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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    I can only post my experience of queen rearing from grafts and from splits for one year. Queen rearing takes a lot of time and resources. I can't see how you would want to make queens, *while confirming they are all well mated* confirm capped brood etc., when you could when you could sell nucs instead. Rarely did I have a situation where I wanted to sell a confirmed mated queen only and not the entire nuc. To confirm my queens mated status I always waited to see new eggs and capped worker brood from those eggs. This takes up valuable time and space in an apiary. I also just left them in the nucs until I sold or needed them so they could keep laying.

    I am certain I will buy queens here and there over the years. However the queens I was able to produce on my on, on a small scale, seemed to be larger, better mated, and rearing to go out of the very few that I have bought. The biggest thing you are able to control about your own queens is... culling out the lower third of "dinks". From a queen rearing perspective it would be much easier to just send a queen and replace if it didn't work out.

    I am sure there are lots of good queen breeders out there though - I have only enjoyed focused queen rearing for one season.

    going with local breeders is a good idea, but part of my management is centered on introducing varied genetics to the area. That means adding in a couple new queens from various locations each year.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    A trained eye can easily tell the difference between good eggs and infertile eggs long before they are capped over. If anything, an early caging may result in a few good queens getting discarded because occasionally there is a bit of a learning curve for a new queen with the first eggs being infertile followed by a nice pattern of fertile eggs.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    A trained eye can easily tell the difference between good eggs and infertile eggs long before they are capped over. If anything, an early caging may result in a few good queens getting discarded because occasionally there is a bit of a learning curve for a new queen with the first eggs being infertile followed by a nice pattern of fertile eggs.
    do you mean the comb placement or pattern of the eggs or the actual look of the eggs (fertile/nonfertile)? I haven't heard about this before, please do tell.


    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    If anything, an early caging may result in a few good queens getting discarded because occasionally there is a bit of a learning curve for a new queen with the first eggs being infertile followed by a nice pattern of fertile eggs.
    this is why I always waited to see capped brood.

    Thanks

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelosopher View Post
    I can only post my experience of queen rearing from grafts and from splits for one year. Queen rearing takes a lot of time and resources. I can't see how you would want to make queens, *while confirming they are all well mated* confirm capped brood etc., when you could when you could sell nucs instead. Rarely did I have a situation where I wanted to sell a confirmed mated queen only and not the entire nuc. To confirm my queens mated status I always waited to see new eggs and capped worker brood from those eggs. This takes up valuable time and space in an apiary. I also just left them in the nucs until I sold or needed them so they could keep laying.

    I am certain I will buy queens here and there over the years. However the queens I was able to produce on my on, on a small scale, seemed to be larger, better mated, and rearing to go out of the very few that I have bought. The biggest thing you are able to control about your own queens is... culling out the lower third of "dinks". From a queen rearing perspective it would be much easier to just send a queen and replace if it didn't work out.

    I am sure there are lots of good queen breeders out there though - I have only enjoyed focused queen rearing for one season.

    going with local breeders is a good idea, but part of my management is centered on introducing varied genetics to the area. That means adding in a couple new queens from various locations each year.
    "I can't see how you would want to make queens, *while confirming they are all well mated* confirm capped brood etc., when you could when you could sell nucs instead."

    It's thousands of queens and queen cells they are selling, while using the nucs over and over again.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    The suppliers of mated queens are producing large numbers of queens so how do they get them all mated and how do they tell before they sell them? I suspect that the suppliers of packages are not producing all the queens for the packages that they sell so how would they know the quality of the mated queen that they send with the package?
    mated queen who can tell.
    One of the limitations of Practicing non-intervention beekeeping is the inability to distinguish a properly laying mated queen from a non laying or drone laying queen after practicing non intervention beekeeping for 3-4 years.

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    A trained eye can easily tell the difference between good eggs and infertile eggs long before they are capped over.
    Huh? How? I can tell the difference between a drone layer and good queen, but not between a "good egg and an infertile egg."
    Last edited by snl; 01-06-2015 at 08:56 AM.
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  8. #27
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    "I can't see how you would want to make queens, *while confirming they are all well mated* confirm capped brood etc., when you could when you could sell nucs instead."

    It's thousands of queens and queen cells they are selling, while using the nucs over and over again.
    How many queens do you produce each year? I would be curious to know what a typical queen rearer needs to produce to be successful.

