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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    greer south carolina USA
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    156

    Default Advise on presence of drones

    This will be my first year trying to raise queens. l looked over an overwintered nuc on Tuesday and l was delighted to see this 6 frame nuc with 4 frames of wall to wall capped brood and the outside 2 loaded with eggs and larvae.(they moved the honey up already!) one of the wall to wall frames was half capped drone comb! hundreds of those boys! lt seems to me that this hive expects an early spring. when should l manipulate them to make queens? there will be mature drones in 2 weeks. the weather could warm up enough for mating flights by then!? do they know more about the weather than we do? also should l make another hive make the queens and let these boys party? l have another strong hive here and one, Michael P'S GIRLS, at another beeyard 5 miles away. lf l just make queens from the strong hives will the bees sort it out? Thanks Jim Donovan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    My first thought is. If you think drones will be present in 2 weeks. there is not much to loose in having queens ready to mate then. at worst you get some unmated queens. At best you get some early queens. I don't think I woudl consider these the best of queens at all but watching them for a while to see how they perform may prove that wrong. In short good things even by long odds cannot happen if you do nothing. The only sure outcome is doing nothing.

    Do the bees know something you don'? Very likely. I have no idea what that is either.

    As far as open mating. To begin with it is a situation of no control. And the truth is that never changes. No matter what breeders do they never gain control. they can only improve the conditions of chance.
    I have also seen it mentioned several times that queens will travel further to mate than drones do. It is thought this serves to prevent drones from the same colony as the queen being in the same place. Otherwise do I think brothers will mate with sisters? absolutely no question in my mind that they will. I would keep all queens reared at one yard all drone production at the other. As for drone production in general it is simply attempting to increase the frequency that a queen will mate with choice drones. If you put all drones into one of two categories. good drones and bad drones. then random chance says you will have half and half. But if you intentionally produce drones in large numbers from colonies of known good traits. You are pushing that chance more in your favor. You may only move that chance to 51-49 in favor of a good pairing. But that is a difference. Prevent drones from being produced in colonies of known bad traits and you push it a little further in your favor. The hard thing to understand is that the improvement compounds. like the interest on your credit card. For ever bad drone I prevent from being produced. I double the chance for a good drone to mate. so my 51-49 actually goes to something like 53-47 by preventing bad drones. probably even better. Use more good colonies to make more good drones or artificially increase the number of drones a good colony produces and I think it is reasonable to think you can push the odds as far as 75-25. But I don't think anyone ever can expect better than that.

    What does this mean for a single queen. lets say she mates with 20 drones. 15 of them woudl be good drones. 5 woudl be bad. you still have a colony that is primarily good. and every queen you produce under such efforts will be so. not just 75 out of every 100. but all of them. It does not work out that perfectly in the real world. but that is the breaking down of chance by the numbers and chance always proves true over time and large numbers of repetitions. If you do anything to make the odds in your favor. it will show up. it may take hundreds of queens to see it but it is there.

    I also think it is more important to limit the production of bad genes than to increase the number of good ones. I think of it this way. If you already have clean water. more clean water does not make that much of a difference. but if only one drop of dirty water gets in the glass. the entire glass becomes dirty. In many ways this is true about genetics. Although it is very important to select carefully for the traits desired. I believe there needs to be much more effort to reduce the bad as well. With the open mating required for queen production. this is the one factor breeders are always in a losing battle with. that tiny drop of bad is devastating.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,284

    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    If you are going to graft queens, do so when you see capped drones at the blue eye stage of growth.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    greer south carolina USA
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    156

    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    l opened the hive with hundreds of drone cells and the bees had ripped most of them open and were filling them with honey? l wonder what their plan was? l only saw 1 drone in that hive? still lots of capped drone cells but not near enough drones to consider making a queen!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    You saw new nectar already?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
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    1,701

    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    Isn't there a maturity time from when drones begin their orientation flights till they actually go on mating flights and can? Might be thinking of something else.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    Yes Rick, that's right. That's why if you start grafting queens when your first drones are in their blue eye pupal stage, by the time queens are ready to fly the drones will be mature enuf to do their job.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    A well filled frame half filled with drone comb would make me think pending queen failure (little stored sperm) unless the comb had alot of drone cells prior to the queen laying. If that was not the case I would next be thinking swarm buildup as a drone build up is often the precursor to cups turning into queen cells. As to the breeding potential I would want not want a queen from this stock breeding with drones from this same stock. How many queens are you raising and how many drone colonies do you have to service those queens? It might be good to open a couple more drone cells and check for mites - good hygenic house bees will open cells with high mite content and clean them out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    greer south carolina USA
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    156

    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    pulled out a few of dead ones and did not see any mites. they did have purple eyes. just seems odd so many dead drones and so much worker cells doing good?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    1,701

    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    Hey Mark,,,,,Never was good at math

  11. #11
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    Me neither Rick.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    Outside frame may have been chilled brood if you had a sudden cold night?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,742

    Default Re: Advise on presence of drones

    In my experience trying to push it as early as possible has never paid off. I have much better luck if I just wait until there are a lot of drones flying before I start and then the bees are much more interested in raising queens.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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