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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    On the issue of season. I may actually have to set up shop as much as 2 hours from home, not sure. Reno does not have the best climate for this. May is probably the earliest I can expect bees to be getting really busy and that is just goign to be a couple months behind as far as breeding goes.

    So for anyone looking at a Breeding rotation. You might want to first consider where you are rotating them to. Even if you can't consider a 2 hour commute. Most places have little pockets of warmer locations etc. That little patch of ground next to a lake or pond may tend to stay a bit warmer in the spring for example.

    Warmer more sheltered abundant resources in the area are all little things that will add up. I can't say this specifically for bees. but I am far from being a stranger to breeding in general. And little things matter.

    IF I where still in Kansas I know of a little Pond, Very deep so it has a huge mas to it. that is set right down in a pocket of a canyon. nearly no wind ever. but it faces south and gathers the suns energy all year round. That little pocket is a good two weeks ahead of the surrounding country side every spring. That is where I would put a breeding yard. Plus it has the added bonus of good fishing in that pond. I could use queens that don't measure up as bait.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  2. #42
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    It is, of course, whatever the market will bear. Typically cells will sell from $3.00 on up. $10 may not be out of line if you are dealing in smaller quantities with proven genetics and a local demand for it but you are probably not going to sell many at that price.
    When it comes to small quantities of queen cells, what you are paying the producer for is the inconvenience of handling small quantities when they often handle 100 at a time.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  3. #43
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    When it comes to small quantities of queen cells, what you are paying the producer for is the inconvenience of handling small quantities when they often handle 100 at a time.
    Amen to that. Been there done that. I made the mistake of advertising cells a couple years ago without specifying minimum quantities. I ended up spending more time filling an order of 2 than an order of 200. I also re-learned an obvious lesson.....don't ever graft a large order for someone that you haven't dealt with before unless you have at least a sizable down payment. Delivery day comes and you cant get a call answered or a message replied to. Grrrr. Throwing beautiful cells in the garbage can is a pretty sad sight.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Powerful pint Mark that is lost on a lot of people. I have done a lot of packing and shipping in the past. You get to loving the bigger orders fast. and not because you sold or made more on them. My stuff was a non profit sort of thing for groups like this one. It takes just as much time to pack up. print postage take a package to the post office for one items as it does 100. Okay gathering up 100 pieces takes a bit longer but not by as much as you might think.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Jim, I have always required a deposit on large orders. no mater what it was i am doing. Home remodeling or repair the deposit covers the cost of materials. in any sort fo woodwork it covers my material costs as well as pays me for my time. in producing bees I would figure the cost of my materials and time and they woudl pay that or I woudl not accept the order. It cost you to make those cells that went into the trash. I insure that in the worst case it didn't cost me on penny I may not make anything but I am not goign to pay for someone to be a flake.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #46
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    I know I should just go look at your web site and I will. I have been their before but this time I have to file that information somewhere.

    I am concerned with the mated queens ability to move and exorcise and how it effects both sperm reaching the spermathica and how it helps her clear her oviducts after mating. basically I have found info that says queens with room to run around are heather and more fertile.

    Assuring temp control requires a min population of bees. Something in the neighborhood of 1000 bees per nuc. I also want each nuc to be separate and independent and I am concerned that the mini nucs will just be to small for a good population or even good exorcise room.

    But any info on what size nuc is still big enough and still handles the above issues would be appreciated.
    Web site?? Not me.

    Exorcise? The Devil is in the details? Sorry, couldn't resist.

    First, I would use a nuc box with your standard size queens. I expect you won't be raising many queens at first, and you need experience first and better equipment later if needed.

    As far as population in mating nuc, and whether or not a mini has enough bees to support the new queen, I can't really have an opinion on what you say above. My minis get plenty strong, and my queens are big fatties with good brood patterns. I find many productive and still laying happily along in their third year.

    This is a 4 way, where one side has been expanded by removing one queen, and moving feeder to side wall. Are these nucs strong enough?




    Is she laying well enough for your book learned theory?





    Is she fat and long enough? Like them hairy legs?




    Is the resulting pattern good enough for ya?



    Don't read too much into the reports. Use what you have, change later as the need becomes apparent. Most importantly...Just Do It!

