't know how much I can fool them. So I have to wait until May when they are strong enough to have ten or more frames. That's still all the frames of brood from three hives to set up the mating nucs and that's if you use those hives up. If you want to keep them as a decent hive, you only want to take half of the brood, so thatÂ’s six hives just for the mating nucs for just one frame of queen cells.

    Let's recap. One hive for the breeder. One hive for the starter/finisher. Six hives for the mating nucs. That's eight hives.

    I'm usually doing four cell starter/finishers at a time so I can do two frames of cells for each batch (not only more queens but insurance if a hot day or a stray queen cell wipes one of them out) and a batch every week (it takes two weeks to get them ready for the mating nucs). So now I need one hive for the breeder queen. Four hives for the starter/finisher and twenty four hives to break up for mating nucs. That's 29 hives. That's about what I have in my back yard. I don't get much honey this way. I may try Dr. Spivak's method to see if I can get some honey AND some queens.

    As far as the minimum to get a few nice queens. I've put four queen cells in a two frame nuc packed full of bees and had them raise four very nice queen cells and then put three of those in other two frame nucs for mating. But I'm not looking to go through all the motions to only get four queens. I want sixty at a time. As long as the starter is overflowing with bees and has plenty of nectar and pollen they will make some nice queens, regardless of the size, but you still need a big strong hive (still overflowing with bees) to rear a lot of queen cells. You can't get a lot of good queens with 30 queen cells in a five frame nuc. You will get SOME. But not a lot.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
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    I think it all depends on how many queens you want to rear. I think it if you take one strong two or three deep hive, feed them for a month, graft, take the queen and maybe two frames of bees, place them in a nuc and than place the grafts back in there and wait until they are capped over and than place them in a incubator, take the cell starter hive and make nucs of it and than place the queen cells back in there, than that would be good. One stop shop!!

    For example, say you are rearing 20 queens (might not sound like a lot but it can be turned into a profit!!). You will need 20 nucs of some type. I am going to try two and three frame nucs but lets use the three frame nuc for example, Two frames of bees and one feeder frame. So you need 40 frames, two frames of bees per nuc. thats two colonies granting each colony is two deeps worth.

    Of course... this is my opinion.... heck.. I havent even grafted yet!! he he
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Crown Point , (NW) Indiana
    Posts
    529

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    Beekeepers can't agree on a yes/no answer.

    I'm not considering entering this conversation.
    Especiailly when half the beeks have their own fuzzy math!

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

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    You can raise as few as one and as many as 30 (or maybe more) in one cell builder/finisher. It takes the same number of trips to the beeyard for one as it does for 30. How many queens do you want for how much labor?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    Just remember, when working in agriculture, your time is free! And never, ever, figure out what you are making per hour, as anything else would pay more.

    Rather, think of it as a type of lifestyle. You'll be the last of the cowboys unfettered by modern choices, like what to purchase at Walmart with your surplus cash. Or how to spend your leisure time :&gt))

    Regards
    Dennis
    Having found just a day job after being a commercial honey and queen producer

    [size="1"][ January 07, 2006, 09:05 AM: Message edited by: B Wrangler ][/size]

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Seattle, Washington State
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    4,398

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    B wrangler:

    I agree with you. Never try to figure out what you make per hour. it will always depress you!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
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    6,973

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    actually b wrangler brings up a very good point in that the supply function (ie supply and demand/market equilibrum theory) is dependent on the producer 'knowing' his cost at various levels of production. when primary producers exclude any cost they are undermining their own decision making capabilities and their very existance. and yes this is a significant problem in agriculture.

    I hope the day job goes well for you b wrangler (and I am dead serious about that).

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    I agree with you wholeheartedly tecumseh. At some point everybody has to put some value on their time, especially when you consider that it is a finite amount. It might be depressing when you do figure it out but at least you know what you are worth as a beekeeper. In my experience this value increases over time. I just got faster at doing this or that job. Decisions are made faster on how to fix whatever problem I encounter.

