Follow up question; Is supression from lack of space or lack of bees to rear brood?
It's my understanding that it comes from lack of laying eggs aka space.... That's why people are always a little leery of banked queens. They don't always start laying the way they were, prior to being banked.
I've never banked queens more than a couple days, so I can't personally say that it's similar.
Just what I have read...
I've left them in much longer and they adapt and hold, but that queen will have period of inactivity by the time the brood hatches and she once again has room. By then the nuc is too full of bees.
I like to take them out when there is lots of capped brood and few eggs. She lays it up quickly, then is stopped cold otherwise.
Kind of like when someone just drops in and makes you stop working to chat. You were working hard and were nice and warm in the cold weather. By the time they leave you have lost your momentum and are cold again. It's hard to get back to the efficiency you previously had. That's why I don't carry a cell phone
Does pulling frames of brood and replacing with empties keep the queen fresh or is that a better theory than practice?
Yes that both works, and is also how people with nucs can make more nucs. The timing is critical, it's best done just when the brood starts hatching, and the hatching brood is the ones you remove. That way the new nuc is quickly populated with young bees that will not drift back. Because all the other bees are older now, and will drift back.
The "Touch for moving frames around is something that took more than typical effort on my part. I started by attempting to brush bees from frames into empty undrawn comb. that did not work to the point it actually had my daughter in tears and the bees so mad we almost could not work them. we then abandoned half frame mini nucs and built 3 queen castles. We then moved frames of brood. This is when we discovered that it takes uncapped brood longer to develop and emerge than ti takes a virgin queen to mate and start laying. not a good combination when the virgin returns to find all capped cells. We then looked to move fraems that had mostly capped cells. this resulted in mated queens returning to a well populated hive with empty space to lay in. Now this may sound not so bad. but here are the numbers that might paint a little clearer picture of what this learning curve cost. over 120 emerged virgin queens to end up with 10 mated queens. In reality it was a process that we had to refine nearly every tiny detail to get it right. Queen rearing is one of the more difficult things I have attempted so far. but it is worth it. Keep in mind that whole drastic loss period was intended to be for learning. losses where expected. jut not that many. in the end we actually improved our success to 50% of our queens being mated and returning. we are still working on that. For now my biggest problem is that about the time I start gettign something worked out. I run out of equipment. Filling up hives is the least of my problems. room for the young mated queens is killing me. And then hives for them to expand into is threatening to bankrupt me.
It is not unusual for to much success to kill a new business. and so far that is what I am seeing with bees. Sooner or later I have to face that I must sell about 25% of my progress in order to keep going. I am to much of a straight ahead and never take a step back type.
I see myself very much in Laurie's position just on a much smaller scale. I also think a whole lot like she does. There are a lot of steps between an egg being layed and mated queen setting in a full size hive. and every one of them needs care and attention. do today what is needed for today. tomorrow will then have tended to itself. I do not spend a lot of time thinking about tomorrow because frankly I have no idea what tomorrow holds. I am better served honing my skill at how I do with this moment. when tomorrows moment gets here I am well practiced at handling it.
Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.
Last edited by Lauri; 01-27-2014 at 03:07 PM.
My big advantage was, I already had a one ton truck, trailer, tractor with fork lift and power tools. And the experience to use them efficiently. If I had to buy all that stuff just for beekeeping, there would be no way to do it out of pocket. With all these advantages, going the direction I am seems like a no brainer. I'd be foolish NOT to do it.
Otherwise if you are like me and had next to nothing with tools or $$ you have to grow and sell at the same time. It can be done but much slower process.
My own theory after seeing many borrow money and fail, is people should spend a bit of money on the initial set up, then expand using money the bees generate. That way if you don't make any money you don't expand. While this is happening work a day (or night) job.
At some point there comes a time where money has to be borrowed to set up an extracting plant. But this will be several years down the track and by then you will know if you are going to succeed, how much returns you can get per hive etc, makes it a much safer bet.
The ideal is to make your day job working for a commercial beekeeper. What you learn will be invaluable, build your own hives on the side.
Honey is actually a by-product for me at this point. It is how I am making my increases.
I am really surprised at how many commercial operations don't raise their own queens. Learning to rear quality queens right off the bat has given me a huge advantage of being extremely versatile in what product I choose to produce for that year. Honey, nucs, queens or increases. I just manage my bees well and choose the product of surplus de jour, depending on the weather, the economy and the demand. I'm not stuck producing a single product that may or may not be successful on a annual basis. Because my program is still on a small scale, I can get away with this versatility.
Unlike most people, I never got into it for the honey. But will have to 'deal' with the honey surplus at some point.
Last edited by Lauri; 01-27-2014 at 03:09 PM.
"I am really surprised at how many commercial operations don't raise their own queens."
Not sure if most of the commercial operations feel the need to be represented here...many of the large ones spend a month or so raising queens in between pollination. But they're not posting their schedule here for us. Many I've had contact with, large commercials, also have friends that are in queen rearing and swap resources, queens, genetics, etc...they seem to be helping each other, but without the need to post what they're doing. Every beekeeper finds what works for them. Some are in it for the honey, some for the money, and some for the bees. Everyone gets a choice.
True Brandy, I don't mean to have any comments about others..just some observations of some who DO post. Obviously, many commercials do raise queens. I was just suprised at the number who don't.
I think many post here to help out beginners as WE were helped in the past...not to critique the business practices of others.
Sorry if something I said was offensive.
Last edited by Lauri; 01-27-2014 at 03:35 PM.
It's about efficiency. A commercial beekeeper is there to turn as much money as possible from what he has. Queen raising can be at the time of year when he is already most busy. depending on his own schedule he may find a window or some opportunity presents to raise queens. But for some it is more efficient to focus on what they do best when they are stretched for time, and just buy the queens, or have some sharing arrangement as per Brandy.
Of the ones I know nearly all raise all of, or at least some of their queens but will also buy if that is the better option.
Emphasis "I think".
My own beginning investment was VERY small. I got into bees working for a commercial beekeeper as a teenager. Boss gave me one nuc, I bought some boxes, and it pretty much paid for itself from there. I've always focussed on intensive management and maximum returns from a small number of hives, far as my own bees go anyway.