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