    At some point Chef you gotta figure what aspect of beekeeping are you good at and hopefully it is profitable. Avoid the ones that are not so profitable. It sounds from a previous post that you've figured out making your own equipment is not very profitable. I've also figured that out and I let another beekeeper make mine. I save my energy for pollination ( not my favorite, but pays many bills) and making making nucs (fun and profit). So unless you really enjoy the woodworking aspect I would avoid it.

    Jean-Marc

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
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    At least you're not figuring out how much money you're loosing per an hour!

  12. #32
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    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
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    Jean Marc:

    Yes, I do agree with you. I have found making some things are not the best. I do like to learn though and since my dad is a wood worker, its nice to have another thing in common with him. I do think having some woodworking skills is critical. I do think I can make my own inner covers, outter covers and bottom boards. Maybe... maybe not. I am having fun putting supers and deeps together and painting them. It is fun!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    As long as you are having fun it makes the money part not as important. It is good that you can spend time with your father doing something you both enjoy.

    Jean-Marc

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
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    maximize your natural talents and minimize your failings (we all got plenty of that) is usually a pretty good receipt for success. place your focus into the passion of your life and 'enough' money will naturally follow. over time chief I have found that even some aspect of beekeeping that I never suspected I would enjoy are now quite fulfilling.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Bartonville, TX USA
    Posts
    456

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    I know a guy who has a novel approach to the queen business. he maintains 3 or 4 distinct straight lines all through AI. He then sells F1 crosses for $2500 each.

    He says big outfits buy his queens to raise their queens with. Some of his customers are raising 10,000 queens themselves.

    He maintains and selects each line for productivity.But each line is a closed population - all genetically alike through AI. He sell queens that are F1 crosses between the lines (but I think will sell straight lines as well). When the F1 crosses mate with the buyers drones you are supposed to get the F2 hybrid vigor for that extra umph that makes for superior layers. That's his story anyway.

    I figure he doesn't need a lot of customers @ $2500 a queen to make a living. I think he said he ran about 100 hives. He was definately not an 'organic' type. He said he had tried russians but without much luck - he was waiting for someone else to breed a russian into a good bee. His market was clearly the big operators.

    [size="1"][ January 09, 2006, 11:36 PM: Message edited by: wfarler ][/size]
    "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes"
    Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
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    I agree to maximize your talents however, IF you want to learn and grow (I do like the learning process), than it is good to dabble in things you are not sucessful at.

    FOR EXAMPLE: I am not good at rolling buritos. Seems like (no offense to anyone) that white guys just cant do it. I call over my hispanis prep cook and he does it. he says "si! Muey facile".

    Guess I will need to practice more!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
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    yep chef in regards to many things, el gringo mucho tonto...

    having spent a small amount of time in mexico, it is my belief that there is much we can learn from that culture.

    and as to your comments about the learning process, they would fit me like a tailor made suit...

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

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    Chef Isaac wrote: "I am planning on rearing some queens this year. The hardest thing for me was to nail down a way to rear queens that work for me. I now have found the way I want to rear queens with little effort. I would even suggest that it is easier than the Ohio method."

    I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for you to tell us what this method is. Or is this a patent-pending, proprietary method?

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  19. #39
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
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    Speaking of patents, does anyone know the scope of the Purvis Brothers patent they are awaiting. I generally think patenting genitic material is flat wrong, you enabled it to come out a certain way, but its still a part of nature, i.e. you did not invent it, you bred it, or modified it.

    The scope I am wondering is for example, what if angus cows were patented when developed, holsteins, etc. Would you be able to breed and sell angus/holstein hybrids, or would any distinct trait of the patented cow be a violation, or how would it be enforced. Would the genitic material have to be %100 match to be in violation?

    I am holding out judgement on wether I think their patent claim is off base, in fact I ordered 3 queens for summer as I hear they are good. Waited to long to get some for spring.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
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    Are we certain that the genetics are patented, or is it just the name. I feel confident that breeders could sell Sue Colby's work simply as 'carnolians' without getting sued. Heaven knows, a lot of crap passes for pedigree linguistica queens.

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