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  1. #1
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    Default What to do with "extra" queens?

    I'm planning on trying my hand at raising some queens in the spring but given this is a new venture for me I'm wondering what to do with all the queens once they are bred. I'm a little uncomfortable selling them unless I have at least a full season or two with them first. I'm hoping that raising and selling queens and nucs can be a long term venture and don't want to sell a product I wouldn't want in my own apiary. I plan on adding maybe a dozen full hives that I'm hoping to stock with my own queens for evaluation but I would like to do more practice with grafting and get an idea on how well I can get queen mated. Just squish the extras?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    I would sell them but maybe for nothing more than cost. I would also be straight up about why they are priced the way they are. Be aware there is a down fall to that idea. and that is if you want to produce a product. do you really want to provide an inferior one. I woudl simply not sell them under a business name. otherwise make nucs out of em and sell them or just destroy them and consider it the cost of development.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    My goal for this year is to get queen cells on >80% of grafted larvae and to try cell punch as well. Problem is I want to be able to repeat a few times but don't want 100 hives or nucs just yet. I guess I could give away or sell some for $5 and have an agreement on paper that states they are practice queens and would like feedback on them as the season progresses.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2012
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    Johnson County, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    I would start them in nucs and see how they do. If she develops an excellent nuc, then she is an excellent queen and worth every penny for a good nuc. Just don't be shy about culling the weak ones and replacing them with a new queen. Just be selective about which ones you're willing to sell. Like you said, don't sell anything that you wouldn't be happy to buy. I raised my first queens/nucs this year, and some of them looked so good I was quite unhappy to let them go.
    Once the bee is inside, Mr. Veil is no longer your friend.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2013
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    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    I started raising a few queens this year, and you really need a lot of bees to raise queens, but then I raised all mine in nucs. Use your best queens for mother queens and take those cells and put them in nucs. Inspect the nucs and you can tell by how they are laying in the nucs whether you have a good queen or not. If she is a good queen laying a good pattern then sell her. You are then selling a proven product that you can be proud of. You have more time invested in each queen this way but it is a good way to learn. The following year you can apply what you have learned and start raising queens in a more commercialized manner, but in the beginning I would start by raising them in nucs.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2013
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    Palmer, Kansas, USA
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill91143 View Post
    I started raising a few queens this year, and you really need a lot of bees to raise queens, but then I raised all mine in nucs. Use your best queens for mother queens and take those cells and put them in nucs. Inspect the nucs and you can tell by how they are laying in the nucs whether you have a good queen or not. If she is a good queen laying a good pattern then sell her. You are then selling a proven product that you can be proud of. You have more time invested in each queen this way but it is a good way to learn. The following year you can apply what you have learned and start raising queens in a more commercialized manner, but in the beginning I would start by raising them in nucs.
    Do you have a bunch of permanent nuc boxes or use those cheap cardboard boxes? I'm thinking of doing the same thing but I think that selling a nice nuc box will eat up any profit pretty quick? Or am I missing something?
    Last edited by pharmbee; 10-10-2013 at 03:32 PM. Reason: wrong spelling

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    You can make a queen bank out of a super with 3 or 4 divider boards depending if you use 8 frame or 10 frame equipment. Use 3/8" divider boards to make two frame compartments within the super. Place in each two frame compartment a frame of honey and a brood frame with a queen on it with extra nurse bees. Use a double screen bottom board made with seperate entrances for each compartment. Place over a strong hive to get extra heat.

    You can "bank" 4 queens in one box until you need them.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  8. #8
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    Good advice so far - make increase in the spring and combine runts in the fall. Keep a 99 cent bottle of vodka in your kit for the culls. Don't get in a hurry to sell queens until you really know you have a quality product. Cause people will cut you down.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Don't get in a hurry to sell queens until you really know you have a quality product. Cause people will cut you down.
    It doesn't matter if you sell duds or good queens, word gets out quick either way.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  10. #10
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    pharmbee says...
    Do you have a bunch of permanent nuc boxes or use those cheap cardboard boxes? I'm thinking of doing the same thing but I think that selling a nice nuc box will eat up any profit pretty quick? Or am I missing something?