    For my climate I emphasize the word *want*

    At about 67% successful mating rate (which can be generous), you would need a lot of nucs and constant year round breeding to produce that many confirmed mated queens. I am not saying it isn't possible. I am saying, nucs seem to be easier money for the workload in my climate. I am sure as you scale up you get some economy to that scale, hopefully outweighing the negatives.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Note that this thread is {nominally} about LARGE queen rearing operations. I haven't been to Clyderoad's apiary, but I don't believe he was referring to himself.

    Here is the website of a Large queen rearing operation:
    http://www.ohbees.com/about-us.php#Q

    Note the references to thousand of acres of clover and mustard cover crops, climate-controlled tractor trailers for delivering packages, etc. That is a large queen rearing operation.
    Graham
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  10. #29
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by Bees of SC View Post
    snl,think about it. If you buy local you know where she came from and if you have problem you can get help. I'm not saying don't buy from another state, just buy local. You will usually get a phone # and email that works or you can go back for help.. Thats the way I do it..JMO
    This is fine....until you are looking for specific genetics to upgrade your stock. Sometimes to get a really fine queen (think Glenn queen, for example), you have no choice but to buy from a distance. If the breeder has the reputation for fine queens, that reputation is important to him and he will do his best by you.

    JMO

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper and Rusty's Bees.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelosopher View Post
    How many queens do you produce each year? I would be curious to know what a typical queen rearer needs to produce to be successful.

    For my climate I emphasize the word *want*

    At about 67% successful mating rate (which can be generous), you would need a lot of nucs and constant year round breeding to produce that many confirmed mated queens. I am not saying it isn't possible. I am saying, nucs seem to be easier money for the workload in my climate. I am sure as you scale up you get some economy to that scale, hopefully outweighing the negatives.
    I am refering to the big queen producers- "It's thousands of queens and queen cells they are selling, while using the nucs over and over again."
    I produce between 100 - 150 queens each year for myself and to sell.

    take a look at the Olivarez Honey Bee operation to get an idea of the scale in which these guys operate.

    I do not think there is a "typical" queen rearer.


    (missed your post Rader) so I guess I'm saying what Rader said

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Although the links that Clyde and I provided don't seem to indicate from the link/URL text that they are the same, they both are to sites about the Olivarez Bee/Queen facilities.




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    Graham
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  13. #32
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Thanks Rader


    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    This is fine....until you are looking for specific genetics to upgrade your stock. Sometimes to get a really fine queen (think Glenn queen, for example), you have no choice but to buy from a distance. If the breeder has the reputation for fine queens, that reputation is important to him and he will do his best by you.

    JMO

    Rusty
    +1


    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    I am refering to the big queen producers- "It's thousands of queens and queen cells they are selling, while using the nucs over and over again."
    I produce between 100 - 150 queens each year for myself and to sell.

    take a look at the Olivarez Honey Bee operation to get an idea of the scale in which these guys operate.

    I do not think there is a "typical" queen rearer.


    (missed your post Rader) so I guess I'm saying what Rader said
    So with your 100 to 150 queens, are you selling just the queens or as nucs? If you have the chance to sell a nuc or a mated queen, which way do you lean? Are you rearing and then banking?

    I know I could rear a lot more queens than I did, and maybe sell them all. Truth is I really love rearing queens by grafting and by notching and raising the bees. I just wonder at what number the quality will slip for me personally. For me that is when I have so many hives I can't recall which ones are which - that means for me I will enjoy a smaller apiary.

    I have seen quite a few local guys make attempts to ramp up after some success and they hit a wall - I believe it was due to over taxing their apiary locations with too many hives. To rear lots of queens you need lots of bees, to keep lots of bees you need lots of forage. I think this is where mass queen rearing gets tough unless you are dedicated to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    Huh? How? I can tell the difference between a drone layer and good queen, but not between a "good egg and an infertile egg."
    Me too!

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Some queen guys pick their queens pretty early. Certainly some virgins get missed in the process. But chances are if she is laying she has mated. It seems like an unmated queen takes a while before she starts laying, and then it will be all drones. If you talk to your queen producers, you might find some who leave their queens in the nucs a little longer, for example until there is capped brood. This helps evaluate a little better. It also gives her time to fully develop her smell (pheremones), which might give them a better chance at being accepted.
    Often it dos take them a bit of practice before they start laying a good pattern. Multiple eggs in cells, scattered drone brood... But then they clean up and get on it.

