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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Default Searching for,.. "wild drones".

    On a thread a few weeks ago; "Why does small cell deter varroa", there were a few comments suggesting that there ARE!,.. feral/survivor/wild,.... honeybee colonies in trees, abandoned buildings, etc., somewhat remote from managed colonies and in some cases,..doing quite well.

    Here's my thought. I establish a nuc with all the right frames. I could possibly even add a queen cell from my best colony to,.. "hurry up" the process. I would put the nuc out in a public hunting grounds [1700+ acres] where I saw bees last summer on sumac, BUT NOT AS MANY as on the sumac near my hives! I may ask some of the farmers/home owners within,.....oh let's say,....a 3-5 mile radius of the PHG whether they have bees or have seen any "wild" colonies.

    What "success" do you think I would have with the queen mating with a "WILD DRONE" ? Do you think she would mostly mate with the few drones from the nuc?

    This for fun!.........a hobby.--Oldbee.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 07-08-2008 at 10:30 AM. Reason: number change

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Oxford, Kansas
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    Default

    IMO The closer you get the nuc to wild drones the better the odds are of her mating with them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default

    >What "success" do you think I would have with the queen mating with a "WILD DRONE" ? Do you think she would mostly mate with the few drones from the nuc?

    The experts say that the queens fly further to mate than the drones do so usually the queen will mate with other drones than the ones from her yard. The queen breeders say they sometimes see queens mate right in the beeyard. It probably comes back to "usually" and "sometimes".

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#howfardrones
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
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    Default

    Boy, I hate tp disagree with riverrrat but it would definitely bee a new experience to bee called a redneck. I would try four to seven miles for the queen to mate. And as for those who mate in their own yard, You'll see the inbreeding problems as they weaken the hive. That trait is self defeating/suicidal.

    let us know how it turns out. Sounds like a great way to pick up some very desirable traits.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  5. #5

    Default

    The queen will definately get mated. I have saw one drone saturation model that said the beekeeper would need to place a drone mother colony evey 1/2 mile out to a 5 mile radius to ensure good drone saturation. So if the drones are out there the virgin should be able to find them.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2006
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    Default

    Thanks for replies. There are a lot of early spring blooming plants like willows and maple in the PHG that I can check for bees. Also, many big old trees in the woods and out in the open. This is probably a hit or miss "experiment" but I am looking forward to doing this. Maybe the queen won't "find" any drones "out there" and mate with the nuc drones, although there shouldn't be too many. The nuc would be brought back after about 3 weeks or at least shortly after seeing the queen and eggs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    Research has shown the average distance between apiary and
    mating place is two kilometers (1.6 km = one mile). 1.25 miles

    IT is also known that drones prefer the “nearer dca”.
    So this reduces greatly the chance of domestic drones
    traveling great distances to remote DCAs.

    I think it would be a safe to say if a mating nuc is placed in
    a remote area. And if there are sufficient number feral drones needed to
    form a DCA, the queen would have a better chance at selecting
    DCAs having feral drones.

    Joe

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Default Success!

    Well,. I went and tried it and done it and the nuc that I put out at the public hunting grounds apparently has a mated queen [Q-cell] because open brood was seen today; not much, but enough to know the queen is doing well considering she doesn't have a lot of nurse bees right now. Nuc was put out on May 16.

    My question: When I bring back this nuc closer to where I can take care of it properly, do you think I should find a place far [2-3 miles] from my other three hives? The public hunting grounds is 25 miles away and too far to drive now. I know that this little "experiment" is just a hobby of mine and the queen may not have mated with drones that are from "survivor", PHG. colonies but it is fun/interesting. Thanks.

    I'm a little disappointed that the queen is a "golden color" and the bees that I saw at the PHG. early in the year [working willow] were about 70% dark colored bees and 30% the gold/yellow color. The frames that I made up the nuc from was a colony of about equal dark/light bees.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 06-11-2008 at 08:17 PM. Reason: Addition

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
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    Oldbee, just bring her down here, and she can mate with my drones. My only surviving hive was one that was given to me about 5-6 years ago from a local nursery where a hive had been left untended by the previous owners some 5 years prior to my getting them. They had not been medicated or treated in any way for five years before I got them, and have been treated with Apistan twice since I got them back in 2002 ( the second treatment is now in place). They have "personality", but the primary reason I leave them alone is they seem to have some natural resistance to the usual bee problems.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Thanks for reply,.............dragonfly.......

    "Bring her down to north central Texas and she can mate with my drones"?

    But, but,..she's already mated and laying?

    This "experiment" probably won't work very well if I put the hive near my already established hives. Maybe next year I can requeen all my hives with mated queens from the,.."drones of the deep woods" of the public hunting grounds.

