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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Orinda, California, USA
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    99

    Default Mating Nucs and Drifting

    My problem (and probably that of many hobby beekeepers) is not having enough resources to set up mating nucs when I have successfully grafted queen cells. In a couple of days I will have 12 queen cells ready to be put in mating nucs. It will take 12 frames of open brood plus 12 frames of honey to make up 12 2 frame mating nucs. That is the equivalent of one entire thriving hive. So say instead I combine bees from different hives by shaking them into a box then put them into the nucs with the frame of honey and an empty frame of drawn comb,along with the queen cell, then keep them confined and fed for say 2 days in a shed, will they reorient when they are released in their new location or will they go back to their original hive? In other words how long does it take them to forget where they come from?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    518

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    So, this is really where you're going to learn a number of lessons about queen rearing!! If you do some searches you'll find a lot of recomendations. Just shaking bees from different hives works if they're nurse bees. Foragers will just go back to their original hives. You'll also need more than 2 days to lock them up. Even 3 days sometimes is a stretch but will depend on whether your cells are viable or not. By adding open and emerging brood frames with bees you at least have a chance that after 3 days the bees will stay with the cell or virgin. Good luck,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    3,894

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    You could make up fewer nucs and double (or tripple) up on the cells. That would increase the likelyhood that every nuc would get a successfully emerged virgin. Then in a few days (7-10) graft again, and by the time those grafts are ripe in 10 more days a lot of good things will have happened:

    More bees will have emerged from the brood that you gave the first set of nucs and they will all be stronger - some will be so strong that you will actually need to remove frames from them. Depending on conditions they will probably draw out foundation and fill it with stores - you can use that to make up more nucs.

    If you wait a few days before you graft again you will be able to tell which nucs didn't get queenright from the first set of cells and you can try again with those.

    Also, the hives that you stole frames from initially will have recovered and be better able to stand it if you take a few more.

    I'm on my 4th set of grafts since I started this year, and at this point my 18 4 frame medium mating nucs are almost all producing at least one frame of brood every week that I have to remove to keep them from getting way too over crowded. So, in essence they are actually "paying back" the resources that I used to establish them. The last 6 were made up completely from products of the first 12.

    Also - if you (or any friends) have any hives that have queens of questionable quality you can requeen those hives by just planting ripe cells in them - the emerging virgins will eliminate the old queen for you. Here we are about to the point in our nectar flow where that might actually result in more honey, because any eggs layed at this time won't be foragers until the flow is almost over - and as brood they will just use it up. Just a thought.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    Also - if you (or any friends) have any hives that have queens of questionable quality you can requeen those hives by just planting ripe cells in them - the emerging virgins will eliminate the old queen for you. Here we are about to the point in our nectar flow where that might actually result in more honey, because any eggs layed at this time won't be foragers until the flow is almost over - and as brood they will just use it up. Just a thought.[/QUOTE]

    How do you know that the bees won't tear down the ripe cell. I had never thought of this, and it is exactly what I will want to do later this year?
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    That's why JZsBZs makes cell protectors. Or you can make a simple cage from #8 hardware cloth. The bees rarely tear down cells anyway, even if you just imbed a bare cell into a brood frame.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
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    1,246

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    What is the chances (%) that the virgin will hatch, kill the old queen, and then succesfully go on a mating flight? To simplify how much chance am I going to have the queen that I want, mated and laying?
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    3,894

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    That's hard to say, but you do need a plan B.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
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    1,246

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    I'm about to launch plan B, so I guess it would be plan C in my case. Without searching is it best to put the cell in the hive where you want a new genetic or would it be safer to set up a mating nuc, cage the queens and put them in? I know that there is no sure thing either way. Which is the best?
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    The hives that you put the cells in are mating hives wheather they be big or small. If they are in the same yard then the drones will be the same. Either way there is a chance that they won't emerge or they will be lost or eaten while mating. In my rather limited experience it seems that it's almost a sure thing that they will kill the existing laying queen. Newly emerged virgins are queen killing machines it's what they do.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Orinda, California, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    Thank you so much for the replies. I really have learned a lot. In particular thank you David for your detailed response. I can see how that scenario would play out.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,329

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    I do mine with a frame of brood and a frame of honey and a shake of bees... the brood keeps them from drifting so much.

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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    3,894

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    Quote Originally Posted by enchplant View Post
    Thank you so much for the replies. I really have learned a lot. In particular thank you David for your detailed response. I can see how that scenario would play out.
    You're welcome. It sounds like you are doing about the same thing I started in March. If you keep the process going - graft every few days - you will learn a lot pretty fast. I was a little conderned about what I was going to do with "all those queens" but so far it hasn't been a problem. Also, all those mating nucs cranking out brood and drawn comb are a real handy thing in my small apiary. Have fun - make some good queens!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bowling Green, Kentucky
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    one thread on here( I have not been able to find it again) talked about putting a ripe queen cell up in a honey super and they would not tear it down very often

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,329

    Default Re: Mating Nucs and Drifting

    It works in a strong hive that will keep that cell warm. It's not so successful with a weaker hive where the density of bees isn't so high. I prefer to put them in the brood nest to insure they will be kept warm.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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