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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    Adam - Send me a private message with an address and I'll post you some I.I. info. You're dead right about finances being directed toward more hives at this point. I was assuming you planned on taking your time at learning I.I. and at making up your equipment, and wanted to get started now while continuing drone flooding for the meantime.

    Joseph - Great clarification! Thank you.

    Michael - Top notch advice! BTW, how long is the waiting list for your nucs?

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    We hear a lot of talk on "I.I" around here, but how many members are actually doing it? Versus those watching some video and just preaching it? It is something I would like to get into one day, but it is expensive for something that the bees do on their own pretty successfully. The only real benefit is knowing what drones your queens are mated too.

    Adam: Sounds like you have a good grasp on the area and it's potential. On Apples; they are not a good source of nectar in most cases.

    Honey bees hate blueberries. The only reason they will pollinate them is because the areas that they are grown in offer little else and the pollinators saturate the crop with so many hives that they have little choice. What I am saying is that if you have a dozen hives in an area they are not going to touch the blueberries as long as they can find something else in the area.

    I have visited the blueberry "fields" in Maine and my summation is that honeybees are just not well adapted to the small flower they produce. The nectar it's self is probably a fine food source for them, just one they prefer to pass over.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    Not to go too far off topic but I have heard that blueberry and cranberry pollen are two of the worst pollens for bees due to their lack of a diverse amino acid profile. Having your bees on these crops stresses them.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    I just got some metal for the base and for the "false stage" of the I.I. instrument I'm building. I already have some other parts - leadscrews, bearings, dials, and pinion gears. I'll probably have to make the rack gears and dovetail blocks. This one is just a get-er-done-quick, rough effort that should work. Wish me luck in the machine shop.

    If anyone has experience with the hooks for opening up the queen, I'd like some suggestions. After watching some Youtube videos and a DVD, I see it can make a big difference.

    I think the biggest benefit isn't just knowing who the papa drone is, but choosing the very best ones to mate with the best queens for a specific, targeted purpose, or maybe the substantial increase in yield per hive that results a few years down the road, or when all my buddies are buying my excess queens because they survived another major mite infestation that my buddies' bees didn't. Time, and lots of practice, will tell....
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 09-07-2012 at 04:35 PM.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,996

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    Bluegrass and Keth,

    Interesting points on the blueberries. Kilo, please let us know when you've got a model built. I know there are lots of people here who would love to see what you build, and would love to have whatever guidance you can provide on how you got there. I.I. gear is cost-prohibitive for a lot of people.

    Adam

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    Kilo: I would think any Jeweler could make a jeweled hook for you like what Colby uses.

    Adam: Poking around I see you have 20 species of golden rod, purple loosestrife, and milkweed in your area.. all are usually good nectar sources. So your bees will have options outside of the orchards. I would choose your yards as far away from commercially pollinated areas as possible. The less competition you have for the local resources the better off your bees will bee.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    I've been re-united with my digital camera and hope to learn how to post photos from photobucket.com soon. I'll be documenting the project and maybe writing an article for one of the journals.

    I guess I am lucky to be a machinist with access to a shop, as it could become very expensive indeed to develop new tools, especially ones I'm not already infinitely familiar with all of its features, functions, dimensions, and nuances of it's use. So I decided to make a quick and dirty one first, get some experience, revise,revise,revise, and then make the CNC machine later.

    I will consider making a production run of them should they prove sufficiently suited to purpose. If so, I'll sell them to those who cannot get hooked up with plans, machining, and off-the-shelf parts cheaply.

    I remember reading a link here on Beesource regarding pollinating blueberries. The article said the best yield came from having 4 kinds of blueberries present simultaneously and using honeybees, mason bees, and bumble bees, and perhaps other pollinators as well. Cross pollination is apparently very beneficial to blueberries. I think it was posted on-line from University of Georgia or Florida (agriculture dept.?) and was listed under crops benefiting from bee pollination.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 09-08-2012 at 10:43 AM.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,996

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    Thanks again, Bluegrass.

    Kilo, I'm sure you could sell a few of those I.I. tools you develop if they are effective and less expensive.

    Adam

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    Adam can correct me if I am wrong but given his climate and geographic location the blueberries we are talking about are of the wild variety. (low bush) There is only one variety and they are an original native plant which is one of the reasons honeybees are not well adapted to pollinate them.

    They range from the Central Atlantic coast north to Northern Canada. In the US we call them "Maine blueberries".
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    Interesting, bluegrass...I don't know what types of blueberry we have out here, but there's more of them every year. I hope to catch one of the farmers home sometime soon so I can ask him about them. I should get some Mason bees and some Bombus species started. Small flowers means he likely does not have to select for proboscis length, but perhaps small body size and short foraging radius will be plusses. Maybe Carniolans, and raise them on 4.9mm cell size foundation? I was thinking maybe Russians up in his climate. Avocado growers spread "bee attractant" on the flowers out here right before pollinating time, maybe that would work for blueberries?

    Adam - If and when it gets working right AND if it is cheaper, yes, a few could sell. The other big problem is low demand. Not that many beekeepers out there, still fewer breeders, way fewer I.I. breeders, and the rest of the setup isn't cheap (CO2 bottle, binocular dissecting microscope, Harbo syringe, light and stand, and a laboratory to put it under). I'll probably be the poorest dude in the business! LOL, the Half-breed Indian doing the I.I. ceremony in the tipi with the flint I.I. apparatus. If I make ten of them, six will probably sit quite a while, but Dr.'s Sue and Eric might help sell them, and an article in one of the big journals might help. I guess I should go ahead and put out a weather balloon for demand...anyone wanting an I.I. device can send me a private message with their email address. Devices will be available in about 2 to 4 years, as I really need to go take those classes on how to use them before diving in. Meanwhile, I'll draw the bugger and write up the manufacturing plan. If I do get snowed with requests, I'll put it on front burner and give it a go.