    You are not selling the nucs, you are selling the queens. When you sell a queen, you slip another cell into the now queenless nuc for them to emerge and mate. If you do not sell all the queens in a timely manner as per the timing of the queen rearing, then you bank them to free up the mating nucs for another round of cells.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  11. #11
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    Apr 2004
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    Central CA.
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    495

    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by DLMKA View Post
    I'm planning on trying my hand at raising some queens in the spring but given this is a new venture for me I'm wondering what to do with all the queens once they are bred.
    What's that old saying about counting chickens? Best of luck to ya, but there is more than a few things that can and will go wrong. If you have extra. bank em.

  12. #12
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    Jun 2013
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    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by pharmbee View Post
    Do you have a bunch of permanent nuc boxes or use those cheap cardboard boxes? I'm thinking of doing the same thing but I think that selling a nice nuc box will eat up any profit pretty quick? Or am I missing something?
    Yes, I have a bunch of 5 frame nuc boxes I built last winter. I do pretty much like Ray Murler said, I place a queen cell in a nuc with a couple of frames of bees and let them raise a queen. Then when I need her I take her from that nuc and add another cell, letting them raise another queen. If for some reason I haven't used a queen I leave them in the nuc and let them grow. I will be wintering 4 nucs of bees, because I didn't use the queens. The reason I like 5 frame nucs, if you don't use the queen in a short while they will grow into a nice hive of bees. Also in a 5 frame nuc a queen can pretty much reach her full potential, and a quick look at the frames will tell you how good your queen is. If you don't sell the queens and you have to over winter the nucs, but you don't want to increase your number of hives advertise the nucs as over wintered nucs, and sell them. I know one person that sells over wintered nucs installed into your equipment for $200.00. I either used for myself or gave most of my queens to friends because this year was an experimental year for me. Everyone has been very pleased in my queens, but it is a lengthy process doing it the way I did. I am now starting to think it is more prophet and less work in putting together and selling nucs, than queens.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    pharmbee says...
    Do you have a bunch of permanent nuc boxes or use those cheap cardboard boxes? I'm thinking of doing the same thing but I think that selling a nice nuc box will eat up any profit pretty quick? Or am I missing something?

    You are not selling the nucs, you are selling the queens. When you sell a queen, you slip another cell into the now queenless nuc for them to emerge and mate. If you do not sell all the queens in a timely manner as per the timing of the queen rearing, then you bank them to free up the mating nucs for another round of cells.
    Actually the cardboard boxes are not cheap as far as price is concerned. No argument about quality. Making the nucs is about the same cost as buying a box.

    I am making real wood nucs with bottom board inner and outer cover for each of my full size hives. these will also be used for rearing nucs to sell. but when selling them I will move the frames to a cardboard box. mainly because of the labor factor in making the wood nucs. Also a nuc in a cardboard box is much lighter than a wood one. My nucs are also a deep on the bottom with a med box on top, but when I sell one I only sell the deep.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  14. #14
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer Jim View Post
    What's that old saying about counting chickens? Best of luck to ya, but there is more than a few things that can and will go wrong. If you have extra. bank em.
    I fully expect my first few grafting attempts to be complete or near complete failures but I do intend to keep trying until I have repeatable success. That may mean I end up with a handful of extra queens. I hate planning for failure only to be met with beginner's luck. Would much rather have the bees and equipment ready to put good cells in.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    960

    Default Re: What to do with "extra" queens?

    DLMKA - I'd agree with David Laferney's post #8 of this thread.

    Give a 32 oz cup of bees to each nuc, add 1 queen each with a Laidlaw queen introduction cage, let them overwinter. The survivors that come out swinging in the spring have proven themselves, and if they make lots of honey, you'll be glad you did this. Plus, they are worth a lot more than cost that way, as in $130 per over-wintered nuc in a wooden 5-frame nuc box. But hurry, the drones will be getting the boot soon - it's mid-October, and you're in the northern mid-west.

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