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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default The self-sustaining mating yard

    Hi all,

    I like to discuss a thread on self sustaining mating yards as the thread says. I'd like to talk about 4 way mating nucs and how to over winter them vs 3, 3 frame deeps, other configurations, ect. Equipment costs of making half frames vs using standard deep combs. We can break off on tangents on quality of queen allowed more laying space and time vs those captued and caged quickly at some point. I'd like to here peoples thoughts as I'm planning on setting up a dedicated mating yard either this season or next. Thanks.


    Clay

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,646

    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    interesting thought. Have you looked at the smarock S system?? I have a cple and was going to try wintering in them this year, but they didn't fill them out well enough. if MP theory holds 3 of these filled with honey and stacked should winter fine, and that would be 4 nucs on basicly 2 deeps of food. not a bad deal if it worked.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    I have lots of 4 frame nucs wintering atm. MP uses a 4 way nuc method on half framres as mating nucs. Wondering if an deep super with 3- 3 frame nuc doubled deep might be better. then the 4 half frame nuc method? Looking for thoughts on this?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    2,646

    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    I am totaly unskilled at it, so not much help. I have about 0 success so far wintering nucs. I folowed someones advice last two years, only to find out they were leaving out a very important detail.
    Got another 20 in this season, we shall see how they do these are 5 on 5, so no way ready to try smaller yet. I think Lauri did though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,308

    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    I posted my plan on over wintering mating nucs in another thread. I tried for a few years to winter them on 4 mini-frames, but found it better to combine half and winter them on 8 mini-combs. And then this year I added a ten mini-frame super to the top of each...making 18 mini-combs in each. The survivors will be broken up into 4 frame matin nucs when the first cells are ready.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ht=mini-frames

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    44

    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    Mike.

    Just wondering why use 4 mini config when u could use a 3 - 3 deep config with similar results with no special frames to build? just wondering y 4 half combs vs 3 deep conms?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,176

    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    Clayton, I bet it is a matter of making use of your resources. In the fall Mike has bees, brood, and mini-combs a plenty. This way he can have that comb holding bees and queens for even more spring sales.
    Also, there is no need to worry about wax moths if bees are looking after the combs.

    Mike, sorry for butting in. After a 90 minute commute home - which would have taken 30 but for idiots in the ditches - I got hungry for bee related relief. It is going to be a long winter...
    Last edited by Adrian Quiney WI; 12-16-2013 at 06:05 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    Yes, of course it's about using fewer resources for the queen rearing side of the apiary. But, it's more than that.

    I started raising queens using my normal 4 frame double nucs. After the first queen cycle, the nucs got so strong that it took forever to find the queens...if I could even find them. A two frame nuc as in Brushy Queen Castles would work, but I would want to winter as many of the queens as possible, and I don't like the long skinny configuration of two deep frames. But two deeps is four minis...same volume but cubical...like a honey bee cavity...not long and skinny like a Queen Castle.

    And minis are small frames and hard for the queen to hide. I have 128 nucs to catch every four days. Each stand/box has four mating nucs, and each nuc has 4 mini frames. I have four people catching queens and each pulls one frame, and, usually, there she is. There are always the runners to account for. Queens that run. I just close up the nuc and re-check at the end of the day's catch. Find them then.

    And then there's the cloaking device. Did you know? It wasn't the Klingons that invented the cloaking device. It was queen bees. Don't believe me?

    Have you ever been looking for the queen in your hive, and you finally find her? And you look away for a second, and when you look back she's gone? Well? You're not blind. She's right there in front of you, but quite invisible. She knows when you're looking...

    The solution...Look away one more time, she'll turn it off, and when you look back...there she

  9. #9
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    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    Mike, are your mini frames bought or made by you or your crew?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    I make them by cutting and re-milling the top and bottom bars, and buying two extra side bars.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    2,531

    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    She knows when you're looking...
    I thought it went like this

    she knows when you're awake
    she knows if you've been bad or good
    so be good for goodness sake
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
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    1,162

    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Yes, of course it's about using fewer resources for the queen rearing side of the apiary. But, it's more than that.

