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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    798

    Question Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Has anyone done queen banking in an observation hive?

    If so, how long have you banked them in this manner? I read that it is possible to get viable queens that have been banked for as long as several months. This led me to think that this may a way to get some good early queens in northern states.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Things are difficult enough with an observation hive already. That would be like someone drowning and throwing them a lead life preserver!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Great analogy Flyingbrass

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    I was just thinking the same thing, but not in an observation hive. I'm sure its been tried, but does anyone know of any successful wintering of banked queens? I'm from Canada, so I'm talking a 4-5 month winter with few or no cleansing flights.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Is the purpose of the observation hive to have the hive indoors in a warmer location?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    I have banked queens over winter in a five frame medium nuc with a terrarium heater. You have to keep them warm enough they don't cluster. You also will probably have to boost the population somewhere mid winter by stealing some bees from a strong hive or by sacrificing a nuc. I have not tried it in the observation hive, but have considered it. It's just that you can't make adjustments in the winter with an observation hive as you would have to haul it outside and I don't think they can take the cold. On the other hand you can keep an eye on it...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Thanks Michael, I agree that an observation hive would make it much more complex. How warm would you need to keep it? Could you screen them and keep them indoors (70F)? Does the increased temperature cause the increased bee mortality, and therefore the need for a boost? How much feed did they consume, and was the colony queenless, except for the bank?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    > How warm would you need to keep it?

    Warm enough they don't cluster and ignore the queens at one end of the other. I would say that's about 60 F.

    > Could you screen them and keep them indoors (70F)?

    Probably.

    > Does the increased temperature cause the increased bee mortality, and therefore the need for a boost?

    Yes.

    > How much feed did they consume,

    Somewhat more than a typical unheated (or underheated) nuc.

    >and was the colony queenless, except for the bank?

    Yes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Thanks for the info. If I have extra queens this fall, it may be worth a shot, better than simply killing them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by sharpdog View Post
    Thanks for the info. If I have extra queens this fall, it may be worth a shot, better than simply killing them.
    SharpDog: So what is your final thoughts on the setup that you would do this year? Based on what you first thought, and then what you were advised, how would you do it (in detail)?

    1. 5-Frame Nuc? Queenless (except banked queens)?
    2. Style/size of queen cage? Number of queens? At most 1 frame of queens?
    3. Sacrifice a Nuc mid winter (after making queenless) to augment Queen Bank Nuc? Place above? Place below? Separate with newspaper/cloak? Shake them into the Queen Bank Nuc?
    4. How/what/when/if to feed?
    5. Indoor operation? Outdoor operation? How/when to let them fly? If indoor, would you give them permanent or periodic access to the outdoors (a pipe or something)? What temp would you keep the inside of the hive if you augment with heat?
    6. I assume the queen will be isolated in her cage?
    7. Why not a queen castle (a hive box subdivided 4 ways would support 4 queens)? If temp is the problem, why not a queen castle with augmented heat?
    8. 2 inch hard foam insulation (Yellow, Blue or Pink stuff)? No insulation?
    9. Etc...

    I need to do splits now (and will probably do walk-away splits... that is, make a split and hope it produces an emergency queen). I don't want to buy queens from the south (maybe I am naive on this point). I want queens from Michael Bush. His is 35 minutes away (lives in my climate) and should have queens that survive our winters (not terribly harsh, but it does get cold). Last I talked with him (Michael, correct me if I am wrong), he won't have queens for sale until late June (and no telling this year because Spring finally shows up tomorrow, late April, after our last good freeze tonight).

    Anyway, I am very intrigued with overwintering a queen bank. I am hoping to learn from your 'plan'. Does anybody else have detailed thoughts on how they would do it? I am always willing to do a 'science fair project' (OK, I have been out of high school for 30+ years, but I still love a good science fair project)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Hi HiveGuy,

    I have been thinking about it a fair bit lately, but have not come to a finalized plan. I suspect that I will end up testing 2 methods:
    1. Queenless nuc with bank of queens, no more than about 20, in my basement at 65F. (Add a few frames of bees midwinter as required) Feed sugar syrup all winter.
    2. The other thing I have been contemplating, is I guess what you would call the Queen Castle. I was planning a 6 way split box using 1/2 size deep frames. With this box containing 6 queenright hives, I suspect it will winter just fine if it has enough feed. I will feed sugar syrup throughout winter. I plan to keep this hive(s) in my wintering shed, climate controlled at 40F. I plan to make this box out of an insulated ICF super.

    I all depends how successful queen rearing goes this summer and how things look this fall. I know that if a person can figure out a way to get quantities of queens through winter, there will be a market for them, but they need to still be quality in spring.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    798

    Default Re: Banking queens in Observation hive?

    Based on replies to my post, I am now thinking a 5 frame nuc with queen and capped with queen excluder, then another 5 frame nuc with banked queens. Storage would be in basement at about 65 with tube to outside (like an OB hive). Feeding could be done with miller type on top. I would tape all seams to prevent escape and provide screened venting.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

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