    Just a note about the weather here. I had to put on waders [3 feet deep water] to get to the nuc because road was washed out. I hope the water will go down in 10-15 days when I retrieve it.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 06-13-2008 at 08:54 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Dane County, WI.
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    Default I am so LUCKY!

    Well, I retrieved the nuc from the public hunting grounds this morning. Quite an 'ordeal'; oh well, as far as 'ordeals' go I guess. I put the nuc into my sled [3' by 6'] with a 3" foam cushion to absorb the shocks,..over the rocks and branches. A whole tree had blown down and crossed the road to the public hunting grounds. As I was pulling the sled through the path, I couldn't believe it!! The nuc tipped over; completely upside down when the sled encounterd a small log when I was pulling and wasn't looking! lol. Fortunately I had put a shim into the frames to secure them and it was securely tied down.

    When I got the nuc home to its,.. 'final resting place' and transfered the frames to a deep with additional [5.1] foundation, it was remarkable that every frame was intact with very little damage and, AND! I saw the queen, healthy as can bee. She is a bit of a 'blondy' while the new bees that I saw were dark on the abdomen. Some of them have reddish/orange spots on the first segment of the abdomen. Has anyone else seen this?
    Last edited by Oldbee; 07-06-2008 at 06:20 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    There are no beekeepers around me for atleast 5 miles. Many of my hives were from collected hives from areas with no managed colonies. This and natural cell is all I have done to keep my bees healthy. Feeding is bare minium as I an selecting for frugal bees during these droughts. Queens need to lay when there is a flow and stop/slow down when the flow does.

  13. #13
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    It sounds to me like she's got good genetic diversity in her genes. Bring her back home and set her in your yard, won't hurt to be next to your other hives.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Trumbull, CT
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    Default

    pictures, I want to see too

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    It sounds to me like she's got good genetic diversity in her genes. Bring her back home and set her in your yard, won't hurt to be next to your other hives.
    Thanks for that encouraging information. Right now I don't have another place to put the hive; maybe by next spring. It would be great to try and not treat the hive [Apiguard] but I'm kind of a 'worry-wort' about that. I didn't have time to put traps up out there this spring which might be a little easier than using a nuc and I would get a wild queen; maybe. It was surprising the bees were so calm after being tipped over and not 'out to get me', lol, no crushed bees either. It's just a fun experiment; I hope they build up before winter! Probably nothing will come of it. There are A LOT of big old trees out there anyway [1700+ acres] and I haven't seen any managed hives nearby.

    Pictures -LEADPIPE. Maybe in a few weeks when the population is mostly young bees from this queen.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 07-08-2008 at 10:32 AM.

  16. #16
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    Chatfield, TX. 75105
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    sounds like itailian i have some that are redesh brown very seateal,the nuc's are my faverit for traps because you want them to be tite to establesh,i take then and add a nuc supper on top when they have filled both 5fram nucs they are read for a standerd hive box

  17. #17
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    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    I've used ApiGuard in the past, and don't like it. Any harsh treatments like that, that I've tried, you can see the stress on the bees, it's not good for the bees at all, even if it does kill mites. I now use powder sugar thru a flour sifter on the top of the frames in each box, brushing it sideways so it drops down between the frames with a brush. It works well in getting the mites to drop off the adult bees and out of the hive thru my homemade screened bottom boards. I don't use any chemicals on my bees for treating varroa anymore.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    Oldbee,
    I'm glad you gave that a try. I wanted to do that myself here, but we don't have that much wild land. At home in Alabama, we had a lot which is where I got the idea myself.

    Congrats.
    WayaCoyote

  19. #19
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    Sep 2006
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    What is this 'old thread' [of mine] doing up here?? lol.

    Thanks for comment, wayacoyote. Of course, I have NO illusions about any 'benefits' that may arise from this 'amateur' experiment. I was just amazed and pleasantly surprised that the queen mated out there in the 'boondocks'.

    What I would do,....'next time/next spring'!!

    1. Put out some swarm traps of course; to get a 'wild queen' also,..maybe. I didn't get 'permission' to do this from the natural resources [PHG] 'people', so maybe swarm traps would be better, as long as they are removed in the fall.
    2. 'Pinch' the drones that I see and scrape the drone cells in the frames that I use for the nuc. Although I have read that the queen avoids mating with drones from her own colony.
    3. Try to contact some farmers/home owners within that one/two mile radius to find out if there are any feral or managed colonies nearby.
    4. Use queen cells from this hive next year!! And do it again.
    5. Actually, I think I will set up a nuc,.. right outside my apartment. There is a park nearby [a few others; 50+ acres] with a lot of BIG trees. Now how many colonies of honey bees are still surviving within a two mile radius of a city this size?


    No illusions: The 'new hive' is doing well, although if I don't use some smoke it seems to be 'a bit fiesty'. I think that's good. I only wish I had the 'confidence' to not 'treat' this hive in the fall; maybe next year.

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