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  1. #1
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    Default Are banked queens okay?

    I'm planning on requeening some poor producing hives this fall. The queen breeder I bought from in May sent some great queens. I called yesterday and asked about fall queens.They said they had some that had been banked, but they were not raising fresh queens for the fall season. I wondering if being banked is okay or should I order from another breeder that has younger unbanked queens. I have read some previous posts about queen banking so it sounds like a lot of folks bank their queens.

  2. #2
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    He's just being honest. Most of the queens most people buy have been banked. A banked queen may take longer to start laying, but usually they do fine. If they were banked too long it might be a problem, but, still, he's just telling you what most queen sellers don't tell you.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    I think you should distinguish between the larger mega-breeders and the smaller local/regional breeders that for the most part do not bank queens. I have no need, as well as the breeders I work and associate with, to bank queens. I can not keep up with the demand and there is absolutely NO reason to bank queens as it simply adds a step in the process, to which I have no time for. The most I will even hold a caged queen is about 3 days and thats rare, at which time they are mail out. I'll pull queens Saturday and Sunday to mail Monday morning. And if I can, I'll pull them on Monday morning to mail out the same day. That's the secret to no loss in mailing. I had one queen last year die in mailing, and not one this year.

    And even though I do produce queens, I never wanted to buy from a place that banked queens.

    And if you are buying from places that bank large amounts of queens for a week or two, they are probably also the same places that pull a queen at the sight of the first egg. And I'll disagree about it being no big deal. Those outfits that pull queens after the first egg being laid, then banking for a week or more, are the same places referenced so frequently now as providing poor queens, with high supersedure rates, etc.

    Know your breeder. Know what you getting.

    I will say I admire the breeder mentioned for being honest. But its still not a situation I recommend to beekeepers.

  4. #4
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    >Know your breeder. Know what you getting.

    Exactly. And what you've probably been getting for years, without being aware of it, was banked queens. Does it matter? Yes. Is it the norm? Yes. Is it the norm with smaller breeders, probably a lot less so.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Default texas queens

    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    I think you should distinguish between the larger mega-breeders and the smaller local/regional breeders that for the most part do not bank queens. I have no need, as well as the breeders I work and associate with, to bank queens. I can not keep up with the demand and there is absolutely NO reason to bank queens as it simply adds a step in the process, to which I have no time for. The most I will even hold a caged queen is about 3 days and thats rare, at which time they are mail out. I'll pull queens Saturday and Sunday to mail Monday morning. And if I can, I'll pull them on Monday morning to mail out the same day. That's the secret to no loss in mailing. I had one queen last year die in mailing, and not one this year.

    And even though I do produce queens, I never wanted to buy from a place that banked queens.

    And if you are buying from places that bank large amounts of queens for a week or two, they are probably also the same places that pull a queen at the sight of the first egg. And I'll disagree about it being no big deal. Those outfits that pull queens after the first egg being laid, then banking for a week or more, are the same places referenced so frequently now as providing poor queens, with high supersedure rates, etc.

    Know your breeder. Know what you getting.

    I will say I admire the breeder mentioned for being honest. But its still not a situation I recommend to beekeepers.
    I bought two queens from a breeder in texas and one died the other is doing OK but I got her in late just before a dearth so she has been slow starting o lay. I do not think I will have to feed that hive before spring but I just wonder if their claims are real. they say they only treat their hives by requeening for all sorts of bee diseases. It just seems too good to be true, the queen that made it tis too early to tell if these claims are real. Whats your opinion>

  6. #6
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    Thanks for your all your opinions. I suspect the queens have been banked for a while since this operation uses baby nucs for mating, and I've been told baby nucs don't handle hot conditions well. The temperatures in the Sacramento valley were hitting the 100's back in June when I got my second batch of queens from them. Yesterday, the person I talked with at the queen breeder said they had about a thousand queens banked, and would probably be sold out for the year in about a week.
    Last edited by B. Haning; 08-15-2008 at 08:29 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Haning View Post
    and I've been told baby nucs don't handle hot conditions well. The temperatures in the Sacramento valley were hitting the 100's back in June when I got my second batch of queens from them. .
    Well, it's a 100 plus today again but, I was looking at some baby nucs last week and were doing just fine ( about 10 miles from Sacramento). So go figure

  8. #8
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    Default

    Keith, my uncle used to raise queens here in TX and had trouble with baby nucs absconding in the heat. Maybe its the heat and humidity here or the design of the baby nuc my uncle was using. I used to help him catch queens on the weekends. It's lots more fun to catch queens out of baby nucs rather than 3 or 4 frame divided medium depth nucs. Thanks for your help.
    Ben

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by seamuswildhoney View Post
    I bought two queens from a breeder in texas and one died the other is doing OK but I got her in late just before a dearth so she has been slow starting o lay. I do not think I will have to feed that hive before spring but I just wonder if their claims are real. they say they only treat their hives by requeening for all sorts of bee diseases. It just seems too good to be true, the queen that made it tis too early to tell if these claims are real. Whats your opinion>

    The dirty little secret to those mega-operations claiming, (such a "famous" one in Texas), is that constant requeening and building nucs, for many reasons (brood breaks, etc.), suppresses the mites to the point that mite control is not needed. And anyone can claim "no treatments for 7 years" but then never actually mention how many hives they actually lose. So whether they lose 10% or 50%, they just claim they never treat, but does that tell the whole story?

