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Thread: Mating Nucs

  1. #81
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Yes queens in these small nucs will often mate faster than say a 4 deep frame nuc. But they also have a higher rate of supersedure and failure after they are sold. My personal theory is the queens in the small nucs feel more urgency so mate & start laying faster. But the queens in the larger nucs can take longer and get it done right, hence the better performance after they are sold.
    What would you consider to fast for a quality queen. as in days from introduction to sighting of first eggs?
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

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  3. #82
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    You should be seeing eggs around 13 days after intro of a ripe cell. Many large queen producers are caging maybe 3 days later partly because of schedule and partly because there isnt much laying room in a baby nuc. Personally, if you must cage them, I would allow them to lay for a week anyway. This is one of the problems associated with buying mated, caged queens. In my mind its just not natural for them to lay a few days, see them just starting to "puff up" and then caging them and assuming they will restart normally a week or more later.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #83
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    For me Daniel, fast would be what Jim just said. Apparently in say, California, with good weather plus the nuc types they use 2 weeks is pretty normal. For me, I use larger nucs & we get a lot of bad weather, so I'm expecting to find a laying queen, with MAYBE some of those eggs hatched 3 weeks after the cell went in. I won't cage for another 2 weeks (5 weeks total) or if the nuc is to be split or sold that will be in another week (6 weeks) once there is hatching brood.

    Many breeders will laugh at my slow schedule but solid results later down the line are worth it.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  5. #84
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    For me, I use larger nucs & we get a lot of bad weather, so I'm expecting to find a laying queen, with MAYBE some of those eggs hatched 3 weeks after the cell went in. I won't cage for another 2 weeks (5 weeks total) or if the nuc is to be split or sold that will be in another week (6 weeks) once there is hatching brood..
    Do you mind sharing what size nuc you use? Are they are standard 5 frame deeps?

    Thanks
    Started 9/13, building slowly, not trying the no treatment anymore

  6. #85
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    They are 3 frame deeps, ie, one standard deep super, with 2 dividers, which makes 3 x's 3 frame nucs.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  7. #86
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Many breeders will laugh at my slow schedule but solid results later down the line are worth it.
    They can laugh all they like. I am also trying to put together a schedule that produces better queens.

    Sounds like it take a lot of housing for them. I am trying to get ready for as many as 300 queens right now. Mostly in queen castles that will have 2 frame compartments.

    Do you think that will be adequate room to allow the new queens to lay for that long or do need to be ready to move them to larger nucs?

    I came to the number 300 because that is what I expect all of my hives combined could make in the way of swarm cells. Since all of that will happen in something like a 6 week period I am not counting on being able to cycle many of the queens out and placing another virgin with them.

    I have two incubators and will let all queens emerge in them once the cells are capped. Saves time in the mating nucs this way.

    Jim, you say 13 days from introduction of a Ripe cell. to me that means as much as 8 days until the virgin even emerges and then 5 days to the appearance of the first eggs. Is that correct? Seems really fast to me. I had a bunch of queens last year that if I did not give them three weeks from the time they where introduced I was missing a lot of them. As far as I can tell it was simply not enough time for them to show they where present and mated. Keep in mind that was introducing virgins to my full size hives that had become queenless. As a result of that I simply gave the queens I had in mating nucs 3 weeks as well but they seemed to be busting at the seams when I finally did move them. Maybe they did mate much faster out of those little compartments.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

  8. #87
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Oldtimer, Oops I just read your last post. that pretty much answers my question. Which is pretty much what I suspected it would be.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

  9. #88
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Daniel don't be in too much hurry to build a lot of 2 framers. They can be difficult for several reasons, if you do make them, do it in such a way it would be easy enough to rework them to 3 framers later if you wanted.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  10. #89
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Thanks Oldtimer. I still have not even made them. this year the ones I make will be temporary and I will be able to remove the dividers. the only difference to me in making them 3 frame rather than 2 is the number of boxes I need and the eventual number of frames. Hopefully I will sell most of these as mated queens or as nucs and use that money to make the permanent compartments.

    So far I am pretty set on whatever I make being full size frames. no more mini frame stuff to mess with. I like the Queen castle because it is compact. but have issue with the idea it may be loosing me queens. I am working on ideas how to limit that. but if I cannot get up to an 80% return on mating flights with the use of castles I will give them up. If I have to make hundreds of little 3 frame boxes. then so be it.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

  11. #90
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    For me Daniel, fast would be what Jim just said. Apparently in say, California, with good weather plus the nuc types they use 2 weeks is pretty normal. For me, I use larger nucs & we get a lot of bad weather, so I'm expecting to find a laying queen, with MAYBE some of those eggs hatched 3 weeks after the cell went in. I won't cage for another 2 weeks (5 weeks total) or if the nuc is to be split or sold that will be in another week (6 weeks) once there is hatching brood.