    I really think a turret station and a few skilled workers cracking out a lot of them fast in a centralized factory is a better idea. Until I'm up and running, send them off to Dr. Susan Cobey at Honey Bee Insemination Service, 455 Carnica Way, Coupeville, WA 98239.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 09-08-2012 at 06:17 PM.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,590

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    I really don't know why anyone would bother with II. My drones have the perfect device for mating virgin queens, and do a great job. I flood my area with apiaries of good stocks. Get great queens. Does stock improvement take a bit longer with open mating?

    Not if you don't get what you want from II. My point...Selection.

    I've bought and/or traded breeder queens from several of the well known II breeders. I'm really not impressed. While touted as being "The best of the best'" I don't think so. I find many of the daughters from these II glamor queens to be runny, mean, swarmy, and not having the mite tolerance claimed. I'm working with one that I bought this spring, and the jury is still out. Her daughters are wintering in nucs, so I won't know until next year. So far they appear pretty good...a bit swarmy I would say.

    I would much rather select a breeder from a colony that I have several years of production records. These are open mated queens that have a good range of genes present in my apiaries. Not a little of this and a bit of that designer, baby doll queen bees.

    Do what you want, but do try to understand what I mean. Bees make better beekeepers than beekeepers make bees.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,624

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    I would agree that the best production queens are naturally mated. In my mind II is a useful breeding tool and that is about where it ends. I have seen research that they are often poorly accepted and have a much shorter laying life.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,996

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    I'm really thankful to have the different perspectives and opinions represented here. It's exactly what I need, and really the truest benefit of a forum like this. There is no one perfect way for beekeeping, and of course for bee breeding. So it's essential that we are able to get input from all around the table; offering us each a new path or two to consider.

    My plan at the moment is to see how my first attempt at wintering nucs come through winter, and if I have enough bees, to make next year's new adventure be queen rearing. I will likely add a bit more genetic stock to my apiary, and then "buckle-down" as it were and just keep building my apiaries and recording how they do.

    It seems that a key feature might be to maintain some nucs throughout the season.

    Adam

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wright, MN, USA
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    If anyone has experience with the hooks for opening up the queen, I'd like some suggestions. After watching some Youtube videos and a DVD, I see it can make a big difference.
    I have never tried II, but wouldn't used Dental picks or scalers off ebay work?

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    As far as the hooks are concerned, I was thinking about bend radius, wire guage and taper, lead-in clearance for hand work before the micro-adjuster bar starts,...dimensional advice, material suggestions, things I have not considered. A range of hook sizes works for dentists and fishermen, but a queen bee's private parts? It seems it might get a bit specific, as it is rather small. Watching the videos, it is obvious that there is a LOT of skill involved, and the right tool is a big help.

    Adam - Are you overwintering double-nucs over a double screen board above a strong colony? Are you insulating them with foam, straw, other material? Are you allowing top hive ventilation? Wrapping with roof paper? I'm just curious - Southern California is so much different than Nova Scotia.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,996

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    For this first try, I'm going to try wintering nucs in single 8 frame deeps. I chose those because I have them, and thought they might be a little easier to keep from getting too big before winter. The are presently stacked on larger colonies, and each has a top entrance.

    I'm not sure how I'll prep them for winter. A guy up here stacked a bunch of 'em in blocks and wrapped them with tyvek. Each had a small top and bottom entrance, and I thought it all looked pretty solid. But he lost about 40%. I'm not sure why, but I may keep it pretty simple. My boxes are all painted a dark, chocolate brown, so I'm not wrapping them. They'll all have a small top entrance. No bottom entrance. The question is whether or not to put insulation on top of each one.

    Adam

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Beginning in Queen Rearing: How to get from here to a genetic goal?

    I've heard / read a few guys say to put 2" or more of foam insulation over an inner cover, but to use something under it that absorbs moisture. An empty super full of dry straw was suggested as well. Upper hive ventilation is an issue that is likely dependent on how sealed-up your hives are. You might try doing a few each way and see which ones fare better through winter. Wrapping is probably for keeping wind, rain, and snow out. I doubt it contributes much for insulation, more for blocking air movement. How cold and wet does it average there? What kind of Temperature Lows? If it is quite nasty, I wonder if your bees would benefit from a WBC (William Broughton Carr - double-walled) hive design?

    I'd certainly consider double nucs over double screen boards and stacking, but only if you've treated for nosema, mites, and other stress-causes.

    I often think of moving my operation to a less-regulated state, so I pay careful attention to learning wintering methods. I'm not a wintering expert, note I'm in Southern California, where I have eucalyptus bloom from mid-November through March and enjoy winter increase :-) everything else about the place makes me want to move far away. Too many people with heads that need to take cleansing flights, I try to empty my own often.

    Please, you Northern beeks and beekettes, when you finish laughing, correct my idiotic suggestions! I am a kibbutzing Southerner from not too far from Disneyland. It actually does snow here some years, but I've worn Speedos on the beach while surfing in December, and seen bees sipping Mai Tai's when the sun was out the same day.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 09-10-2012 at 02:10 PM.

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