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  1. #1
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    Mar 2013
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    belmont,Mississippi,USA
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    Default Nuc produced queens

    Okay. Have 7 to 10 feral colonies to be trapped from. I want to nuc them ala Michael Palmer style to build numbers. What is the best approach to take the 5 over 5s, split them and get a queen produced in the queenless nuc. 'I want to do this to keep quite a bit of genetic variability in my apiary.

  2. #2
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Uh, first step, wait 'til Spring. Equalize brood and stores between the two boxes. Shake bees out of the box you want to set on top. Place an excluder between them and let the bees equalize.

    Next morning take the top box off and away to another location. If you made syre that there were eggs in that top box, they will make their own queens. Maybe not all of them, but most.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  3. #3
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    Mar 2013
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    belmont,Mississippi,USA
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Yeah, the waiting 'til Spring is a given. I just wasn't certain as to whether or not a nucleus' more limited resources could produce a good quality queen by itself or if I needed to provide more resources thru feeding, extra shakes of bees, etc. Thanks, Sqkcrk!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    well, u might. u won't know until Spring. March where u live probably. If you could get queen cells that would help. or if u could get mated queens.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Here is how I do that very thing here using 2 story nucs. Start this during a flow.
    I split the well populated 2 story nuc with a queen excluder. The bottom box has the frames of eggs, open larva, and pollen. The top box has the queen and the rest of the frames which are older with sealed brood, and a frame of stores. The next day in the morning, I remove the top box to the side facing the other direction. The box left in place has most of the nurse bees as that is where the pollen and open brood and eggs were. It now gets most of the field force bees as well. It will now be in swarming strength and in a flow and will make very well fed queen cells.

    Now I have choices.
    In 10 days I can make up nucs and cut cells out of this one to give to all the nucs I've made up from other hives or two story nucs.

    Or in 6 to 7 days I can move this bottom box cell builder to a new stand in the yard, and put the queen box back in it's place adding a story to it. This way, the cell builder cells are all sealed, and that box will lose it's older field force back the the queen in her box. This will reduce swarming from the cell builder box as they have no older bees now, but will still be strong enough for queens to emerge and one of them take over the new nuc.

    Or, do some other thing of your choice. This is just one of many ways to get good well fed queen cells for making splits in your beeyard.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk, NY, USA
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    572

    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    RayMarler==
    Nice Ray. simple procedure and well explained.
    Sometimes I read these posts and think- why don't I do it this way , instead of my way?
    This is one of those posts. Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Thanks Ray - that is excellent.

    One question though - I usually shake the bees down (along with the queen) into the bottom box for this kind of manipulation because it's easy, and also if the queen accidentally ended up outside the hive she will just climb in through the entrance and still be below the excluder.

    But I see why you want the queenright box on top - the bees are both attracted to the queen and reluctant to go through the excluder - making the queenright box too strong sometimes if it is on the bottom. I have had it swarm before even after being moved to a new spot in the yard - probably already had swarm cells that I missed.

    So do you just find the queen manually or is there some part of the process that I am missing?
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  8. #8
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    In my experience to get good quality queens you need a high density of bees. If you stack the deck to end up with a high density of bees in the half that is raising a queen and if there is a good supply of nectar and pollen coming it, it could work. Poorly fed queens make poor queens and you need to avoid that. The less bees the trickier it is to get them well fed. With a low density of bees it's impossible.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Thanks Ray - that is excellent.

    One question though - I usually shake the bees down (along with the queen) into the bottom box for this kind of manipulation because it's easy, and also if the queen accidentally ended up outside the hive she will just climb in through the entrance and still be below the excluder.

    But I see why you want the queenright box on top - the bees are both attracted to the queen and reluctant to go through the excluder - making the queenright box too strong sometimes if it is on the bottom. I have had it swarm before even after being moved to a new spot in the yard - probably already had swarm cells that I missed.

    So do you just find the queen manually or is there some part of the process that I am missing?
    I find the queen manually. Most of the nurse bees are already on the eggs/open larva frames, which I put in the bottom box. Most of the sealed brood frames don't have as many bees on them, only what they need for warming. Understand also, any manipulations are changed as needed as per hive strength, weather, and flows. Plus, I do want some bees to be with the queen. With the eggs/open larva and pollen in the bottom box, it attracts the nurse bees so most of the nurse bees are in the bottom box when I remove the queen's box.

