Not just because she is a creature. One of my best hives out of 60 overwintered here in Washington State.
I'm doing some grafting, but the hives are still slow to build for splitting into the mating nucs. Just enough of a flow they are not interested in syrup, but not enough for them to put on a lot of growth. Problem is, I want to break up my weaker or slower hives for the nucs and leave my booming hives alone.
Until they start backfilling that is, then momma gets a new spot to live
I didn't graft last year until May 19-so I am still early. I have some virgins in mating nucs already though, just not many. I am ready for the season to really get going!
Here is my new mating nuc design for 2013. These standard nucs are divided to hold five half sized deep frames on each side. Each side has it's own inner cover so you can get into just one side easily. No bending! No ants or pests.
Green duct tape has notes about each virgin installed:
Red tape means queenless-no nuc is ever overlooked:
Finisher hive with started cells..also green tape with notes..so I can tell at a glance and don't forget. Some of the hives still have their rachett strap on. This time of year they work great for making sure you have a positive closure on your hive top feeder to avoid a crack where they can get in and drown.
New incubator is working great.
Roller cages on their side have newly hatched and marked queens:
Heres a pic of that queen in the video. Interesting color.
And below is a sister to the queen above..out of the same original swarm queen.
I have no problem with marking my virgins before mating flights-have a great return %.
I did mark two newly hatched virgins with disks..just to see it affects return. If they come back OK, I'll try a few more and let you know.
I hope everyone is having success this spring! Tell us how you are doing.