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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Canonsburg, PA, USA
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    12

    Question Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    I'm a noobie.
    I have one Carniolan colony. It seems to me that losing a queen is inevitable. The common sense side of me says to make my own queen, but the practical side says, what do I do with the queen once I have one or more? How long can you keep them? Where do I keep them? Is it not practical for a hobbyist to do it himself?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,179

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    I'd recommend having at least two colonies, & maybe a couple nucs with queens you raised. If the nucs get to large you can always sell them to get some beekeeping money. I haven't had to purchase a package in 6 years by always keeping a few extra nucs or colonies.
    Dan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    You don't need to bother with looking at grafting queens if you are only looking for a couple. If you have foundationless frames with soft/new wax, it can be as easy as removing the queen to a nuc and letting the main hive build queen cells from the existing larvae. (they can easily rework the soft wax to a queen cell). that's all I did this year for a few of my hives and had plenty of queens for the few splits I did. If you have foundation, there are other methods where you make a jagged edge and do other things to help them build queen cells on the ends of the edges. As far as "keeping" these queens, they need to be in a nuc where they can prove themselves and do some egg laying vs. cooped up in a cage. it's always a good idea to have a couple of nucs to pull their queen if needed for the big hive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Kinder, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    Practical for one may not be for another. As KQ6AR said, you could always make a nuc or two for backup. Taking care of the nuc will require a little time and effort (not a bunch), but must be done. Some folks don't want the hassle and for them it's easier to just purchase a new queen when they need one. All up to you and whatever wets your whistle.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    With good hive management there is no reason you should need a new queen for a couple of years. However if you are afraid you are going to somehow kill her, then I too would recommend you start a nuc and maintain it until it expands then put it in a normal hive, or sell it.

    For a small number of hives, it may be just as well to purchase a queen, if for some reason you lose one.

    cchoganjr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,722

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    Some five-frame nuc equipment adds a lot to the hobby and if you eventually increase your hive numbers a "Queen Castle" is handy.

    A 5-frame nuc could be divided and built into a double 2-frame mating box.

    I decided some years back that if I wanted to have three colonies in the Spring, it would be prudent to have five or six going into the Winter.

    I currently have five full sized hives and eight double 5-frame medium nucs...

    Wintering a couple of nucs would be good experience and having extra bees in the Spring could make you a little $.
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    Having a few nucs around gives you spare parts to work with when you have problems.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,089

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    Hank, you may already be raising queens and don't know it. Colonies are said to replace queens more often than many might think.

    As far as intentionally raising queens, you could make a 5 frame nuc box, stock it, and let it raise its own queen. Then you would have a nuc to put into your hive should something go wrong.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    In my experience new beekeepers who make increase are much less likely to become discouraged and quit. Partly because it makes you a better beekeeper.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Benton, KY
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    As far as raising queens. Ive tried grafting, and I get 3-5 queens out of 30 grafts. What I would suggest is take 3 frames, one pollen, one honey, and one brood( most times this is on each frame), and put it in a nuc box. They will raise 3-7 queen cells( make sure these are wax frames, and cut the queen cells you want out and place in as many nucs as you want with the capped queen cells. generally 2/3 will make a mated queen. You are out time, not $$. My experience is when you replace the queen with a bought one, the bees supersede her in about a month 60% of the time. I bought 10 packages from a bee supplier, I still have 4 of the queens, and I lost one hive entirely. My opinion. your results may vary

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    >As far as raising queens. Ive tried grafting, and I get 3-5 queens out of 30 grafts.

    I would focus on crowding the cell starter and the timing. A crowded hive will usually start a lot of queen cells where one that is not crowded will not. During prime swarm season they are much more likely to start queen cells...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    When is the best time to try this? How do you keep queens other than nucs or hives? Ive read of queen banks but got no idea how they work.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Mondamin, Iowa
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    771

    Default Re: Raising queens/ is it practical for a hobbyist?

    I move my brood above an excluder and a super in spring and they make a couple of strong QC in the upper box. In one of the boxes I did not attend to it in time and had two laying queens. I usually put the QC in a 2 frame mating nuc on day 10. All I have invested in it is two frames of bees and mating nuc, what you do with her then is up to you.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

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