Re: My Steps to become a Commercial Beekeeper - Needing Critique
I started this spring with 12 production colonies and 10 nucs.
Originally Posted by Specialkayme
1. I would not put all frames of brood in a mating nuc. I would spread 105 frame of brood out among 105 2 frame compartments. This is pretty close to exactly what I did this past April and May. nearly 300 cells. nearly 40 virgins sold of the remainder that emerged around 96 virgins queens went into mating compartments.
2. Last year my first attempt at queen rearing got exactly 50% mated queens. this spring it was far worse. 100% losses for the first two weeks. so far no one has come up with a definitive answer as to why that happened. we then increased to near 50% but never got quite that good. In all we had around 40 mated queens from it all. Since then we have sold 12 of those along with 5 nucs. and still have 18 nucs in the works. In the past few days we have set up quite a few queenless nucs and given them brood. the result has been the production of an additional 52 queen cells. Most of the original production colonies have been moved to an outyard and are reaching honey production strength.
3. Out of brood as the mated queen begins to lay is pretty much what I want. the bees have emerged giving the compartment the population needed to tend to the new queens brood. empty comb gives her room to lay. To me it is not just about making a box full of bees. but developing a strong queen. Ample room to develop as a layer is something I want to see.
4. Not sure I get your point here. Btu if you intended to make 35 nucs it seems to me you would be prepared with the equipment to do so. I also tend to be running into this myself though. My intent is to end the year with 207 colonies. Doing so requires selling the first of the year nucs. I am also capable of gettign creative on how to come up with the nucs. so far I could manage to make up about 100 of the necessary 150 or so. In short I can make as many as 200 2 frame mating compartments in 10 frame deeps. as those 50% of the queens return mated those same nucs are made into 4 frame nuc compartments. This gives me 100 nucs to keep the mated queens in. We also had 40 nucs made up and ready at the start of the season. Many of those are full now.
5. Have not had the actual results as of yet. My original colonies produced queen cells during the flow. their bees where used to stock mating compartments and they where then moved to an outyard. they have spent the past 3 to 4 weeks building back up for the flow. we are a bit late on the flow by about 2 weeks but they are all now back up to strength. we are also in a drought so that will play a part in just how much honey they make. but they have the population to do so if the nectar is available.
6. In my third year and I have yet to see any drastic fluctuation in colony numbers. this past spring was the only reduction I have seen and it was temporary. As in only a couple of weeks. we went form 23 colonies in January to 20 for a couple of weeks in May. Losses due to Swarming or robbing.
Year 1 from one colony to 4 no losses. Year two from 4 colonies to 23 including all nucs no losses.
Year 3 so far started with 23 and are now at 52 and building. Total number of hives does change day to day due to making new ones and selling some.
Originally my plan was to produce 125 mated queens sell 85 of them as queens and produce and sell 40 nucs. We are no longer anywhere near that plan but still moving forward.
I have to agree with the weak colonies getting robbed comments. We lost 5 nucs to robbing shortly after giving them mated queens. We are working on measures to prevent that. Mainly not keepign strong hives near weak ones for now. Robber screens etc.
I am doing a lot of reading on how to improve out mated queen success and how to get the nucs to build up faster. One result was we sold 12 mated queens and combined those nucs to get them stronger. IT has helped but has been to soon for that brood to emerge yet.
Our final attempt at build up will come from a combination of all nucs we mange to produce now and the production colonies after the flow is over.
In the end one way or the other increase is going to cost us. We will have to feed all of these nucs at the very least. There is also the cost of the equipment. but these costs are far lower than purchasing packages or nucs next spring. Plus we are learning along the way. Buying nucs will never teach us how to rear our own queens and make up our own nucs.
Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.