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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Pierce/Thurson County, Wa
    Posts
    186

    Default Early queen breeding.

    This is my first post in this thread, I hope I posting in the correct place.

    I was thinking. . . I was reading that some people kept some hives in a black tent and the bees were ready to go a month earlier in the Spring.

    Is it possible to have a hive that you bring inside (like an observation hive with a tube through the window for access) to keep them warm and get them to lay drones and queens, AI the queens (too cold for a mating flight), and get them laying in time for the Spring flowers?

    From my reading, it seems possible, is it feasible?
    If you think anything organic is good for you, go drink some organic solvents.
    geek, learning how to be a beek

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Early queen breeding.

    Wow, sounds like some interesting thoughts you have. I don't have anything to say, but I am interested in what others have to say.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,723

    Default Re: Early queen breeding.

    Where will you put the queens once you mate them? Will you have lots of other hives in the tent? You will need to be able to make splits to put the queens in. Or will you try and bank them. I think making the cells and AI the queens would really be only half the battle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    763

    Default Re: Early queen breeding.

    You could speed them along some, and hope for warm enough weather for an early mating flight. You may end up with a bunch of virgin queens and no where to go.. It wouldnt take much resources to try and if it worked you could have mated queens a little early. The bad side even if it worked might be , how many drones where flying when they mated.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,057

    Default Re: Early queen breeding.

    I've saw somewhere that length of day plays a factor. I can't find it, maybe someone else has a link. Maybe lights in the tent to mimic long days

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,801

    Default Re: Early queen breeding.

    I had thought of that-grafting early queens and AI for an earlier crop in our shorter season for locally mated Northern queens. But after some research I found the consensus was frozen drone semen was not great quality and the resulting IA'd queens were frequently poor layers and superceded quickly.
    I got an early crop of queens mated this year (Early May) because I bought some California nucs that already had mature drones in them. But then your Northern virgins are mated with warm weather beach bums.
    I'd do it early just to get grafting experience. What the heck, with our unpredictable weather patterns these last few years, we could get a warm spell that would allow mating flights. If the virgins did not get mated well, just cull them and try again.

    (If your queens are not successfuly mated, you will have to replentish your mating nucs to make up for the long broodless period)

    I don't think you would have use that tent though. Day length is more critical in stimulating your queen to lay so you can graft. You will need your starter hive and finishing hives willing and ready. That may be more of a problem when days are still short. Grafting queens is easy. Managing all the resources to complete all the steps needed from start to finish is the hard part.

    You are in my area so my research would apply to you.
    Here is a photo of some of my hives. In my tests for color/temperature variations, I was pretty surprised to find the black hives were as much as 20 degrees warmer in the winter sunshine than the light colored hives.( Empty hive interior temps)
    Forgo the black tent and grab some black paint and a roller

    Last edited by Lauri; 10-16-2012 at 08:36 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Early queen breeding.

    It would seem that you could give the bees a head start with heat like you are talking about. I guess you would have to do a control group to compare differences. I have seen the black paint idea as well.....20 degrees extra heat means your bees won't eat as much of their stored honey making that heat. I assume when you say laying queens that you want to split your hive? What do you have to lose by trying? There will be nay-sayers. I think you should set up a drone congregation area in your garage. I But I wonder if the drones should come from a separate hive. I mean you need to put two different hives inside.

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