Inspecting mating nucs
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Seattle WA
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    Default Inspecting mating nucs

    I have mating nucs where the queens hatched out about 10 days ago. Is it OK to inspect them to see if she has returned from the mating flight? If yes, would it also be OK to mark her at that time or, should I wait until she has started laying?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    From the time the cell is planted I don't come back till 20-21 days later. I'd wait personally.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    If you are planning to use the queens to requeen another hive, how long do you wait to pull her from the mating nuc?

  5. #4
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    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    On the day 20-21 you see above mark and cage and use add next cell. I prefer to mark and cage on day 20 and add new cell next day, but both can be done same day if needed.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    hehe, ask two beekeepers.....

    I plant cells in mating nucs on Saturday, they are sheduled to emerge on Monday. I check on Tuesday or Wednesday to verify they emerged. Those that didn't work out, get a fresh cell the following Saturday. My mating nucs are in the lot behind the house, so, convenient access, I probably disturb them to much. I've not had problems checking in on them 10 days or so after they emerge, often find eggs by that time.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Franklin, Ma
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    I have had a few queens fly away when checking before the 3 week mark. I now wait the 21 days.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by AAIndigo View Post
    I have had a few queens fly away when checking before the 3 week mark. I now wait the 21 days.
    Was the queen laying and then flew away? If so, how much empty comb was remaining?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Franklin, Ma
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    231

    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeguppy View Post
    Was the queen laying and then flew away? If so, how much empty comb was remaining?
    Mostly just started laying so still ready to fly. I run 2 deep mating nucs.

  10. #9
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    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    AAIndigo, foundation or comb? I'm wondering why they flew away. When mine have absconded, there was a reason such as hurricane flooded the nuc. I pop the lids all the time and haven't had that as a reason. knock on wood.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  11. #10
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    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    hehe, ask two beekeepers.....

    I plant cells in mating nucs on Saturday, they are sheduled to emerge on Monday. I check on Tuesday or Wednesday to verify they emerged. Those that didn't work out, get a fresh cell the following Saturday. My mating nucs are in the lot behind the house, so, convenient access, I probably disturb them to much. I've not had problems checking in on them 10 days or so after they emerge, often find eggs by that time.
    Very similar to how I do it.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  12. #11
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    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Very similar to how I do it.
    Agreed. I like to know if they hatched. No use in wasting all that extra time and getting laying workers if they don't hatch.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    Today is Tuesday, I popped lids on the mating nucs that got cells on Saturday. 5 out of 6 I found a virgin queen walking on one of the frames. Didn't find her in the 6th, but it has a LOT of bees too, it's a colony that wintered in that quadrant of the 4 way and rather plugged with bees. I'll look again on Saturday when it's time to plant more cells, going to split that one and populate another quadrant in a new 4 way with some of those bees.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Frankfort, Ohio
    Posts
    899

    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    I often have queens laying 9 to 10 after installing a ripe queen cell. Pulling mated queens between day 14 and 21 after cell is installed is no problem.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jospehine County, Oregon
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    261

    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    we always wait about 21-30 days, gives the queen time to lay and allow the bees to cap brood.
    if it's a dud the nucs get either a new qc or recombined depending upon the tie of the season.
    sometimes we let her go longer so we can check her laying pattern.

    you should do as you feel best.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    hehe, ask two beekeepers.....

    I plant cells in mating nucs on Saturday, they are sheduled to emerge on Monday. I check on Tuesday or Wednesday to verify they emerged. Those that didn't work out, get a fresh cell the following Saturday. My mating nucs are in the lot behind the house, so, convenient access, I probably disturb them to much. I've not had problems checking in on them 10 days or so after they emerge, often find eggs by that time.
    This is more-or-less what I do. I do the cell re-check and then will check them as I can after that. But not on a schedule necessarily.
    I usually try to wait two weeks after emergence just because there's a greater percentage laying by that point.

    One twist is I usually have a handful of cells left after placement and sales that I let emerge in the incubator. If they emerge Monday and I check Wednesday... I bring virgin queens and honey water with me. Do virgin intros that way and it works pretty darn well most of the time.

    I've not once had a viable queen fly. I had one that was well past her laying date fly off of a comb once. But that was it. For reference I raise 100-150 queens or so a year. Not saying it will never happen, I am sure it will. But I wonder what kind of bee behavior on the combs is evident in people who have a lot of queen flight from combs in mating nucs.

    Re: when to pull the queen. I'm pretty comfortable pulling them once I see a good pattern. The way I run mating nucs, the first batch can pretty safely lay for three weeks without pulling her. But as the year goes on if I leave them for three weeks to lay they start getting really swarmy (2x deep frame nucs mostly).

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Southwest CO
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    45

    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    JWCarlson, can you explain the significance of the honey water? I'm thinking you spray the bees with it prior to virgin introduction? What is your virgin intro process? thanks
    RMH

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky Mt High View Post
    JWCarlson, can you explain the significance of the honey water? I'm thinking you spray the bees with it prior to virgin introduction? What is your virgin intro process? thanks
    RMH
    I just dunk her in it and put her on the combs. Seems to work well. This is as young a virgin as possible, mind you.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
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    1,394

    Default Re: Inspecting mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    I just dunk her in it and put her on the combs. Seems to work well. This is as young a virgin as possible, mind you.
    Agreed
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

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