    I've found that if I do this the other way around, putting the eggs/open larva and pollen above the queen which is in the bottom box, I don't usually get queen cells started in the top, if i were to just leave it this way. I do however, get queen cells in the bottom more often, if left that way without splitting. I learned this from reading Doolittle. This is with a bottom entrance only. The foragers coming and going in the bottom with the open larva, the nectar stays low with the brood, the queen up above the queen excluder with no open larva to speak of, there is not a lot of travel of bees up to the queen. This is how I figure it anyway.

    I feel like I'm rambling. LOL
    Also, I can split the boxes in the morning, put the queen back on top the next day in the evening, after 36 hours or so, and have a queen right cell builder with cells being built on the bottom. Doing it this way, gives great cells and not as many of them as you get if you leave the boxes separated for a week to ten days. I usually get only 3 or 4 or so this way. This gives more of a supersedure impulse queen cells so they don't make as many to completion, at least this is how I think about it.

    Shaking all the bees into the box with the sealed brood is good too, if you have troubles finding the queen or queens. I seldom do it myself because I can usually find the queen. But there are times when i don't see her, at least not very quickly, and in that case I do shake the bees into the sealed brood frames box to insure the queen is in it.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Again very helpful - Thanks.

    I'm doing a presentation on splitting for a nearby club in a few weeks and as I am sure you know many people are really challenged at finding queens.

    I did this presentation on using an excluder for harvesting nurse bees last month at my local club and it was suggested that some of it be incorporated into the splitting presentation. Your input to this thread is just about what I need to work with.

    Maybe shaking the bees down into the bottom box - and then reversing the two after they settle down and move back in to the hive would get the job done? It's an extra step that would require an hour or so wait - so not really ideal - but still better than looking for a long frustrating time for a queen.

    Then if the queenright hive was too weak after you moved it you could just shake in some nurse bees from the other half.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  11. #11
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Here are a couple of threads that have been posted in the past that may help out anyone wanting to raise queens or do splits. I feel one of the most important parts of raising queens is the cell starter/builder. It was the hardest part for me to get a handle on, for raising good well fed queens. So, these two threads cover that part of it and more, and are two threads that I really enjoy reading.

    My Cell Building Methods... started by Michael Palmer...

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ht=cll+builder

    Beginner Queen Rearing using the Joseph Clemens Starter/Finisher...
    Started by David LaFerney...

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...arter-Finisher

    I feel that these are must read threads for anyone starting out with queen rearing for the first time. They focus more on grafting to get cells started, but the basics of the cell starter/builder are covered very well with reasons for why things are done to make one up. Good luck to everyone this coming spring with your splits and queen rearing.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  12. #12
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Again very helpful - Thanks.

    I'm doing a presentation on splitting for a nearby club in a few weeks and as I am sure you know many people are really challenged at finding queens.

    I did this presentation on using an excluder for harvesting nurse bees last month at my local club and it was suggested that some of it be incorporated into the splitting presentation. Your input to this thread is just about what I need to work with.

    Maybe shaking the bees down into the bottom box - and then reversing the two after they settle down and move back in to the hive would get the job done? It's an extra step that would require an hour or so wait - so not really ideal - but still better than looking for a long frustrating time for a queen.

    Then if the queenright hive was too weak after you moved it you could just shake in some nurse bees from the other half.
    Why wouldn't you shake the bees down into the lower box, place an excluder on it, place the box of brood on top, and allow bees to move up into it? Then you would know that the queen is in the lower box w/out having to find the queen herself.

    Good Thread References Ray.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Putting the queen in the top box makes the bottom (cell builder) half stronger than when you do it the other way.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Variations on a theme...

    Ok, so, here is a way of doing this so that you don't need to split the boxes, the whole thing can be done as a queen right system.

    Do the manipulations as described above to split the boxes with a queen excluder. But before you put the box with queen on top, put a box of drawn comb, or foundation if that's all you have, on over the queen excluder first, then put the box with the older brood and queen on top of that. This gives an empty box of separation between the cell builder box on the bottom, and the queen box on top. This gives enough distance that supersedure cells will be built in the bottom box, without every having to split the queen box away. Then in 7 to 10 days, split the bottom box away to a stand of it's own.