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Jim, I have always required a deposit on large orders. no mater what it was i am doing. Home remodeling or repair the deposit covers the cost of materials. in any sort fo woodwork it covers my material costs as well as pays me for my time. in producing bees I would figure the cost of my materials and time and they woudl pay that or I woudl not accept the order. It cost you to make those cells that went into the trash. I insure that in the worst case it didn't cost me on penny I may not make anything but I am not goign to pay for someone to be a flake.
    Good policy to be sure, queen cells don't have much of a shelf life. Sure I know you can cage them and hold them for a while or you can recell some recent nucs but I usually don't have the time built into my day for that. I had one guy who stood me up on a few hundred cells call me back a couple weeks later saying he could sure use some cells now. I said "tell you what, first you pay me for the ones that I had to throw away then we will talk". Never heard from him again. Guess I am just a bit too trusting of others, as my signature says.......
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  8. #48
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    Jan 2003
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    >>Don't read too much into the reports. Use what you have, change later as the need becomes apparent. Most importantly...Just Do It!

    looking good Michael! I totally agree with you!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Sorry Michael I get the Michaels mixed up just like everyone else. And you are right, nothing matters if you don't get results. I decided I like your results long ago. Thanks for the photos though. Pictures work good for me.
    "Just do it"!?? but that is where it all gets messed up and nothing works! Reality is like gravity. just drags you down.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    It's easy to get wrapped around the axle trying to find the "best" way to do something. I've gone back an forth on queen castles, 2,3,4 frame medium and deep nucs, mini mating nucs, etc. One of these days, I'll figure out which and when each of them works better for me.

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    someone can talk about a particular aspect all winter, but if that someone does not actually get out and "do it" in the spring, all that talk goes for nothing.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    "Just do it" I like it. Beekeeping and beekeeping theory always seems easy in front of a computer screen. Kind of like the boxer that thinks he has a good "fight plan"...till he gets punched in the nose. Suddenly your perspective changes.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    On the subject of selling queen cells, remember, I am just starting out. I never plan to be bigger that what I can manage on my own. Here is my situation:

    Springtime usually finds me raising and selling vegetable seedlings, especially tomato plants. My customers come in, grab a few plants that total about $20.00. They whip out a $100. bill. There eyes dart around and they ask, 'What else have you got for sale?"

    Hmmm...I'd have to be stupid not to recognize there might just be an opportunity here.

    The bees and hive parts will add to my inventory. I'll carry some honey-but purchased honey from my supplier. I need to try to have each sale make it worth my time, since most people want to chat a bit. I really can't stand there chatting for an hour for a $3.00 tomato plant sale.
    My farm sales are just to help with the home farm costs, really nothing more. At least not until I am more established and organized. If I am going to open a package of tomato seeds, might as well grow them all and sell a few to help pay for the seed. Thats exactly how I got started. Not to mention the near fights over the tomato plants at my garage sale. LOL.

    Offering queen cell sales in small quantities is no problem for me, since they almost always buy something else.
    Now I don't expect my tomato customers to buy bee stuff-except for honey, but my bee customers will absolutely buy tomato plants.
    This all allows me to do my agricultural 'experiments' as well. That's what keep my interest up.

    I have always made at least two of everything. One for me, one to sell to pay for mine. Problem is, by the time I have completed the two items I usually see room for improvement and sell them both-so I can make the new and improved model. That is my problem and that's what got me into selling a few things. Those darn new ideas. It's seems to have the potential to be something larger. I'm just feelin' the waters so to speak, careful not to get into it to deeply yet. I'm not going to take out a loan to have instant inventory. I need to find my Niche first.
    I had a customer once ask me if I had any lettuce seedlings. I told him 'you can buy a whole bag of lettuce at Costco for the same price you can buy just a few seedlings. I didn't think anyone would buy them and didn't grow any'
    He said, "that's not the point. It's the experience of growing, not just having the product'
    That was a good lesson for me.

    I believe that is the reason most people start beekeeping, and are willing to spend money doing it. Not to get that jug of honey, but to experience the whole process start to finish..and beyond in most cases. Beekeeping IS addictive.

    I'd be financially ahead if I didn't do any of this. I've had bad weather that's killed all my seedlings and of course lost bees over the winter. It's the work experience and product development that is my reward so far. Having a hobby that has a payday once in a while or keeps my husband from footing the whole bill is always the short term goal.

    Sorry about getting so off topic. Just replying to a post.
    Last edited by Lauri; 12-03-2012 at 05:42 PM.

