Re: Making Increase Without False Readings of Resistance
I don't really care if either of you ever get along but I am sick of listening to your personal bickering with each other. take it private.
As for the subject. Mike sounds like he is doing a lot of what I am doing. I am interested in what the learning curve is supposedly going to be. I could write out in very long detail exactly what I plan to do. ti is based upon what I have done int eh past what the bees had shown me they are capable of. In fact I see it more a more of my ability to keep up with the bees rather one of if the bees are capable of such production.
From swarm cell to mating nuc to nuc to full size colony.
I agree there is a problem with numbers of bees at the swarm cell to mating nuc junction. What is missing for me is that most simple comments treat it as if bee numbers are a static figure.
You have 1 colony with one queen with 100,000 built up strong for the flow. But first they will attempt to swarm. This population is then broken down and each swarm cell is given enough bees to populate a mating nuc. The numbers I have been working with are 19 cells and one original queen for a total of 20 compartments to keep queens in. Real numbers from my hives last year.
In two frame mating compartments this requires 40 frames from each hive to populate the compartments. I am not saying that it is easy or 100% reliable but a colony can be built up to 40 frames prior to swarm season. I have 2 that are 50 frames as of now. 4 that are 40 frames and will likely to be 50 before swarming commences. 6 that are 20 frames and less likely to attempt to swarm. Two of those 20 frame hives tarted this season as 5 over 5 nucs. In addition I have 7 5 over 5 or 5 frame three boxes tall nucs. Notice my building up of this plan and it's necessary support began nearly a year ago. It is not accident I have what I have by any means.
Anyway so I have 12 colonies that are likely to swarm for a total of 240 cells. This requires 480 frames of bees cells pollen honey etc to house these queens or cells in. My apiary currently have over 500 drawn frames in it.
So here I set with 13 4 compartment queen castles. 515 fraems to search through for queen cells waiting for it all to begin.
1. I wish I had double the queen castles as of right now. I have a plan to get them made but it is a very nip and tuck plan.
2. What I have come to call the cell watch is far to time consuming and labor intensive to be considered anything standard by anyone. Way to much work but I want to see if my idea works.
Due to number two above I have also started a cell builder per Micheal Palmer's method and in the process of making my first 45 grafts for the season. By simple chance encounters with other beekeepers I have nearly all of them sold and the larva have not even been grafted yet. This will account for the combined total of cells expected from two full size colonies. It is far more controllable and eliminates the time needed to search for swarm cells. It will break down the colony to a level there is no chance they will swarm but increases the chance they will abscond.
Up to this point these are things that are in fact a reality they have been done. So at this point it is about speculation and anticipated results. Numbers are based upon actual results from last year.
Only half of all swarm cells will result in a mated queen. this means as soon as any queen is confirmed mated (21 days after emergence) The fraems will be available to transfer her to a 5 frame nuc with 4 fully drawn fraems and one empty frame. These bees will act very much like a swarm. and this is where I have a problem with the static anticipation. In short I now have 1o queen in 10 colonies producing increase. Not only that but in the hyper state of growth commonly mentioned by almost any beekeeper. These nucs can and do (again reality as my nucs have done it) double in size in less than 30 days. Due to this expansion from 4 to 8 drawn fraems all of these nucs will be capable of returning the full number of fraems to there parent colonies.
Now I agree there is some huge questions as to how this restoration of parent colonies will actually work out. But to me it has never been a question of loosing anything. what do you loose if you move two frames of bees to a mating nuc? you still have the bees. you still have the frames. you are adding a queen. You just gave bees that are setting around waiting to swarm sometime else to do. And in 3 weeks you will have another producing queen in the mix.
If started just prior to the natural swarming of the colonies this 4 week window falls right during swarm season.
I realize there are questions about the productivity of the nucs. the issue of lost queens to mating flights. the danger of loosing bees and queens to absconding. and many many unforeseeable reasons that even mated queens in nucs will simply not produce enough to return anything to a parent colony. This at most puts at risk an estimated 1000 lb honey harvest. But produces a possible 120 or more colonies.
As for the success rate at starting and keeping nucs this way. I have done it. 10 over wintered nucs from last summer. The nucs work even at the worst of times. I have little concern they will do as expected to a high percentage of success.
What I am interested in is the details that would be concealed in a simple statement such as "a big learning curve is in order" Mainly I am interested in exact details of actual results from anyone that has actually done something like this.
I find such a plan is actually consistent with methods of increase as old as the 1800's. I have not found the details that restores the parent colony and this is what concerns me the most. This is how I see the entire plan fits hand in glove with the events that bees will be engaged in naturally.
1. Swarm period. 4 to 6 week period that bees woudl bee reducing their numbers in an attempt at increase. This involves increasing anywhere form one to multiple new colonies.
My idea does nothing more than what the bees would do on their own. the only difference is in the degree of numbers of increase. If a colony is made quenless cell production can be controlled to some degree and anticipated. This doubling the impulse under which cells are produced. Swarming and Emegency impulse.
Control of when cells are produced is advantageous in that it should be early in the swarm period if not Just prior to it. This giving all virgin queens the entire 4 to 6 week period to mate and start producing brood.
It takes 3 weeks for a virgin to mate and be laying at most. this requires 3 of the minimum 4 weeks of the swarm period.
Post swarming there is a well known lull in activity before bees start foraging and making honey. This provides the newly mated queen 3 full weeks minimum to produce 4 frames of brood to return to her parent colony. It is estimated it will take this queen 4 weeks to accomplish that. this means that if the swarm period is in fact only 4 weeks she will be a week late in restoring her share of the parent colony. If the swarm period is 6 weeks she will have an additional week to accomplish this task.
In short where do the bees come from to make increase? from the increased queens ultimately.
This does not take into account that the original queen has been in her own nuc restoring her own population for the entire duration of the swarm period. Acting as a swarm in doing so increasing at an accelerated rate she may very well be superseded during this time.
Swarm impulse is not prevented it is satisfied.
The task of producing the population that is expected to make a honey harvest no longer falls on one queen but is shared by 10.
According to Michael Palmer with a bit of alteration to his numbers. a single parent colony supported by 10 nucleus colonies is how you make what I have come to call Super colonies that not only are used as cell builders but produce honey crops in the process. I have little doubt that what Micheal teaches is reliable. I may simply see a slightly different way to use it. I am not looking to make cell builders. I am looking to make honey producers. Not much more than a multiple queen hive idea just far more queens per hive than is typically considered. As for build up of the nucs. that is what next spring is for.
Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.