    Let me say here, there is a difference in population needs between a cell builder, and a mating box. The mating box does not need the over populations like a cell builder does. Making the mating box too strong when it has multiple queen cells can and sometimes does swarm. So, I move the cell builder box away to help reduce populations in it and make it a mating box.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Maybe so, but here is how I make my nucs. Starting w/ full sized hives and 5 frame nuc boxes w/ removable bottom boards. And excluders.

    Mostly I work w/ two story hives, picking the strongest ones to rob brood and bees from. I do this in SC late March and early April. The nuc boxes are previously prepped to have two frames of foundation and three frames of drawn comb.

    I open the hive and remove a frame of honey, a frame of capped brood, and a frame of open brood w/ eggs, larvae, and capped brood. Shaking all of the bees off of the frames back into the hive. I replace these frames w/ two drawn combs and one foundation from the prepped nuc box.

    A queen excluder is placed on the open hive. The bottom board of the covered nuc box is removed and the nuc box is set down on the excluder to one side covering the open half of the excluder w/ the nuc bottom board. This is left over night so bees can come up through the excluder to cover the brood.

    The next morning, the covered nuc box is picked up, set onto the bottom board, and placed on a pallet to be taken away to another yard. Usually caged queens are used, but I do let nucs prepared this way raise their own.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  16. #16
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    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    sqkcrk says...
    "Why wouldn't you shake the bees down into the lower box, place an excluder on it, place the box of brood on top, and allow bees to move up into it? Then you would know that the queen is in the lower box w/out having to find the queen herself."

    This way works too Mark, and is actually easier in a way, for you can just shake the bees out on the ground instead of into the box. The shaken bees will all march into the entrance, queen also, so the box is not so over populated when you try to put the queen excluder on top of it. It will also make the cell builder box on top, so it will fill with mostly nurse bees without as many field bees. This is the way I do it if I want to harvest nurse bees for any reason. I do it and shake or rob out the nurse bees 2 to 4 hours later. But if my intent is to build cells here in this setup, I put the box with queen on top with the older sealed brood, so that the bottom box gets more crowded populations.

    Not every way is right or wrong, some do things one way with great results, and others do it a different way with great results also. A lot of the way to do things, depends on the specific goals needed as an end result, and depends also on resources at hand and conditions at the moment.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Did you do that w/ Michael Palmer? I would never intentionally shake or possibly shake a queen out onto the ground. Not when I can shake her back into the hive and know she got where she belongs.

    Whatever works for you I suppose.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    No, I did not do that with Michael Palmer. One time back in the days when I first started beekeeping, a fellow came and gave me a swarm he had captured, as he was allergic to bee stings and did not want to keep the swarm himself. He showed me a way to box the swarm that was new to me and was amazing to watch.

    We took a small piece of plywood and put it on the ground and up to the bottom entrance like a ramp. He then shook the swarm out on the ground at the lower bottom edge of the plywood. This was amazing to watch. The bees took a few seconds or a minute to get their bearings, then they started slowly marching up the board and into the hive. They started slowly at first, then got into a heavier march. They looked like military formation marching along up the board. Pretty soon we saw the queen. She marched, then started short hop flights up the board, moving six inches to a foot at a hop. She hopped on up and into the hive box. The rest of the swarm kept marching, and within a few minutes they were all in the box and started forage flights as they were in a new home and needed to get some stores going, as bees do.

    I read later in my beekeeping start, from Doolittle, where he did the same thing, shaking bees out on the ground in front of a hive, and I've seen another beekeeper do the same thing in the past. I keep my bees up off the ground now on stands, so I don't do it this way very often any more, but I've done it in the past when I kept hives down on the ground and it has worked for me.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    Yup, done that myself, but I wouldn't recommend shaking a laying queen on the ground or even onto a piece of cardboard angled up to the entrance when I could shake her back into the hive and know that she is in there. Not that I am saying that Ray or Doolittle don't know what they are saying.

    Sometimes when I remove the frames to choose the ones I want in the nuc box, if I spot the queen, I don't shake any bees off of the frames at all. But I do make sure the queen gets back in the hive.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Clackamas Oregon
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    Default Re: Nuc produced queens

    What are your opinions on newly drawn frames rather than black? Speaking of making things easy I have been using new foundation from the ‘Jay Smith better queens’ method. Supposedly that they can break down the wax and make a better QC with the new wax. I am stuck with bad info that can be skipped for the sake of time and effort? I would certainly be simpler to just use old frames as everybody has been describing.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

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