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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    This thread has helped me decide what direction to go.

    I've been back in bees one year, and have been considering the various ways to manage them. I just hit a home run on lumber. I'm picking up 2,000 2' lengths of 1x6 this weekend for a very good price. I plan to make 5 frame deeps out of all of it. We all bring our talents to the table. What I lack in beek skills can be compensated for by being a carpenter.

    I've also found most beeks selling bees around here to be totally lacking in customer skills. Probably one reason Lauri had such good luck selling queens. (Congrats Lauri!) Who wants to do business with a gruff old beek when they can talk to a nice person interested in cheerfully answering questions? The fact is, I am a gruff old beek, but I can still conduct business cheerfully and with sincere interest in my customer's welfare.

    I've found setting up and managing nucs fairly easy like MP says.
    Raising queens is another story. I'm not sure my eyesight will allow that on any large scale. I see eggs and larva easy enough, but scanning for the queen has become quite a chore with age, just like scanning shelves for a particular part at the hardware store has become much more time consuming.
    I'm using Mel's notching technique to make QC's and have found that very easy as well for use in nucs, but finding that queen again to cage her even in a nuc is a challenge.

    So my direction will probably be focused on nucs and honey until someone invents a queen detector.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,875

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Don, I hatch my queen cells out in a cheap chicken incubator. As they hatch I let them walk around on my hand and then mark them. Put them back into the hair roller cage in the incubator and when I have a few ready, go out and direct release them into the mating nucs. Looking for queens is the biggest time waster for me. I have a great return on them and feel marking them as virgins makes no difference on acceptance, return or longevity in the hive. Makes them super easy to find. And maybe more important, super easy NOT to Miss, when transferring frames. Who hasn't accidentally transferred a queen to another hive? Grrrr.

    I know some people are apposed to marking at all. In that case, I don't know what to suggest. Darn color this year will be red though. I'm not sure how that color will stand out.



    Even this incubator photo need some updating and changes. I needed something to hold the hair roller cages securely and used this soft oassis foam. As soon as the queens hatch, they will crawl down to the bottom of the cage, then up into the old cell looking for a meal. They will die in there and you need to remove the cell soon asap. Trouble with this set up is it is easy to miss the queens on the bottom of the roller cage since it is covered and will miss your chance to remove the cell before they get into it.

    Those queen cells in the incubator were a dinky bunch, but the JZBZ cells were packed full of royal jelley-so I hatched them out. It ended up being a great batch of queens. How can a large queen come out of a dinky cell? I almost chucked the whole bunch.



    Below: Newly hatched and marked.


    Here is the virgin on a direct release, I always place them on a good feed frame. Upon releasing they will always find a good cell and dive into it and drink, drink, drink. It's cute to see the young bees run up and feed her too. I have never had a single rejection, as long as they are released within a few hours of hatching. If they hatch overnight, it is still Ok, but I do detect the acceptance is not quite as easy.


    I started out by placing ripe cells in the mating nucs, but liked hatching them out much better. No nucs with unhatched cells to remain queenless for too long and thus non productive, no disturbing the mating nuc to check for a hatch, queens are evaluated and marked already.
    (Note: Placing cells works great and is easy to do. I'm not saying it is a bad way, but it is no faster in the long run and a little less productive. I had one laying worker hive I just couldn't fix with a mated queen or virgin. Placing a cell into that was the only way to remove the old layer and get that nuc back on track-but this is another thread)

    Here is a video of placing a virgin queen in a mating nuc. This queen was a little older (Over night hatch) and you can see she is very submissive. The receiving bees almost get there hackles up, but do accept her. Ususlly when I release a newly hatched virgin, most of the bees totally ignore her. Only a few young bees will come up and groom her and feed her.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhUrIAcA3eQ

    This video was taken early on in the summer when I wa still wearing those nasty leather gloves. I changed to surgical gloves and they work great. Basically the bees can still sting me almost as well as gloveless, but I can't feel them crawling all over my hands which creeped me out a bit. A good transition to going gloveless.
    For my bigger jobs I use thin rubber kitchen gloves that are tight and much better fitting. I get stung on the hands less with those than my old leather gloves.


    Lee, writing that will take some time. I'll work on it and post some more details ASAP. There is a lot of things I'd like to talk about, like checking the queens cells and finding them all beautifully capped, then a few days later finding them all covered with comb. I tried everything Beesource folks said, but ended up grafting directly into the cell cups meant for the Mann Lake graftless system, then as soon as they were capped, covering them with the hair roller cage. I also tried taking out the capped cells and finishing them in the incubator. I had a good hatch rate doing that, but it was slightly lower that letting them ripen in a hive.

    I used a tiny paint brush for grafting. I found the Chinese tool was easy to pick up the larva, but I had a hard time getting off the tool. I ended up taking my paint brush and swizzle it around into an older larva's royal jelly, brush it onto the cell cup to prime it so to speak. I just moistened the cup so when I placed the larva, it had some moisture adhesion and came off the brush very clean and easily, without trauma. I would roll my brush clockwise under the larva, and then counter clockwise to get her off.
    This photo doesn't show anything really, just how easy it is to graft from black rite cell and new soft comb.


