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  1. #1
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    Default Banking queens for extended periods

    There was a thread a while back by someone who had kept some queens in a queen bank for 6 months or so. He was wondering if they would be any good. I don't remember the answers, I don't think anyone reported a maximum time in a bank. It seems the jist was to report back in when he knew from his experiences. If he ever did I missed the thread.
    I am wondering how those queens did and also what others experiences are with banking queens for extended periods, ie over winter, let's say 4 - 5 months.
    Sheri

  2. #2
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    Lancaster CA
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    I have herd that workers will nibble on the queens feet through the cage screen and damage them. I like to use them ASAP , 2 to 3 weeks.

  3. #3
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    I got five banked Russian queens from Strachan a few years ago, maybe in August or September, they warned me that they had been banked. Two didn't survive introduction, two didn't survive winter (we barely have one here), the last didn't survive a year. :mad:

  4. #4
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    In regards to banking queens: for best results you need a queenless colony with plenty of young bees and emerging brood to replace aging nurses. Keep thin syrup available. The queens if properly cared for will swell in size and even begin laying in the cages. They may be kept for many weeks this way, and are better prepared for introduction than with shipping attendants only. I don't think you can store them very well in Winter or Autumn. Best way to store queens over winter is in the form of nucs like two or three in a hive body or stacked for warmth.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2004
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    Thanks for the replies
    I was thinking (I know, a dangerous thing!) it would be nice if we could make a queen bank and send it out to California, where we could add young bees and where we will be tending them anyway.

    I have thought about wintering nucs but as John points out, the economics don't work. You could combine three nucs (toss 2 queens), take them to California to almonds and buy expensive queens in spring and still come out ahead. I just hate to waste a queen.
    Sheri

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    (I know, a dangerous thing!) Sheri
    Nawww..... I never get in trouble when I talk about QUEENS. lol


    Sheri, I buy them from HI and keep them in the battery box till I'm done with them. They are feed just like a hive and stay in the house at night. I mix pollen and honey in a skep, poke a hole in the top of the cardboard box with a pencile to feed them every night.Also move the spounge to the side so you can shoot water in for them as well.

    One small note we have them SHIPPED usps.

  7. #7
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    Yeah Keith, we keep bees in battery boxes for a couple days sometimes but usually we put them in the bank pretty quickly. And in the spring, the queens we buy we use them up pretty fast. Where I run into trouble is the queens we raise ourselves, we usually have a few left when all is said and done. They are like pets , I don't want to just pinch them!! Not very professional, I know, but I hope I never get so callous I can just toss a dozen or two queens.

    Maybe I should have a year end queen sale, make sure they go to a good home. But I would sure like to keep them.
    Sheri

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Orlando, FL
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    Sheri,

    Maybe we can help each other out. My problem has been the opposite of yours.

    I need to make splits in like mid Dec or Jan 1st in order for them to build up a little before the orange blossom bloom which starts 2/15 or 3/1 here in Central Florida.

    If your season closes down by Nov 1 and you had queens that needed a home. I'd only have to hold them for about 6 weeks until I needed them.

    Send them to Florida to live out their days. That is what every old human does - the bees might as well do it too.
    Troy

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    I have thought about wintering nucs but as John points out, the economics don't work. You could combine three nucs (toss 2 queens), take them to California to almonds and buy expensive queens in spring and still come out ahead. I just hate to waste a queen.
    Sheri
    Not sure why the economics don't work for you, but...I winter nucs of all sizes. 4 and 5 frame nucs, mating nucs, and singles. While I winter the 4 way mating nucs in double nuc configuration (8 mini-combs on each side of the central divider) they can be wintered in the 4 way configuration (2 sets of 4 mini-combs on each side of the central divider). In the spring, the mating nucs build up too fast and will swarm. So, you stack two boxes on top of each other making two story mating nucs. With the mating nucs wintered in the 4 way configuration, you can remove 6 queens from the two boxes, and still have 2 to keep the mating nucs going.

  10. #10
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    Oh, I meant to say...you don't toss the 6 queens you pull, you use them somewhere...like when you go to California.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Not sure why the economics don't work for you, but...I winter .... mating nucs...
    Michael, the economics are simple: figure a queen is worth $15. If we take three nucs, combine them and send them to California we kiss off 2 queens worth $30 but make $120 in the almonds, with which we replace those queens and are way money ahead. Even at $25 ea we come out ahead.
    BUT, I had assumed they would need a full size deep nuc to winter them. I like the idea of the mini nucs, I guess I hadn't given much thought to them. They take less resources, and having brood in them would be a good thing in the spring.
    They wouldn't make it outside I don't think, but indoors they might make it here. Then I would just be concerned about feed in the spring. I might try a few of these.

