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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Hello all,
    We are tentatively thinking about beginning a queen rearing operation next year, and I am wondering if 50 queens at a time, totaling to 200 hundred throughout the season, is too much to expect for a first year. I would plan to have 50 mini nucs, so that is all I can raise "at a time". I am just wondering if selling two hundred queens in our very first season is too preposterous to expect, or maybe should I expect to sell more? The queens would be Russians.

    Also, to those who ship queens: How do you estimate shipping costs? I am (not willingly) pretty ignorant concerning methods of shipping and suchlike, but I am stumped as to how I would find shipping costs.

    Any help and/or input on either of these matters would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    264

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    if you wish to sell,, make sure you have good quality certified,, queens,,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,368

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Thinking you'll get 4 rounds from your mating nucs is optimistic. Planning on 100% catch for your sales is asking for trouble.

    You might get three rounds of queens, if you can stay on schedule. Don't plan on more than 50% in your first year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Thinking you'll get 4 rounds from your mating nucs is optimistic. Planning on 100% catch for your sales is asking for trouble.

    You might get three rounds of queens, if you can stay on schedule. Don't plan on more than 50% in your first year.
    Thanks, Michael, for this information. I appreciate you letting me know this; I don't know what to expect on a first year commercial level, and giving a realistic view is very helpful. I don't plan for 100% success, but I got a bit of down-home queen rearing experience on my own hives this year (2012). I have the grafting technique down well, and have 80%-85% takes on grafts, and a little less with mating for same reason. I am pretty sure I need more drone saturation. Then I will plan for 50% for this year, and only three round out of my nucs. I am pleased with my small-scale success of the past year, having excellent quality in the final queens, and hope to do it on a larger scale this next year. I appreciate it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,363

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Just don't saddle yourself with bookings and schedules the first year. When you get some I am betting you can sell them on here fairly easily. Remember you can bank mated queens for a while if need be. Folks really like to know something about lineage, if you can afford a breeder from Glenn's or anyplace that can certify the stock it would make them easier to market and worth a bit more even if they are mated to your local drones.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Have you made your queen banks yet? You might as well make 200 cages to fit into about 4 queen bank frames. Equipment comes first, or you lose them all. 48 queens is just one 3-bar queen frame, which won't likely come out 100% your first few tries. With your 150 hives, you should try to make a run a day for about a 3 or 4 days, setting up a cell builder and a graft a day.

    Set up your calendars for each hive now. I use a 50-day cycle from cell starter preparation to judging the brood pattern of the new queen. PM me with your address and I'll send you copies of my combined calendars.

    A Cloake Board is a good thing to make, and read Dr. Susan Cobey's article about the method. There is also an excellent thread by Oldtimer regarding Cut-Cell method (Jay Smith).

    Are you using Doolittle method, Alley / Smith method, or another? Grafting (Doolittle) will take longer to learn, but is worth learning anyways. Cut-Cell method (Henry Alley / Jay Smith) will likely produce better queens.

    Shipping comes after you are successfully raising queens, but go ahead and ship some empty cages to your cousin in Wingnut, Utah, with "LIVE BEES" written prominently on them and a letter explaining what you are doing. You will learn more than just shipping cost. Talk to an eBay business owner in your area about setting up for shipping, cost charts, etc. - they usually have it down better than the Post Office, UPS, or Fed-Ex. Also, I find an instruction sheet for queen introduction helps the newbies. I ship mine with a Laidlaw introduction cage, and charge more for it.

    Also, try a batch of queen candy. Nulomoline or Dri-vert and powdered sugar formulas are in Harry Laidlaw's book, Contemporary Queen Rearing, amongst other places.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-20-2012 at 10:24 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,346

    Default Re: Queen rearing and shipping questions

    Howdy westernbeekeeper,
    200 hundred is a lot of queens. Twenty thousand, wow. I sure hope I can reach that point, someday. Quite ambitious for a first year. My best guess is, I'm misinterpreting your OP.

    Anyway, welcome to the world of queen production. It is a very rewarding endeavor. Lots of very good information from all the other posters in this thread. Very nice.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

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