    With the "out-breeding mites" article, along with the information that is being passed on about summer splits, timely requeening, and other huge advantages of breeders, more will actually use these natural mite suppressing techniques as it becomes known.

    So in a nutshell....it may not be anything particular about one bee or another when it comes to some claim about being treatment free. It has a lot to do with management and actual advantages that just come about by the very nature of how the operation is run.

    I don't want to poo-poo on breeders, as I personally think there are good ones out there putting out superior queens compared to some others in the business.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Haning View Post
    Thanks for your all your opinions. I suspect the queens have been banked for a while since this operation uses baby nucs for mating, and I've been told baby nucs don't handle hot conditions well. The temperatures in the Sacramento valley were hitting the 100's back in June when I got my second batch of queens from them. Yesterday, the person I talked with at the queen breeder said they had about a thousand queens banked, and would probably be sold out for the year in about a week.
    I also think more will come to realize that baby nucs allow very little room for queen evaluation (pattern) and for letting the queen lay long enough for such items as finding drone layer, etc.

    Some places advertise this many days or that many days that a queen is allowed to lay before pulling, and it seems the number of days one place holds them compared to the next, keeps climbing. Not sure where it will end. And I think thats questionable also. Certainly a queen should be held for a number of days and studies have indicated that this does effect quality.

    But I also know that queens are not being taken from baby nucs, then placed into hives or larger nucs. So any real amount of time is questionable, as well as the amount of laying that any queen has really done, due to limited space in a baby nuc. Some will hold up a picture of a baby nuc frame filled in and suggest that a great pattern. etc. But it's not hard to get a five by five area of comb filled in regardless of how poor the queen is since she has no other place to lay.

    I'll never be convinced that having queens raised and evaluated in baby nucs is complete, or telling of quality of a queen. The places I have visited that use baby nucs also do not advertise that they allow queens to lay a period of time or anything else along those lines. They are mostly from what I have seen, are the one's that pick a queen after the first egg, then bank what they need.

    And if you think about it, if the queen was allowed to lay for any period of time, then you would be constantly be in a position that too much brood being raised. But these mega operations that use baby nucs, and pull the queen after the first egg....also buy nurse bees in bulk and go around dumping in a cup of bees every week or so just to maintain population in breeding nucs. So how much brood is being laid and therefore evaluated when there is not even enough bees being raised in these same nucs to maintain existence?

    Just some things to think about......
    Last edited by BjornBee; 08-16-2008 at 07:58 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default

    So back to my original question.* Is queen banking the norm in large queen breeding outfits?* Should I be concerned about the quailty of the queens if they are banked?* In a perfect world I would raise my own queens and have complete control of the queen rearing process.,but my work schedule limits the time a can devote to this hobby.* A few queen breeders claim in their ads that there queens are fresh caged before shipment.* Is the fresh caged claim a big selling point?* If baby nucs are a negative it would seem the queen breeders in the south would raise a better queen since shb has forced queen breeders to use larger nucs that can defend themselves from shb.

  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Haning View Post
    had trouble with baby nucs absconding in the heat. .
    Ben, I should have mentioned, many are useing the plastic insulated type of baby nuc.

  13. #13
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    Default texas queens

    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    The dirty little secret to those mega-operations claiming, (such a "famous" one in Texas), is that constant requeening and building nucs, for many reasons (brood breaks, etc.), suppresses the mites to the point that mite control is not needed. And anyone can claim "no treatments for 7 years" but then never actually mention how many hives they actually lose. So whether they lose 10% or 50%, they just claim they never treat, but does that tell the whole story?

    With the "out-breeding mites" article, along with the information that is being passed on about summer splits, timely requeening, and other huge advantages of breeders, more will actually use these natural mite suppressing techniques as it becomes known.

    So in a nutshell....it may not be anything particular about one bee or another when it comes to some claim about being treatment free. It has a lot to do with management and actual advantages that just come about by the very nature of how the operation is run.

    I don't want to poo-poo on breeders, as I personally think there are good ones out there putting out superior queens compared to some others in the business.
    Thank you for the info. That hive is growing steadily but then so are all my hives since the dearth is over. We will see if they are as spectacular as they claim.

  14. #14
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    Default Evaluating Laying patterns



    This is the results of a great brood pattern By a top notch laying queen.

    How do I make this judgement #1 Know the history of the frame before the queen lay-ed in it. it was all Empty cleaned out ready for the queen to lay in check the nuc about 3 days after the queen started to lay it was full of eggs about 3 days later checked it again it had larva about the same age. There was no eggs or smaller larvae scattered about (this would be evidence) of a queen that made another round relaying eggs for the ones that had not hatched.

    When evaluating a queens laying pattern is best done before they are sealed.

