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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Perry, Florida, USA
    Posts
    226

    Default How much and how many?

    I have purchased a Nicot queen rearing system. I dont believe my eyes are good enough to graft. I am not interested in raising large number of queens as I dont have a lot of hives or equipment. I am also not interested in a job, just want the experience and be able to breed off my own local stock and my best queens. My question? I understand all the ins and outs of actually raising the queens but How much equipment/hives/comb builders/etc., does it take to support queen rearing. I dont want to have to run a bunch of nucs as well as hives which I think could??? lead to having to feed a lot during winter.

    Thanks
    psisk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: How much and how many?

    You need nucs for every queen that you need to get mated. Which means that you'll need equipment to house as many hives as you're wanting to end up with at the end of the year. If you end up with more Q cells "taking" than what you have equipment for, then you can either discard the extras, or put more than one per nuc & let them sort it out amongst themselves.
    The way I see it (I'm preparing to start my first batch of queens in a few weeks), you'll need to have enough bees to have a strong, queenless starter, and a stronger, queenright, finisher... then it's just a matter of tailoring your hives/nucs for the new queens to match the amount of bees/stores you have available to fill them with. BTW, I'm planning on attempting to start at least 5x as many cells as I think I'll need; because I'm guessing my first-attempt success rate will likely be anything but a spectacular success.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Perry, Florida, USA
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: How much and how many?

    Yeah I am going to go for twenty cells and hope for at least ten. How my first round goes will determine how many or if I try again. I can always give some to friends.

    psisk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: How much and how many?

    One hive will support raising one batch of queen cells. More is helpful as you need bees for mating nucs etc. and you won't have to destroy your honey production to make queens.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,721

    Default Re: How much and how many?

    My first attempt at grafting I assumed a 30% failure rate at each stage:
    1. Grafting
    2. Finished cell
    3. Emergence
    4. Mating

    Based on that theory, I started with 30 grafts. I assumed that 10 of those 30 would not be accepted by the bees, leaving me 20. Of those, I assumed that 6 of the cells would not have an ample amount of royal jelly left when it was capped (or would be mis-shapen, small, or odd) and would be culled, leaving me with 14 cells. Of those, I assumed that 4-5 would not emerge from the cell (or would be killed due to temp changes from being new at this, or some other error), leaving me with 9 virgin queens. Then I assumed that 3 would not return from the mating flights, leaving me with 6 laying queens.

    I found that my numbers were close, although not all that accurate. I had better percentages in grafting and cell finishing than I thought, but much lower in hatching and mating flights than I thought. In the end it evened out though.

    So if you want to know how many nucs you need, figure out how many virgin queens you want to produce and take it from there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,325

    Default Re: How much and how many?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    My first attempt at grafting I assumed a 30% failure rate at each stage:
    .
    That's probably not far off for a person starting out. We have found with experience that it is difficult on a large scale to average much more than an 80% success rate from grafting to a 10 day ripe cell and then about 80% of those become successfully mated "first catch" queens at the 2 week mark. Or put another if more than about 2/3rds of your initial grafts become mated queens you have been highly successful. We have probably fallen short of that goal more often than we have exceeded it.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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