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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    New Zealand
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    Default What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Just wondering what your systems are for producing quality drones and getting them into your mating yards? At full production I run around 1000 nucs in yards of approx 150. Three of my yards (450 nucs) are within easy flight of my breeding hives (30 of them all containing drone frames rotated in as required) so they should be fine. Just wondering whether I was a little down on drones in my other yards last season (my queen quality was excellent but my percentages were a bit all over the place). Any information or help would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    931

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    The mating yards that are further away from your drone mother colonies is those the ones with low % turn out.

    I seeing lower % turn out whith the more mating nuc's you keep in one place and there is plenty of drones in the same yard and the outer drone mother yard

    I think because in the increase of new activity it's more of a food plot for birds and other bee eating insect's.

    I usually set my drone mother colonies a distance of 1/2 to 1 1/2 miles

    Was thinking you could just Centralize your your drone mother colonies and put your mating nuc's around it. You could just pull your other mating nuc's with in range

    In you colonies if you use older queens for your drone layers they will lay longer in the season

    Also when it becomes hot and dry place some of your hatching drone comes into a few queenless hive this way they wont kick them out

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    New Zealand
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    12

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Last season the percentages were a bit all over the place in all of my yards and I feel that one of the issues was the number of drones in the mating yard areas. I have made some changes to my cell breeding processes that seem to be paying off (I am only 3 grafts into the new season so time will tell).

    Unfortunately the geography and amount of people living in the areas around my mating yards limit the size of yards that I can get away with so 3 in flight distance of my breeding yard is about all I can swing so I need a good plan for the 2 outlying mating yards. I was thinking 1 drone hive per 50 nucs with drone brood added regularly (from selected drone breeders)to ensure excess drones of varying ages.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,594

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    From a related thread asking about drone hives :

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbbees View Post
    Larry Conners web site, past articules, 2006-June, 2008-June, July, Sept. Oct.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
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    817

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Is there a preferred direction to have the drone hives? Does the venturing queen generally head first, say, toward the afternoon sun?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    677

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Numerous full boxes with medium frames. They draw mostly drone cells on the bottoms. Fills the area with drones.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    The goal is to flood out the local feral drone population. You have enough hives to accomplish that, especially if you have an area that has few or no wild bees. I would include going out and trying to identify the DCA's. Several years down the road, you will have bred lots of the local feral colonies into half-way decent bees. Don't be afraid to send some of your best queens and drones off for instrumental insemination. Your progress is much quicker that way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New Zealand
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    12

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    The area that I am working my breeding through does have other commercial operators who winter their hives in the area before moving them into manuka for the flow but few ferals so I am fairly confident that the queens that are getting mated are doing so with my drones. Assuming that I have enough of them.

    AI is a difficult one in NZ, most of the people who are doing it are using it in their own breeding programs (which you need to buy into) or charging per insemination (mostly for VSH). In both cases the prices are pretty crazy so not an option that I will be exploring at this stage. I will be looking at AI myself in a year or 2 but want to get my systems for field breeding sorted before I do so. I can see the advantages of this in terms of working with breeder queens particularly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    960

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Dr. Susan Cobey emailed me a couple of articles by the late Dr. Harry Laidlaw Jr. about a low-budget, AI apparatus made from mostly off-the-shelf parts. These parts came from a company in Florida called Small Parts, Inc., whose catalog you could send for. The device is called the Laidlaw-Goss Instrumental Insemination Apparatus. I will try to learn how to pass this article and SPI's address along. The Laidlaw-Goss article, and the accompanying Laidlaw-Kunhert article are in .pdf format.

    Riverhawk's suggestion is a good one, and you are already adding drone comb, but it seems that you are still not flooding your DCA's (Drone Congregating Areas) somehow...or possibly the queens are some of the problem. The conditions under which the queen is raised have a lot to do with % mating and partial inseminations, and eventual supercedure. Another Kiwi, Oldtimer, posted a wonderful thread here on Beesource about (Jay Smith's) Cut-Cell method. He felt he got better % matings with queens produced by this method.

    Another article by Dr. Susan Cobey regarding New Zealander, Harry Cloake's method using a Cloake board also leads to queens with better % mating.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-21-2012 at 09:29 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Cheers for that info...I should clarify that the % issues that I had were from last season. Over here I am just beginning to put out my first round of cells. In order to address possible issues I have made a number of changes throughout my system. The drone population was one of the possible causes that I identified from last seasons data.

    So far the cells look excellent (better percentages from graft to viable cell, and excellent quality), and the nucs that I have made up so far were made far stronger than last year as I thought that this may have been contributing to the problem. From the comments so far (and the number of people that have also viewed the thread) it would seem that my drone practice is on the money so now I guess I just have to wait (and hope for mating days).

    Kilocharlie any articles that you can get your hand on would be much appreciated.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    960

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Nick - It seems as if you are well on your way. Send me a private message with an email address and I'll forward Sue's email to me on to you in the meantime. You can also email Dr. Susan Cobey at www.honeybee.breeding.com or scobey@mac.com
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-24-2012 at 04:57 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    960

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    One thing to read - its 21 pages long, but very important reading for queen rearing people - is found in Dr. Cobey's website, www.honeybee.breeding.com , under the second tab "about I.I."

    Read "about I.I.", then click on the last line of the article at the bottom to get the 21-page article comparing studies of I.I. queens vs. naturally-mated queens. She goes into great detail regarding queen rearing conditions, which applies to whether or not you are using I.I. She notes 12 factors and cites many studies and evaluates the inconsistencies in the studies. This one article has profoundly changed my plans for next year.

    Crofter - finding DCA's (Drone Congregating Areas) can be done with a net mounted on a 25 foot long pole and a cage with a virgin queen or a cotton swab dabbed in queen pheromone, QMP, or other queen substance. Another technique involves a fishing rod and several helium balloons lifting a V.Q. in a queen cage up 30 to 100 feet in the air. Either method requires a good set of eyes, so bring a kid who can spot a peppering of drones at that range, or use low-power (6x30, 7x35, or 7x50) binoculars. Both methods involve driving and hiking around between 1pm and 4pm for a few afternoons. It won't take long when you hit the jackpot, as they will crowd all over her in less than 10 minutes, often less than one minute. Almost as exciting as a bite when fishing!

    If you happen to thoroughly test several square miles WITHOUT finding a DCA, you have a good candidate for a mating yard that you can easily flood with you highest quality drones, if you have perhaps 100 colonies or more. THIS IS A GREAT PROJECT FOR A BEE CLUB! Map all the DCA's in the county!

    Like Velbert says, set your mating nucs about 1 mile from your (artificially drone flooded) DCA, the middle of that several miles with no natural DCA's around for a long ways. Mike Palmer does it just the opposite as Velbert, though, with mating nucs in the middle and his best drone colonies all around.

    If you have considerably less than 100 colonies, just go ahead and use the naturally occurring DCA's to ensure thorough mating until you have enough colonies to flood out the ferals and create your own DCA in and area that has very few bees.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-24-2012 at 09:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    817

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Thanks kilocharlie,

    My situation is that there is likely zero feral bees in my area and if I have to plant my own drone hives was wondering if there was any rule of thumb about where a queen would be most likely to head. I suppose it is so dependent on local geography that there is no general rule about where to spot the hives. I will just have to fly a few virgins next summer and see how that plays.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: What is your system for providing Drones in your mating yards?

    Its a fun way to get to know your buddies in the beekeeping club, then go out for pizza afterwards.

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