    If you have mating nuc either Mini or bigger nuc is to check them 5 or 6 days after they were to start laying and check the solidness of the larva in the frames ( if solid and larva same age) She is well mated. Now some times I have seen them lay the whole side and some times there will be a circular patter but larva and eggs will be the same. Bigger larva in center smaller larva around outer edge if she started on a empty frame.

    To raise a good queen with a good brood pattern is

    # No inbreeding
    # Well fed larva in raising your queens
    # larva under 24 hours old when grafted
    # well maintained Nuc enought bees to keep the queen warm and feed to keep them going
    # Plenty of Drones for mating

    Even 5 frame Nuc put off bad Queens
    The sealed brood pattern can fool you because no bigger than a five frame nuc the queen will back track and relay cell missed or from eggs not hatching. you can do the math on cell the queen could lay in a 5 frame nuc how many days it will take her to lay them and have extra days for the queen back track and relay

  15. #15
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    Default

    >So back to my original question.* Is queen banking the norm in large queen breeding outfits?*

    Yes.

    > Should I be concerned about the quailty of the queens if they are banked?*

    They may not be as good as queens that aren't banked but they are what most people have always gotten and they seem to suffice.

    > In a perfect world I would raise my own queens and have complete control of the queen rearing process.,but my work schedule limits the time a can devote to this hobby.*

    Exactly.

    > A few queen breeders claim in their ads that there queens are fresh caged before shipment.* Is the fresh caged claim a big selling point?*

    It probably should be.

    > If baby nucs are a negative it would seem the queen breeders in the south would raise a better queen since shb has forced queen breeders to use larger nucs that can defend themselves from shb.

    It's also a disadvantage to have a queen that is laying up a storm and is suddenly caged and shipped and can't lay. In nature a queen gets a week or so to adjust. In that way a mini nuc could even be an advantage.

    "It is a well-established fact that, when a queen laying to full capacity is removed from the colony and placed in a mailing cage, she seldom makes good at the head of a colony as far as prolificness is concerned. When it is necessary to remove a queen in the height of her egg-laying, as for instance, if one wishes to ship a breeding queen that is in a strong colony, it is best to place her in a nucleus for a few days. In this case she can reduce the number of eggs she lays, gradually becomes much smaller in size and therefore she can stand the trip better. If the queen is extra large in size and laying to full capacity, I have found a splendid "reducing exercise" as follows: Take out two frames of brood with bees and the queen, and place them in a nucleus hive on a new stand. In two days' time, move the nucleus to a new location, and on the next day move it again. The bees that fly out do not return. The nucleus is thus weakened in bees and is not getting any honey or pollen; so the queen rapidly curtails egg-laying. To remove her when she is laying in a limited way does not injure the queen in the least, for this is in perfect harmony with bee nature."--Jay Smith, Queen Rearing Simplified

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...lified.htm#c22

    Also Doolittle's version:

    "the plan of keeping Queens out of colonies for a week or so before sending them out, can only remedy the matter as far as they are liable to being bruised is concerned; while it has really no bearing on the main cause of the trouble. The keeping of them in a nucleus for a few days, would come nearer to Nature's way of preparing the Queen to leave the hive, than any of the other plans; yet this will not fully accomplish the object, nor do I know of any that will.

    "Having solved the matter to my satisfaction, that Queens were mainly injured by suddenly stopping them from prolific egg-laying, and not finding any plan to fully overcome this difficulty..."--G.M. Doolittle, Scientific Queen Rearing

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesdoolittle.htm#CHAPTER21

    Alley's version:

    "I removed, on different occasions, several queens from nuclei and full, vigorous colonies, keeping them in the nursery for a few days before shipping, also keeping a correct record of these queens and their destination in order to ascertain if they reported all right. No complaint came regarding them, hence I concluded that I had discovered one of the causes and also the proper remedy for it."--Henry Alley, The Bee-Keeper's Handy Book I

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

  16. #16
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    Default

    Thanks for the advice Michael. I ordered some queens from Mississippi that had not been banked. The only issue so far with this new batch of queens was that they had quite a few dead attendants in the mailing cages. One queen was alive, but her attendants were dead; another had only one attendant alive. I got them all installed within one day of their arrival. In a few days I'll check to see if they were released.

  17. #17
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    Default

    They may do fine, but that many dead attendants is indicative of a lot of stress on the trip. Probably heat or bad handling on the shipping company's part.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Default

    Banked queens do start slower, but are usually mated during late spring, early summer when the largest amout of drones are available. Mating quality may be greater than queens reared during the summer and early fall, due to dearths and reduction of drones in the hives.
    Because a queen is banked does not mean that the sperm she has stored is any less than at the time of mating. Good Mating is "one" critical part of a good gueen.

    Most larger queen producers are not willing to feed and suppliment their drone mothers into the summer and fall to keep the drones needed for mating. It takes syrup and pollen patties to keep large numbers of drones later into the year.

    If you are receiving banked queens and you have the equipment. Install the new queens into 5 frame nucs for a couple of weeks and allow them to restart. Then introduce the entire nuc into the hive to replace the old queen.

    Banked queens pheromones are reduced to the minimum and it can take a little while for them to rebuild. When introducing them the reduced pheromones can spure the old hive into supersedure.



    Frank

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