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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Princeton, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    164

    Default Do you try to provide extra drones

    How many of you guys go to the trouble of providing extra drones for breeding virgin queens, especially if you are only try to raise 20-30 queens a year?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,137

    Default Re: Do you try to provide extra drones

    Jon, I breed about that many and don't provide drones. Unless you are the only beekeeper for miles there should be no need. There must be a level of queen production that outstrips drone availability, but I don't know how many that would generally be.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Princeton, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Do you try to provide extra drones

    Thanks Adrian

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Do you try to provide extra drones

    I do try to have at least 4 combs in the brood nests (double deep configuration) that is foundationless, so that they can build drones as needed. I have found out that they don't use it all usually.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    738

    Default Re: Do you try to provide extra drones

    Jon -
    If you are just trying to get that few mated, you do not need to drone flood.

    If you are trying to improve your bloodline, you would do well to raise more queens, and to set up a mating yard surrounded by drone colonies about 3/4 mile away. It takes a lot of high-quality drone colonies to flood an area unless there are few or no local feral bees or other beekeepers' colonies.

    It is a good project for a bee club if nobody has enough hives to drone flood, but you all need to get together on which trait you are trying to promote, and get the same source of drone colonies going. It would also help to identify the local DCA's (drone congregating areas) and avoid them by better than 7 miles, preferably 10 miles.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Do you try to provide extra drones

    I do, but then I am apparently the only beek for miles around. In the 8 years I have been here, the only bees I see are my own (readily identifiable because I keep Cordovans). Before I started keeping bees again, I would go entire seasons and not see a single domestic bee, only bumbles. So now I pack my hives with drone foundation when I am going to raise any queens, just so there will be somebody--ANYBODY--out there to breed them! So far it has worked because even the new hives are solidly Cordovan.

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,429

    Default Re: Do you try to provide extra drones

    Actually Rusty you are in a pretty lucky situation, where I am there is every mongrel imaginable in the area I sell queens but cannot get pure mating. I do use drone combs to tilt things my way, but 100% pure is near impossible.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    738

    Default Re: Do you try to provide extra drones

    I have to concur about your lucky situation - you are in envyable position to control breeding somewhat while still using open mating.

    Keep your drone colonies 1/2 to 1 mile away from your mating yard. Raise many drones, kill the bad drones (re-queen their mommy queens), even kill drone brood with your uncapping fork.

    Read Harry Laidlaw Jr.'s books on queen rearing, especially Contemporary Queen Rearing - the chapter about setting up a breeding program. Also read Dr. Lawrence J. Connor's book, Bee Sex Essentials.

    Your situation reminds me of Brother Adam's situation in Devon, England, where his breeding yards were miles from any other bees. You would do well to read his books, Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey, Breeding the Honeybee, and In Search of the Best Strains of Bees. You could well adapt his methods, even become a Buckfast bee breeder.

    Good Luck!

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