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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Pleasant Shade, TN
    Posts
    444

    Default Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    I will hopefully be making increases this year as long as the bees make it through winter. So far, so good, knock on wood. All of my colonies have traits that I really like. However, I do have a favorite. How do YOU choose which colony to re queen from and what are the traits that you choose for from most favorable to least favorable. Do you only pick one colony, or a handful of your favorites? I'm just looking for some wisdom here since this is going to be an important step in my bee yard and will greatly influence the future of my success or failure. Thanks in advance.
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    You're more likely as or more experienced than I, so I will just relay what I am doing. I am also in the process of shaping my future apiary. One of my hives I have had my eye on for the past year to raise queens from, it is usually calm and very prolific, it starts early build up and seems to handle the pests as good as most of my hives.
    I have another hive that can at times be very defensive, although not to the point that I suspect Africanized blood, just kind of German black bee disposition. I have had it marked for re-queening (it is TF) until the other day in the early morning when I stood and watched them take about twenty five bright white larvae out of the hive in about five minutes, they took them far away from the hive like way out of sight. I researched the type larvae they were taking out and learned that they were more than likely mite damaged larvae. That Hive went to the top of my queen making list. Besides the two hives that are so different should mingle and give me some good bees down the road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    Since you have a favorite, pick that one. However, in the name of diversity, pick a few others. Pick them, so they closely resemble your favorite one. For example, if you have 3 hives in the running (very, very small sample), I would do 50% of the grafts from your favorite and then 25% each from the second and third place winners.

    Also, if you have any others that are doing good, I would not requeen them, but instead let them raise their own or make simple walkaway splits with them. In this way, the majority of the hives will be from your favorite, but you will have some diverse lines still going.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Pleasant Shade, TN
    Posts
    444

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    Quote Originally Posted by stan.vick View Post
    You're more likely as or more experienced than I
    On the contrary! I dabbled in it when I was a kid, but I let school get in the way. Sorry excuse I know, but there you have it. Thanks for the rundown.
    It gets interesting at this point when you have enough bees to "play" with.
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    I "pick" my favorites by the ones that don't try to kill me, have a large amount of bees with out swarming/making cells, put up excess honey, and survived the winter....

    I graft from those... So far it's worked okay... Ideally all of the hives would do that and I'd have to get pickier... but I'm not there yet.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Amador County, California, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    I just went out to my beeyard today and rethought my queen rearing plan. I plan on making 50% of my queens (hoping to make quite a few) from my strongest hive (not so "gentle", but very fast builders, queen lays excellent, and they overwinter nicely at 15-18 frames of bees right now, TF) and 50% from my oldest hive (almost 4 years old, survived 3 winters with me TF, and is doing good at 8 frames of bees right now).

    I'm planning on setting up a mating yard (away from other bees) those hives along with several other strong colonies I have at the moment.

    I'm not sure if I'll stay TF but at the moment all my bees are TF so I would like to breed only with TF bees to create some resistance.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Skull Valley, Az
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    Say: I'm wondering if queen cells might be viable thru mails. I see them offered at reasonable price--just don't know if they'd survive. I assume temps need to be stable....
    What do any think of this?
    Tom
    BBZZZZZ

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    Buz, that is a non-starter. Cells can indeed be shipped, but only in an incubator and only if they are in a very low vibration environment. Typical mail handling won't work. You can purchase virgin queens which will be shipped in standard queen shipping cages, but there are some negatives to using them.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    I select from all my hives:

    #1. The best queens will have some dud daughters.
    #2 The worst queens will produce some star daughters.
    #3. Selecting from only 1-2 good hives narrows your gene pool.

    The best outcomes result from diversification of your gene pool. Selective breeding from 1 or 2 hives results in all your queens being sisters and over a course of time you end up mating your queens with their own brothers. Spread out your mating yards, graft from all available hives, and spread out your mating areas by 5-10 miles and only 5 or so nucs per place and you will be on your way to a very diverse genetic pool and very localized bees.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,824

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    Dave Miksa ships cells successfully.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: Selecting Colony/Colonies for Increase

    Agree with Cam,

    Miksa ships thousands of cells... no incubators.. just a UPS box and bees to keep it warm....
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

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