    I started raising queens using my normal 4 frame double nucs. After the first queen cycle, the nucs got so strong that it took forever to find the queens...if I could even find them. A two frame nuc as in Brushy Queen Castles would work, but I would want to winter as many of the queens as possible, and I don't like the long skinny configuration of two deep frames. But two deeps is four minis...same volume but cubical...like a honey bee cavity...not long and skinny like a Queen Castle
    Interesting. We are moving away from a three frame, 3-way western mating nucs to an 8 frame, to-way side by side 4 frame mating nuc. They winter nicely on top of larger hives and management is easy if one has problems. Strength wise we try maintain the appropriate amount of capped brood by removing or adding brood as necessary. If they get jammed out big we knock them back to two frames each and use the extra brood to start more hives. Being side X side is nice for balancing the units. If one side goes out we flip the two-way 180 degrees (to get the field bees from the strong side) add brood and a cell and it is off to the races again. This works well for us as we are transitioning to 8 frame from ten frame hives for more efficient pollination trucking. I also like the bigger unit at the end of the season because they can really pack it out with bees and stores. One size frame for the whole operation is nice also. Finding the queen has not been a problem as long as good management has been employed as far as timing of the catch cycle and size goes. I think we hive a good compromise between not risking too many resources on a cell(one brood an 1 food frame initially) and being able to let them grow if we want/need to. The 6 & 5/8inch standard frame is big enough to get a great assessment of brood pattern and the unit is big enough the queen can be fully matured so her pheromone content is at a max for the highest possible acceptance rates. Several studies have shown acceptance rates for introduced queens are highest for queens allowed to lay at least 28 days before catching.

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs...l-00891835.pdf
    This study had the highest acceptance rates for 35 day old queens and questions the conventional wisdom of catching queens two to three weeks after cell introduction. There are other studies that have reached similar conclusions. I feel that most mini nucs are too small to properly mature and vet the queen. A bigger nuc allows more time for her to lay and her pheromone compliment to fully mature. I have also observed that the supercedure impulse for marginal queens grows with time. For example, what looked like a good queen at age two weeks, suddenly looks bad at four weeks of age as supercedure begins in earnest. Probably has to do with the ratio of brood to queen pheromones.
    Last edited by JBJ; 12-17-2013 at 10:48 AM. Reason: typo & clarification
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    John, what an interesting study. I've heard and read, particularly in old books that queens need to develop their egglaying behavior longer, but it;s nice to see scientific support.


    Costs to the beekeeper when requeening increase
    substantially when an introduced queen bee fails
    to be accepted or is superseded a short time
    after being accepted
    I'm just a beginner, but I've already seen that. A package, after all, is bees and an introduced queen, and my first and only package superceded and eventually went laying worker. It took 6 frames of brood from a big strong hive to save it, and in retrospect, it might not have been worth the expenditure of resources. On the other hand, it's now my strongest hive, so who knows.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
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    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    The trick is to have a mating nuc that is big enough that the queen can be thoroughly vetted and matured in, but small enough that one is not risking too much resources on a cell that may or may not mate. If they grow too big during the process (which can be a nice problem to have)they can be simply be pared down to size by removing brood/resources to start more hives or balance out any dinks.

    I do think a longer pick cycle results in better queens. By 30 days any sub par queens usually start to supercede and can be pinched and the good queens will have matured substantially more than the traditional commercial as fast as you can turn them out cycle(about 2 weeks). That being said I wouldn't wait any longer than one has to for an initial hatch assessment and possible re-cell on problem units.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    I don't think there is the perfect nuc. Every configuration has some bad point.

    However I think 4 way 2 deep frame nucs are particularly bad.

    Depending how big you want to go, 3 way deeps with 3 frame nucs are an option that mean no different sized frames or boxes, and they all share the heat in winter mine are permanent I winter them all.

    Other plus is there is room for the queen to lay without absconding long as they don't get packed out with honey. During the season each time I cage I pull 2 frames and replace with foundation and just leave them one frame of brood with a cell. That stops them getting too strong.

    The minus is it can be surprisingly time consuming finding the queens in these nucs.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: The self-sustaining mating yard

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    they all share the heat in winter mine are permanent I winter them all.
    What is your winter survival rate like?

    I dabbled in overwintering mating nucs a couple of years ago, and concluded that it was more work than it was worth. But i might have been too hasty to judge.

    My 4 frame mediums at that time had about a 50% survival rate and needed very early management because of overcrowding. But with hindsight those two facts might almost cancel each other out if the cards were played right.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

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