    Usually you can spot a virgin by size and behavior. Right after hatching they are huge and pumped full of air. Then they shrink down and run all over the place making alot of noise (piping). The Piping stops after they figure out they are the only one home. They will slow down too, but if they are provoked start running again, also prone to fly. After she has mated, she plumps up considerably (assuming good food), and slows down her movements.

    The only sure 100% ways to tell a mated queen from a virgin that I know of are:
    1. You saw her shortly after a mating flight with the mating sign still stuck in her (i have never seen this but I am sure its possible).
    2. She is laying a nice pattern of worker brood
    3. You hold her in one hand, with fingernails of your other hand, pull off the last two segments of abdomen. Roll the goop around in your fingers and eventually you will find the spermatheca, a tiny fairly hard orb (about sandgrain size). If it is crystal clear, shes a virgin. If it is thick milky white, she is mated. If it is somewhat clearish opaque white, she was either poorly mated, or she is an old queen towards the end of her rope. Of course, after this experience, you no longer have a mated queen.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by ApricotApiaries View Post
    It also gives her time to fully develop her smell (pheremones), which might give them a better chance at being accepted.
    although my comments are off topic; I have noticed that bought from far away queens, in my anecdotal experience, have a much higher rate of supercedure than the ones I raised on my own this year. That impacts hive development significantly if you don't give them a bee bomb (borrowed frame of capped brood from a donor hive).

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    The suppliers of mated queens are producing large numbers of queens so how do they get them all mated and how do they tell before they sell them? I suspect that the suppliers of packages are not producing all the queens for the packages that they sell so how would they know the quality of the mated queen that they send with the package?
    To answer Brians question a little more directly. Large queen mating operations work on a pretty strict calendar though some delays can be made in check back schedule in poor mating weather. A large mating yard (like the Olivarez operation) ideally will be checked after queens have been laying 4 to 5 days to allow for population maintenance in the nucs. At that point it is much easier to observe both the pattern and also if the eggs are developing normally into the larval stage. Queens producing odd patterns particularly if the larvae has an overly "milky" appearance, should be discarded and the nuc rebuilt with some fertile eggs as it is highly inefficient to allow a small percentage of nucs in the yard to get out of sequence with the majority. Sure, there are gray areas and some tough calls but my rule is if there is doubt then it's probably bad and proceed accordingly. Perhaps it's just one of those things that is more easily shown than described and requires a bit of experience. Mating success is typically somewhere in the 80+% range. Under 80 is disappointing and 90%+ is pretty rarified air and rarely achieved.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    One of the limitations of Practicing non-intervention beekeeping is the inability to distinguish a properly laying mated queen from a non laying or drone laying queen after practicing non intervention beekeeping for 3-4 years.
    Funny, I have never found that as a limitation. Non laying or drone laying queens result is short lived colonies. So far the only intervention method that would limit me from determining a mated queen is the one suggestion of ripping the queen apart and looking at the spermatheca. I can find worker brood very easily.

    Thanks for all that commented. I thought I might try a package but I think that is a bad idea for me.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Under 80 is disappointing and 90%+ is pretty rarified air and rarely achieved.
    This is why I like splits so much for an apiary of just 3 hives. If you split 3 hives you are just about guaranteed to end up with 5 hives and if you have 30% overwinter losses you end up with the same 3 hives you started with.
    Brian Cardinal
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  19. #38
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    ......Queens producing odd patterns particularly if the larvae has an overly "milky" appearance, should be discarded and the nuc rebuilt with some fertile eggs....
    Okay Jim, you have our attention here. Please help us understand the significance of 'milky' larva and the effect it has a mating NUC or good sized hive. Keith Jarrett advocates plenty of bee milk is a sign of well nourished larva. Must be a gap in my education. TIA
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    Okay Jim, you have our attention here. Please help us understand the significance of 'milky' larva and the effect it has a mating NUC or good sized hive. Keith Jarrett advocates plenty of bee milk is a sign of well nourished larva. Must be a gap in my education. TIA
    The "milky" appearance I am describing is wholly different than the appearance of normal worker larvae in a pool of jelly. They result from eggs deposited either by a poorly mated queen or simply a laying worker. Until I can come up with a picture you are just going to have to go with my inadequate description.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Mated Queen who can tell

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