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Thread: Mating queens

  1. #1
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    Default Mating queens

    How long do you guys schedule the queen's laying check in the mating nucs? Is it 20 days or 25 days? I'd like to keep all my mating nucs on the same rotation, so after a set number of days either accept and cage her or pinch her off, then add another cell.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    How long do you guys schedule the queen's laying check in the mating nucs? Is it 20 days or 25 days? I'd like to keep all my mating nucs on the same rotation, so after a set number of days either accept and cage her or pinch her off, then add another cell.
    3 weeks is a pretty good time frame to keep up the population of your nucs without the "danger" of a second catch queen laying. I'm sure you will hear lots of different numbers on this one.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    15 days is pretty good. I have found that if she has not starting laying after 15-18 days shes not going to be any good so pinch her off and add some more young bees if needed and a new cell. i also swap its location with one that's queen right.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by MNbees View Post
    15 days is pretty good. I have found that if she has not starting laying after 15-18 days shes not going to be any good so pinch her off and add some more young bees if needed and a new cell. i also swap its location with one that's queen right.
    Thats a smart tip, swapping locations to take advantage of the established hives field bees.

    G

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    I use Michael Palmer's 8 day method doubled, starts every 4 days, 5 sets of nucs gives me a 20 day rotation, just 1 day short of Mr. Lyon's 3 weeks.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Jim's suggestion of 3 weeks is a good time frame. Commercial queen producers using smaller nucs generally run a 16-18 day catch cycle after "planting" cells, depending on mating conditions. Are you using 5 frame deep nucs, or something smaller. The larger nucs seem to take a little longer during certain times of the year, but are definitely more stable and easier to manage.
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    After cells are in, 21 day check to make sure she has a good pattern, "proven queens". After that point it's just rense and repeat all season.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by JSL View Post
    Are you using 5 frame deep nucs, or something smaller.
    Im using smaller mating nucs.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    So another question,
    Typically I use nucs to mate queens, and usually let them build into their hives. I am thinking of using smaller units to rear queens which they will be used to requeen hives.
    Aside from a drone layer, how can you determine the laying quality from mini mating nucs?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    So another question,
    Typically I use nucs to mate queens, and usually let them build into their hives. I am thinking of using smaller units to rear queens which they will be used to requeen hives.
    Aside from a drone layer, how can you determine the laying quality from mini mating nucs?
    You shouldnt have much problem spotting a nice pattern even in a mini mating nuc if she has had the better part of a week to lay, but I do think you have touched on something important here Ian. Perhaps I am in a minority here but I just think its a better situation to confirm that you have a vigorous well mated queen when she has lots of room to lay and is allowed to do so for longer than just a few days before being caged and effectively "shut down". Even an experienced beekeeper can be fooled from time to time if you are a little early and dont see a lot of eggs. I read a lot of threads here on Beesource dedicated to figuring how to efficiently raise the maximum amount of queens possible with a minimum of resources. Personally I think folks would be better off splitting a deep hive body or even a medium hive body, give them plenty of room to lay and just accept the fact that you arent going to raise as many queens. Sure you can raise queens with in a pretty small nuc but it takes a fairly high degree of beekeeping skill, plenty of bees in reserve and the pitfalls are many.
    A tip of the hat to you Ian, anyone who can even think of raising queens during the busy harvest season has multi-tasking skills that far exceed mine.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    , anyone who can even think of raising queens during the busy harvest season has multi-tasking skills that far exceed mine.
    Yeah, But Jimmy, how many of us have to manage a 4 man barrel filling crew.

    Ian, remember most of our stock came from the forest of Germany, and they have plenty of wet weather.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    In the smaller nucs it is really only possible to determine if the queen is laying eggs. Queens can be left longer in the mini nucs to see sealed brood, but then you almost have to make room for the next round of queens to lay.

    In my opinion, it is more efficient to raise queens in a larger nuc IF you are keeping the queens in your operation. Jim is a sharp guy! There is a cost every time you handle and move a queen. I think the best queens and colonies are those that grow as a single unit. Even if you mate queens in a 3-5 deep nuc and then use the whole nuc to requeen, I think you come out ahead. If you are selling queens and it becomes all about the numbers then smaller units are certainly more profitable, most of the time.
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Kieth wrote:

    Ian, remember most of our stock came from the forest of Germany, and they have plenty of wet weather.

    Was he talking about the bees or the beekeepers?

    Crazy Roland

    P.S. I will get a slap on the knuckles nest time I go up by Sheri.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Mating queens

    I run a 21 day cycle and have 3 mating yards, one for each week. Smaller nucs do use less resources but are a pain to keep stocked/balanced perfect. Larger nucs are easier to maintain but require a lot more resources and a lot more time searching for queens. I like the 21 days cycle. It allows me to set a schedule and maintain it through queen rearing season. Every Friday set up cell builders, every Saturday I graft, every Tuesday cells are ready, etc.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    A tip of the hat to you Ian, anyone who can even think of raising queens during the busy harvest season has multi-tasking skills that far exceed mine.
    ha ha, well, it doesnt stop at beekeeping... lol
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post

    Ian, remember most of our stock came from the forest of Germany, and they have plenty of wet weather.
    Oh Keith, I must be tired because I have no idea what your talking about! lol
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Kieth wrote:

    Ian, remember most of our stock came from the forest of Germany, and they have plenty of wet weather.

    Was he talking about the bees or the beekeepers?

    Crazy Roland

    .
    CR, remember our bees we know today came from over the pond, where they have wet weather, so, give them plenty of time (3-4) weeks on check backs.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Ah, yes, that makes perfect sense now. Good point Keith! Love the feedback guys

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Were doing 20 days here in our five frame but it depends on weather. I like to see at least an egg in most cells, Catch them and requeen other hives. Drone layers usually have an egg here or there and usually take longer time to start laying. Nucs without laying qeen after three weeks get another cell. I like to stick the cell on the outside frame thick with honey. Squeeze her in and once she emerges healthy she usually ends up taking over. Towards fall I use the whole nuc to requeen. Other nucs are combined into some nice singles.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Mating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    most of our stock came from the forest of Germany, and they have plenty of wet weather.
    Keith you running those dark queens again?
    I requeened some of our hives with WSU Italian stock that was imported from Italy. I like the brood they make this time of year.

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