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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default First attempt at raising queens: a few questions

    I finally have enough strong hives heading into the spring that I would like to try raising my own queens this year. Here’s what I’ve got, and what I plan to do:

    Right now, I have six mature hives, three deeps each, 2 NWC, 2 Buckfast, 2 Russian, all with one-year old queens.

    I have two nucs with Minnesota Hygienics that overwintered and are growing, also with one-year old queens.

    I would like to cross drones from the MH with my best NWC queen in an attempt to maximize hygienic behavior in bees that over-winter really well, build up nicely and are gentle.

    I cannot put any more hives where the six are now, so I plan to set up another yard on the other side of a stand of trees and a cornfield, about 1,200 feet (~ ¼ mile) from the existing hives. Will initially hold the two MH hives and eventually will hold up to 18 hives of queens that, hopefully, I raised myself.

    I know the distance is not optimal, but it is as far as I can go without ending up in the woods. I do not have any outyards, yet.

    The new yard (or yard extension) would be between the queens and the closest known yard, a little over a mile away. I believe they are Italians (the bees, not the beeks).

    I plan to add Pierco drone foundation to the MH hives to boost drone production.

    I will use a Nicot system for starting the queens, and a Cloake board on that hive to dual-purpose it.

    I will use polystyrene nucs for mating the new queens.

    I know I cannot prevent matings with bees from other of my own hives or from wild bees or from other beek’s yards, but I would like to try to minimize such matings, (or, I would like to maximize the mating probability from the MH hives, looking at it in a more positive way).


    Questions (assuming I actually get queens):

    Even though location will be sub-optimal, do you think drones from the new yard will find my queens?

    If so, will they find them in sufficient quantity to influence the progeny, or am I more likely to just get mutts from many different drones? As a first attempt, I would consider any mated queens a success, but it would be nice, if a could get the cross I want.

    Is the cross of MH drones with NWC queens a good one? I think I read that hygienic behavior is carried on the maternal genes, but could not find it again. Should I consider crossing the other way?

    Any other ideas for helping to maximize the probability/possibility of success?

    As always, thanks,

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    bnatural snips....
    Even though location will be sub-optimal, do you think drones from the new yard will find my queens?
    tecumseh>absolutely without a doubt.

    If so, will they find them in sufficient quantity to influence the progeny, or am I more likely to just get mutts from many different drones? As a first attempt, I would consider any mated queens a success, but it would be nice, if a could get the cross I want.
    tecumseh> without some intervention by you absolutely. your benchmark for success is what EVERY beginner should strive for... anything beyond this benchmark will doom you to failure.

    Is the cross of MH drones with NWC queens a good one? I think I read that hygienic behavior is carried on the maternal genes, but could not find it again. Should I consider crossing the other way?
    tecumseh> I am confused by the genetics of this also since it was long ago suggest to be a multiple allel train but I have read spivek describe it in mediallian terms (as a dominant gene... which basically means it must be present on both the mother's and father's side of the cross).

    Any other ideas for helping to maximize the probability/possibility of success?
    tecumseh> I think you have captured some of the basic which is to place suitable comb in the drone mother hive(s).. add to this an early trickle of feed continued over some time to the drone mother hives plus the scratching of drone comb in the 'other' hives plus possilbe moving any comb with excessive drone comb from these hives to the selecte drone mother hive(s) and replaced with either new foundation or drawn comb with no drone cells. a bit further down the road you might wish to try an ai queen which would give you a bit more contol over that side of the mating.

    good planning and good luck...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    norman,ok
    Posts
    5

    Default just remember this

    just remember that queens breed with multiple drones. if you can have a majority of the drones in your area the breed you want. then in theory most layed and fertilized eggs will be the preferred breed. saturate area with those drones. your on the right track.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,903

    Default

    >I would like to cross drones from the MH with my best NWC queen in an attempt to maximize hygienic behavior in bees that over-winter really well, build up nicely and are gentle.

    You have no control over what drones they will mate with other than stacking the deck somewhat with your drones.

    >I plan to add Pierco drone foundation to the MH hives to boost drone production.

    It won't make any difference. They will raise the same number of drones no matter what you do. If you want to skew what genetics the drones have, take the drone comb out of the hive you want the drones from after they are capped (or at least laid) and move them to the hives you don't want drones from. This deprives the ones you want drones from of drones so they will lay more and supplies the ones you don't want drones from with drones so they will rear less.

    >I will use polystyrene nucs for mating the new queens.

    The hard part of that is getting the mating nucs established. I think using a two frame nuc that takes your standard brood frames is a better bet:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...htm#matingnucs

    >I know I cannot prevent matings with bees from other of my own hives or from wild bees or from other beek’s yards, but I would like to try to minimize such matings, (or, I would like to maximize the mating probability from the MH hives, looking at it in a more positive way).

    That would be to get more drones from them, which is outlined above.

    >Even though location will be sub-optimal, do you think drones from the new yard will find my queens?

    Drone congregation areas and where the queen mates and how far she flies and how far you drones fly is a crap shoot. It always is and "Nature" (or evolution or God or the creator) has arranged this with a purpose, to make sure there is genetic diversity and not inbreeding.

    >If so, will they find them in sufficient quantity to influence the progeny, or am I more likely to just get mutts from many different drones?

    The only way to control the drones it II. (Instrumental Insemination).

    >As a first attempt, I would consider any mated queens a success, but it would be nice, if a could get the cross I want.

    Good luck. Nothing wrong with stacking the deck as much as you can.

    >Is the cross of MH drones with NWC queens a good one?

    They both have their qualities. But first crosses often are a bit on the hot side.

    > I think I read that hygienic behavior is carried on the maternal genes, but could not find it again. Should I consider crossing the other way?

    I think it's carried on both.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default

    Somehow, I missed everyone's replies to my questions (I guess new messages show up as 'Read' [not black, but gray] after a certain amount of time passes). So, let me just give a group "Thanks!" for all the valuable input. Much food for thought. I will post later on my success or failure.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default Reassessing

    Well, I took a long hard look at my schedule and came to the sad realization that, with all my travel, I was probably going to bite off more than I could chew by jumping up from six to 16 or so hives. The last thing I want to do is give the girls short shrift, because the whole thing has become too much too soon. That's just bad management, and that's why I had to buy all packages last spring.

    So, I am only going to set up two new hives for the two nucs, at least for now. I can shoehorn two more hives in with the six already in the yard and still have room for additional nucs. This means I won't be setting up the bee yard on the other side of the cornfield this year, so any drones I get from my bees will be from this yard. No way of knowing how the 'Brooding Omnipresence in the Sky' (as 'It' was once described to me by a corporate lawyer, MB) will take such close proximity of drones to queens, but it's the best I can do for now. What I CAN do is drone load all hives per MB's advice and scratch out some of the drone brood I don't want per tecumseh. I have also ordered a couple of queen castles from Brushy Mountain. Figure I will try both the QC's as two-frame mating nucs and the 5-frame polystyrene ones I have now and see which way works better for me. Even if all the drones come from another yard or are feral, fertile queens are fertile queens.

    If all goes well, I will have eight hives and 10 nucs going into the winter. If I have success overwintering, then NEXT year I can deal with the fun of an exploding hive population. I can't wait.

    I think this approach is the most reasonable and the best for the bees. As I have gotten older, I have developed some small measure of patience. Life is on fast forward, anyway, and someone stole the remote. Next year will be here before we know it.

    Again, thanks everybody for the advice. It was very helpful as I reassessed things.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

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