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    On the subject of queen castles or mating nucs, all the types I made worked well. They were slightly different, and it came down to ease of use . The ones that held five mini deep frames that hung on the fence were my favorite. Big enough for a strong mini colony, small enough to easily find the queen and easy on my back. No bending! Didn't take too many resources to get started and had enough room to strengthen. I don't know about you, but after examining frame after frame of regular deeps, my back gets tight after a few hours. The mini frames were so light and easy to work with.
    Five deep 9 1/4" frames is the equivelent of 2 1/2 standard deeps. But with the mini frames, you have three frames in the center of the broodnest. You actually HAVE a center, not so with two frames. You only have the space between them. My point is, the bees did seem like the five mini frames better than two standard frames. They seemed to have a different 'contentment'. Maybe just my imagination, though



    If your weather is warm enough, you can even make mini mating nucs out of a cardboard nuc box. Just divide it and give each and entrance. I wouldn't plan on making these as my main stock, but they would work in a pinch.


    Here is a banking frame that will hold any queen or roller cage
    Last edited by Lauri; 12-03-2012 at 06:22 PM.

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    I'm in the same boat with my beekeeping. I always get distracted with making more bees or trying something new. I think I have beekeeping ADHD..

    I'm planning to run it as a business this year and see how things turn out. Which was the primary reason for starting this post.

    Also, I plan on copying your fence hanging mating nucs. (muhahaha)

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    'Also, I plan on copying your fence hanging mating nucs. (muhahaha) '
    You'll love them Kevin. The windows were time consuming to make and I didn't really use them, except to take a few pics. I'd eliminate them on my next batch.
    I liked the hindged tops too.
    I added the disk excluders to have the ability to control robbing and yellow jackets. They were bad last year. But this year I made sure the colonies were stronger and I had no problems-even when I fed. I'll post a pic of how I fed them with an inverted quart jar. I have to go out and take a photo..give me a bit of time.

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    All,

    Do you have screened bottom boards on your mating nucs? I've read that sometimes the queen will go under the nuc, instead of through the entrance. I wondered if this was really an issue.

    I haven't really noticed a big difference between screen or solid in my experiences.

    -Kevin

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Yes, I did have screened bottoms and would eliminate them as well. Not for that reason, the queen going under them, but it would keep the nucs warmer. I had the foam board slide in, but the earwigs liked to congrigate there.

    I used a piece of plastic, a food grade cutting board form the dollar store to be exact, for a inner cover. Mostly to keep the lid from sticking. It also was not necessary, but did keep the glob of pollen patty from sticking to the lid. These are nice if you have divided nucs and want to keep each colony corraled while inspecting the other.






    I also tried peg board to control my ventilation, but as I said, a solid bottom would really be best. At least in my cool northern climate.




    I just used a butt joint, and they were plenty strong enough. I didn't want to make anymore until I got my box joint jig set up. Just to do a bit nicer job. They will last me for many years and I don't mind taking a little more time with the design and assembly.
    I'll be working on the new and improved model soon and will post photos and measurements.
    Last edited by Lauri; 12-03-2012 at 10:11 AM.

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    I'll try both and see if I can document my success/failure.

    I really need to figure out a way to feed my bees pollen patties without growing an army of SHB.

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Post like this really are the bomb. It's good to know I always have more to learn and there's others willing to teach. Thanks to everyone for posting the pics and sharing so much information.
    Brian and I are breeding a 100 - 200 queens a year in 5 frame frame deeps like Dan, and last year in 4 frame deeps. With our 2 queen units in May/June we spent nearly 10K on queens last year and really want to do more breeding. We have picked out a few exceptional queen suppliers and of course will continue to buy to keep our stock fresh but let's face it the price and reliablity of queens can be a real crap shoot.

    Dan - you have tried several methods we have been considering and I'm wondering what your view is the full size advantage over the mini nucs.

    Now the stupid questions - I have looked at the queen castles (mainly at the brushy mtn store), I like the concept a great deal but am wondering if the castles tend to loose more queens due to the potentail of bees intermingling when the top is open and frankly, at least the Brushy mtn unit, the internals and tops seem kind of loose and an invitation to queens getting a shot at each other. I am am also wondering where you get mini brood frames to replenish a hive mating nuc as you may have 7 - 10 days of a virgin queen in between breedings. How many breedings are you getting from a mini-nuc before needing to "re-make". Are your breeding yards completely isolated from your regular hive yards and as we increase I'm assuming we will need to increase drone production to insure good matings. We had considered drone combs in our best breeder hives to maximize our best drone breeders.

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