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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,149

    Default What is the really critical mating period?

    If you keep track of the weather during the mating period where do you draw the line between good enough weather and not good enough?

    In a perfect situation there would be perfect weather every day between planting a cell and finding brood - giving virgin queens every opportunity to mate at their leisure. Those are the queens I want going into winter.

    I'm starting to see that when you buy commercial queens it is probably best not to go for early delivery.

    I'm also starting to picture the crappy side of being a queen producer - customers crying for early delivery, and then it rains most of the time for a week.

    Do you ship queens that might be poorly mated and make the customers happy for now - or do you pinch a weeks pay, make those people mad, and set your schedule back?

    You guys who can manage all that and keep your reputations intact sure have my respect.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: What is the really critical mating period?

    >If you keep track of the weather during the mating period where do you draw the line between good enough weather and not good enough?

    I don't, the queens do.

    >In a perfect situation there would be perfect weather every day between planting a cell and finding brood - giving virgin queens every opportunity to mate at their leisure. Those are the queens I want going into winter.

    As long as they get that break and get mated well, they will do fine.

    >I'm starting to see that when you buy commercial queens it is probably best not to go for early delivery.

    Agreed.

    >I'm also starting to picture the crappy side of being a queen producer - customers crying for early delivery, and then it rains most of the time for a week.

    Yes.

    >Do you ship queens that might be poorly mated and make the customers happy for now - or do you pinch a weeks pay, make those people mad, and set your schedule back?

    You leave those queens another week or so until you can assess them. If they aren't good, you scrap them. You won't make them happy shipping them a poor queen...

    >You guys who can manage all that and keep your reputations intact sure have my respect.

    It helps to have customers who accept reality. And don't make any promises until you have the queens in hand. But of course everyone wants to get on the list a year in advance for something you may or may not have...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,149

    Default Re: What is the really critical mating period?

    Can you really assess if they are mated well or not? I'm asking because I don't know for sure, but I thought that even a poorly mated queen could lay a good pattern for a while, but might run out of sperm sooner - like in the middle of winter for example.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,624

    Default Re: What is the really critical mating period?

    Though I don't claim to have a great deal of expertise in this, it stands to reason that the answer to your question is that the only evidence that you can use to assess a newly mated queen is her laying pattern. It also stands to reason that variability in mating conditions (primarily weather and drone supply) mean that all matings are not equal and may result in queens that may have a shorter useful life.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,149

    Default Re: What is the really critical mating period?

    That is exactly the reason of the question - If you find eggs on day 25 (after the queen mother layed the eggs) but you know that the weather was bad every day on 18-23 is it really likely to be a well mated queen? For example.

    With luck I'm going to find brood from my first batch of queens (this year) today or tomorrow, but the weather has been poor for a lot of the time - Although almost every day has had at least an hour or two of decent.

    In my limited experience they very well might lay great at first.

    And I'll use those queens if I need them, but I'm thinking I should plan to replace them before September. And if I was selling queens (I'm not) I'm wondering if it would be best to make swarm lure out of them.

    Fortunately, the weather usually gets better in May.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: What is the really critical mating period?

    If anyone knew the answers to your questions then nobody would ever get a poorly mated queen, would they? Raise all of them you can and mash the bad ones. Keep some good replacement queens available in nucs so you can immediately replace a bad one. Trying to guess the quality of mated queens based on weather is probably an exercise in futility. You could have perfect bluebird weather and still have a few queens that didn't get it right.

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