    Many breeders will laugh at my slow schedule but solid results later down the line are worth it.
    With these weather related delays are you still getting 80%+ catch success? Seems like your takes would suffer somewhat.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #91
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post

    I came to the number 300 because that is what I expect all of my hives combined could make in the way of swarm cells. Since all of that will happen in something like a 6 week period I am not counting on being able to cycle many of the queens out and placing another virgin with them.

    I have two incubators and will let all queens emerge in them once the cells are capped. Saves time in the mating nucs this way.

    Jim, you say 13 days from introduction of a Ripe cell. to me that means as much as 8 days until the virgin even emerges and then 5 days to the appearance of the first eggs. Is that correct? Seems really fast to me. I had a bunch of queens last year that if I did not give them three weeks from the time they where introduced I was missing a lot of them. As far as I can tell it was simply not enough time for them to show they where present and mated. Keep in mind that was introducing virgins to my full size hives that had become queenless. As a result of that I simply gave the queens I had in mating nucs 3 weeks as well but they seemed to be busting at the seams when I finally did move them. Maybe they did mate much faster out of those little compartments.
    The " ripe" cell would be expected to hatch within about a day. Typically it takes this newly hatched virgin about a week to be mature enough for mating flights and about another week for her to begin laying. It's pretty much universally accepted that if virgins are delayed in making their mating flights (primarily because of weather) that mating success drops off pretty dramatically after a week or so. I call it the "old maid" effect. Yes you can intro. live virgins if you wish and probably do fine but in my mind aside from seeing their physical coloration and confirming they have healthy looking wings there isn't a lot to be gained while you assume a certain risk in the handling and introduction. A determination of how good a queen is really can't be made until a good period after mating. For my part, I don't need to ever actually see the queen, just her handiwork.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #92
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    With these weather related delays are you still getting 80%+ catch success? Seems like your takes would suffer somewhat.
    A couple of years back 80% plus was common although I was OK with anything over 75%.

    Of more recent times average % has dropped markedly not just for me but for virtually all NZ breeders I have talked to, it is a much discussed topic on out local bee forum & nobody quite knows why. This is also going with perfectly normal looking queens failing after just a few months which used to be considered something that happens overseas, but not here.

    This season for me far as mating% goes has been lousy, don't know it exactly but probably something around 60% there has also been major problems with bees tearing cells down, which hardly ever used to happen. I have had some lab testing done and found what might be some answers, so hoping this year was a low point and things will improve with some different methods next season.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #93
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I am interested in other possible causes of a poor mating success. I have considered predation. we have dragon flies as well as Seagulls in this area. Gulls are quite capable of catching an object in flight. I am not sure of what other predators we might have to the Queens. I had not considered other Health or condition factors.

    Jim, that clears it up. I plan to be dealing with emerged virgins at first simply because I expect to be working with natural swarm cells. I will only graft if ti appears the bees will not produce enough cells to fill the equipment I am preparing. Later I will be doing some grafting so the date they emerge will be better known. I am building the Apiary from only the money the bees generate so it is difficult at this time. I expect that to be so for some time to come. Right now expansion is about as expensive as it can get. Purchasing materials from Home Improvement centers or ordering online in quantities that I am in their highest price bracket etc. I made or purchased 93 various boxes this winter. it is by far my largest single increase since starting with bees. It includes 12 new deeps to for the nucs I over wintered. 45 Mediums so that I now have at least 3 mediums for each of my 22 hives. 18 deep 5 frame nucs and 18 medium 5 frame nucs. I have additional nuc I made up from OSB late last summer that iwll be sold once they have built up. This is a total of 60 nuc boxes of one size or another.

    If this year is much like last year a lot of that equipment will get filled with swarms cut outs or trap outs long before it is needed for honey production. All the nucs will get filled from swarm cell queen production alone and 40 of them will then be sold. I am fairly certain I can get to those numbers without much problem. how far beyond that I can get I do not know but am getting prepared for as many as 250 queens.

    So far the quality of the queens I produced last year seems to be good. I know I still own all of them. and so far all of them have at least 2 frames of brood and strong populations except two. those two are in nucs and the population is low. I woudl not say they are going to die but they definitely are not thriving. Those two nucs may very well take an additional two queens that manage to get mated.

    I appreciate your comments. I am pretty much in a situation that i am attempting to maximize my production by utilizing every resource that I have at the moment. it is still not enough.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

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