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    Sheri,....Send them to Florida to live out their days.
    Troy, this is another good solution. I didn't realize there might be a need in FL for fresh queens. You may hear from me come October! I wish we could arrange to deliver them, but too busy that time of year.
    Sheri

  12. #12
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    Sheri:

    I know my weather is not as bad as yours in the winter time but they do overwinter very well. I overwintered 5 mini nucs and they all did great.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  13. #13
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    Sheri, Can I take them home on the airplane?

    I own land near Grantsburg WI. In fact I am here now. According to Google Maps you are almost 3 hrs drive away, but maybe in the fall when I come up I could get them, or you could mail them - I'll be glad to pay the postage.

    I am here usually right around the 1st of Oct. though, so maybe your season is not quite over yet?

    Anyway, I will PM you my phone, address, and email addresses.
    Troy

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    Sheri: ... I overwintered 5 mini nucs and they all did great.
    Isaac, I am curious, did you winter them outside? Also, what is your maximum and average lows, plus how long are your "winters". In our area if they don't have a big cluster they just don't make it, unless we put them inside. We run Italians, if I remember you are running some Russians?


    Troy, I am not sure about the airplane, bees might be considered a terrorist weapon.
    But maybe if they were packaged well and put in the shipping compartment as an animal is....? Something to look into. Anyone know?

    Who knows what fall will bring, we may end up needing them all but if it is as usual we will have some extras...
    Our season in Wisconsin is over the middle/end of October, then we start shipping to California.
    I got your contact info and we will go from there.
    Meanwhile, if you plan on getting down to our area give us a call, I will send our contact info to you as well.
    Sheri

  15. #15
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    Sheri:

    Winter starts in October most times with a lot of rain. Some snow and more rain and some freezes and wind storms. Lows can dip down into the single digits some years. Most times we are in the 30s to low 40s. I have a pretty big inner cover on all of the mating nucs that I make a thick sugar cake and put on each one. The eat it all winter long. It is great to use. I would love to share the recipe with you if you are interested. It is quick and easy.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  16. #16
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    The queens were muts that I raised in mid to late summer.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    They take less resources, and having brood in them would be a good thing in the spring.
    They wouldn't make it outside I don't think, but indoors they might make it here. Then I would just be concerned about feed in the spring. I might try a few of these.
    Yes, less resources...and that's the point. Wintering 2-4 queens per deep box...the last round of queens of the season. I wintered more than 100 queens this way this winter...not to mention the 300+ in regular 4 frame nucs.

    I'm wondering why these nucs wouldn't winter in WI. Do your production colonies winter out doors? I would think that nucs will if colonies will.

    And having brood in the mating nucs come spring is a huge plus. Never any problems setting up this years' mating nucs when you have brood already...except the part about keeping them in the hives and out of the trees. :-)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    Sheri: Most times we are in the 30s to low 40s. I would love to share the <sugar cake> recipe with you ...
    Yeah, you are WAY warmer than we are. We kept the indoor room at 45F when we wintered here. As for the sugar cake, sure, would love to have it. With you being a chef I assume I could eat it too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I'm wondering why these nucs wouldn't winter in WI. Do your production colonies winter out doors? I would think that nucs will if colonies will.
    So far, ALL our production colonies go to California. If they are not strong enough for California they won't winter here in WI. Again, I have a hard time imagining a nuc making it outdoors here in a typical WI winter. Maybe stacked and packed. It can be brutal, lows in the -20s for weeks at a time, shoot, highs can be in the -20s for weeks in a row. But given that they would, and most probably they would in the room, it still comes down to the trade off with almond money. This is why the mating nucs are attractive to me, less resources than a nuc even. Perhaps this year we will try some small nucs in our room, instead of combining them. I might try banking a couple as well, just for the experiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    ..except the part about keeping them in the hives and out of the trees. :-)
    I hear you there, this year we have already picked up a bunch from our home yard, and you know you only see half of what goes. Don't even want to talk about the out yards.
    Sheri

  19. #19
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    Sheri:

    You should try to over winter some. Try it a few different ways:

    1- over winter 8 frame mini nucs (two mating nucs in one deep if you get my drift). Over winter some outside, wrapped, some outside not wrapped, some outside in fours wrapped and some outside packed in fours. Try overwintering some inside too.

    2- Try overwintering some 4-5 frame nucs

    3_ now try to overwinter two four frame nucs in one deep outside.

    See what the result is. I overwintered all the mating nucs with 100% success. I overwintered doulbe 4 frame nucs (in a deep) with 95% success and I overwintered single 5 frame nucs, unwrapped, with 0% success (big failure).
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

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