Re: Bigger IS better for mating nucs - or so the numbers seem to indicate...
In actual Numbers concerning "Ingredients". Since that is pretty much exactly what I am trying to maximize production with.
Originally Posted by kilocharlie
At the end of last year the things we had the least of was equipment of any kind. 12 colonies and 10 nucs and that was all the equipment we owned.
Over the winter we used money form honey sales to purchase 50 additional deep boxes and I think 60, possibly more Medium boxes. and that was form selling honey from just 4 production colonies we started with last year. Nucs swarms added during swarm season added a tiny bit to that honey count.
So by the time queen cells where being produced this year we had equipment to no only expand 12 full size colonies and the 10 nucs we where ready to make as many as 200 mating compartments. Most of the nuc production went to a cell builder early in the season.
I estimated 19 cells per full size colony (Times 12) and on average 5 cells per nuc for adn additional 50 cells. Grand total of my estimate 278. We also made an additional 32 cells by grafting that I had not included in my estimate of natural cells for a total of 301 cells from all sources. In actuality we got 282. Some where lost in attempting to cut them from fraems or the count would have been slightly higher.
So now altering numbers to a 75% rate at each step. Would mean 212 virgins emerge. This would be 12 more queens than we where prepared to manage. IN reality this woudl not be a problem. Because by the 75% one quarter of these virgins are going to be lost upon introduction. My method spread the emergence out over as much as two to three weeks so restocking compartments is possible when necessary.
Not only that but in our case we sold some virgins reducing the number needing to be housed in the first place.
In comparison our actual emergence number was 60%. with 32 of those virgins sold as virgins.
As for introduced virgins I think we ended up somewhere in the neighbor hood of 40% of those mated. Final result was 40 or so mated queens in all.
But with no sale of virgins and a 75% mating success rate on 212 virgins would be 159 mated queens.
At that time we had 40 nuc boxes waiting and could convert mating compartments to 100 more. In reality the sale of nucs, virigns queens and mated queens made it possible to purchase even more equipment. which we are int eh process of looking at now. that was the reason to produce these queens. to be sold so we could get ready for our increase production.
Basically what i see you describing is increasing and management with no planning. Anyone can out produce themselves. it is production with preparedness that needs to be encouraged.
Last year was our year to increase without equipment. and I even said that the biggest limiting factor to increase was equipment. I still see it that way just not to as large a degree. This year has been far more about failure to get queens reared than equipment. we have the equipment and are able to get even more. The queens are not getting produced in anywhere near the numbers we are looking for.
We where and are prepared equipment wise for a 9 fold increase of our apiary. the bees are not getting it done. As a result we have busted our tails to make up for the short coming. And we are still prepared. The bees are attempting round two at this moment. I a thinking we will sacrifice any honey production for this year. but then I don't expect much in the way of honey this year. If I loose that income I may be looking far more seriously at getting bees to Almonds this winter.
Anyway I understand your point and have lived in it. but it is correctable. It is a management issue not a production issue. Only recently have I heard anyone mention we are dunning out of equipment. and that is bottom boards. You can in fact make hives without bottom boards so I do not consider it critical. By the way I had not planned to have addition of full size hives that would need bottom boards. these hives came from swarms that require full size equipment. As far as my planned increase. we have had all the equipment needed when needed so far. I was nto goign to do a repeat of last year.
And final assessment. it was not easy. Not by far. It took planning. accurate estimates and discipline.
Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)