    I just took a knife and gently scraped back the comb. The rite cell cells are deep enough to hold the larva and you'll never touch them.
    Last edited by Lauri; 12-01-2012 at 10:24 AM.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    I actually like the red color. For me, 99.99% of moving white and yellow dots turn out to be pollen on bees legs. I guess I don't have much red pollen. Blue is another color that is harder for me to use to find queens.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,996

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonShackelford View Post
    ...I've also found most beeks selling bees around here to be totally lacking in customer skills....Who wants to do business with a gruff old beek when they can talk to a nice person interested in cheerfully answering questions? The fact is, I am a gruff old beek, but I can still conduct business cheerfully and with sincere interest in my customer's welfare...
    I have found this to be absolutely true in my experience as well, and part of what has moved me to go this route.

    I have had some experience myself and heard complaints from others about bee-sellers who seem to have no inter-personal skills whatsoever. No one likes handing over money to a person that makes them feel awkward or uncomfortable. By this a mean a person who isn't ready when a customer arrives at the time they agreed on - but makes no apologies, or a person who seems to be trying to push a customer to handle bees without protection because he can see they're nervous. Or a person who speaks to a new beekeeper as if they're an idiot, or a person who gets all bent out of shape if you say you're using a top bar hive...

    Customer service goes a long way, and a lack of customer service goes a long way to sending people down the road. To me, it looks like a business opportunity.

    Great information, Lauri. Interesting approach in scraping the comb off the plastic foundation for grafting.

    Adam

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,944

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    lauri, that is some really neat stuff. thank-you for sharing!
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo,MI
    Posts
    331

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Lauri, is your egg incubator a little giant brand name. I think that I have one of those hidden in my barn.
    I'll have to try it out next spring. Thanks for the tip.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,875

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Yes. Little Giant with circulation fan. I did the queen cells exactly the same as hatching eggs. Same humidity level, just little lower temp. My thermometer sensor was on the bottom of the tray-so I set the temp at 92 degrees, figuring the temp at the top was about 4-6 degrees warmer. That heating cable gets HOT.
    My gestation length was just right, but interestingly I always had one queen hatch out 12-18 hours early. Most of the batch would hatch out the next day and I'd generally get one or two to hatch 12 -18 hours later. I though it was from my grafting older or younger larva, but I still got that with my graftless grid when I had the egg hatching time down to a few hours. A good lesson if you're finishing IN a hive. Watch out for those early birds.
    You'd wonder if the last few to hatch were from the youngest larva and perhaps be better quality from being treated like a queen earlier with royal jelly. I kept track for a while, but found no difference in productivity between the earlier and later hatching times.
    The little giant absolutly works, but is a little flimsy. I'd like a better quality incubator, but man! Are they spendy!
    Last edited by Lauri; 12-02-2012 at 08:44 AM.

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Lauri, it's amazing what you've done for a first year queen breeder! Thanks for sharing all that info.
    I normally don't use painted queens, but not for the typical reasons; I'm pretty colorblind, and unless the dots are white or yellow, they are of no value to me. Think anyone would mind if my queens were yellow every year? ;-)

    "Customer service goes a long way, and a lack of customer service goes a long way to sending people down the road. To me, it looks like a business opportunity."

    Amen to that Adam. I've been advertising spring singles on Craigslist that I'm bringing up from Florida in April. Been doing a lot of talking and email answering from novices, and sometimes it does get tiring, but I figure if I'm not doing anything else I might as well be trying to make a sale.

    Picked up my first load of that lumber today. There will be more than I thought, at least 2300 2' 1x6 and 350 10' 2x4's.. I got a great deal on about 100 8'x10' specialty pallets made from real 1x6 and real 2x4's. Some dis-assembly required. There are 8 stacks of these. My son and I spent the day going through 2 stacks. I'm so sore I can barely move. The things we do to be beekeepers!

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,875

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    Thanks Don. It has luckily worked out well.
    I don't mind the novices at all. But what I hate is people calling me up and saying 'I THINK my hive is queenless." That makes me shudder. I tell them to be sure before they spend their money, they really need a queen. I tell them about all the situations the hive may appear queenless, make sure there is not a virgin in there or one out on a mating flight during the day.... and the deer in the headlights look starts to show, even over the phone.

    I am a lumber hoarder. Don't tell me about any good deals. I have some 3" thick select deck left over from a job site stored up in my loft. It's beautiful..if I can think of something to make out of it. I'm thinking a door with a radius top for my canning room..build it like an old time Castle door with all the heavy steel hardware and large Clavos nails.
    Here is a door my husband built me recently for my barn work shop stall. We are still looking for just the right hardware to install it. A friend of ours got some big hindges of old railroad cars for his barn doors, but they are hard to find.









    My woodworking skills are usually limited to smaller projects. It was interesting to watch him build this door. It was made out of regular 1 1/2" car decking.
    Last edited by Lauri; 12-02-2012 at 09:00 AM.

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,944

    Default Re: Here is Where I'm At - How Do You Suggest I Move Forward?

    lauri, i really want to complement you for thinking outside the (bee)box.

    you deserve a lot of credit, and i sense that you are happy with your innovating.

    that's my favorite reward from beekeeping.

    if you take a round peg, and look at it from the side, it always looks the same, no matter what angle you look at it from.

    a square peg on the other hand, gives you different views, depending on the angle you are looking from.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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