Horrible mating numbers - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    .........., I can't see the size of any individual nuc mattering. She is going out and breeding with others in a different area so what does the home yard really matter? ...
    We can not see many things in this life.
    Sometimes obvious things.
    Just how it is....
    Unsure - you are talking of an individual colony size OR yard size? OR both?


    The nuc size maybe matters - this is just what the guys found in that particular trial.
    I don't know.
    Maybe someone has some complementing #s.
    OR otherwise.
    I never heard of such trials before.

    As far as the size of the yard?
    I don't know.
    But the logic suggests - the more confusing hives are standing around - the higher are the chances the mating queen entering a wrong hive (and being killed).
    Somehow I think, the issue is less about the dragonflies and more about the queens returning into wrong hives.
    At least this is a part of the issue.

    Last year I never had more than three (3) mating units in a single yard. Very good mating #s.
    This year I have up to five (5) mating units in a single yard - all in distinctly spaced nuc hives.
    Will see what goes.

    As far as this mating business goes - I much prefer Mel D.'s approach - I just make up few starts, give the QCs, and let them handle the queen mating.
    I need a # of viable starts for the next year (that include the queens with them) and that what matters, NOT just # of mated queens in particular (a queen without a good supporting colony is useless to me).
    This approach makes sense to me as a homesteader-beek.

    And also, again, high % of mating to me is much more important than savings in bee counts needed to run a mating unit (this could be more important to a queen seller - however).
    High % of mating means I don't have many wasted summer start-up units as far as season progresses - that is more important in my program.
    Last edited by GregV; 07-15-2019 at 02:58 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    But the logic suggests - the more confusing hives are standing around - the higher are the chances the mating queen entering a wrong hive (and being killed).
    Somehow I think, the issue is less about the dragonflies and more about the queens returning into wrong hives.
    At least this is a part of the issue.

    Perhaps this is because you do not have 50-100 dragonflys swoopoing through your beeyard, helping themselves to a free meal? Last year I was using my 2 x 4 deep queen castles. Opposite sides of the yard. Each entrance faced a different direction, each side had a different color design. I was still only 1 for 8. The two frame deep mating nucs also different colors but near each other, 0 for 2. Keep in mind we are talking about summer mating returns. My spring numbers are quite good, 80% or better. My grafting % is still awful, no matter what season.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #43
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Perhaps this is because you do not have 50-100 dragonflys swoopoing through your beeyard, helping themselves to a free meal? Last year I was using my 2 x 4 deep queen castles. Opposite sides of the yard. Each entrance faced a different direction, each side had a different color design. I was still only 1 for 8. The two frame deep mating nucs also different colors but near each other, 0 for 2. Keep in mind we are talking about summer mating returns. My spring numbers are quite good, 80% or better. My grafting % is still awful, no matter what season.
    I am well aware we are talking of mating in progress right now (July).

    OK, immediately I can say - all my mating units (just like all hives, really) are sitting in bushes/tall weeds and grass/woods.
    These are not prime dragonfly hunting grounds - nope.
    And I mean it this way - for the bees to be in the weeds/woods.
    Woods and dragonflies don't mix too well - just another side-effect now that I think of my ways..


    But let me also propose this...
    IF the dragonflies are so successful in picking off those 5-10 particular flying queens out of hundreds and thousands of bees also simultaneously flying there, ALL those dragonflies are
    1)specifically hunt for the queens (what? that seems very unlikely but I guess you suggest exactly that) OR
    2)the dragonflies should be mowing down your entire mating yard as if by machines guns (and accidentally catching very, very few queens in between all those the bees and also big, sting-less, and delicious drones);
    if true - this alone is a serious concern compatible to mites or worse.

    I just don't see #1 is deliberately happening (could be exactly what is happening but ... wait, what? anyone reported this phenomena before? the dragons specifically hunting the virgin queens - virtually distinguishable from the workers).
    But if #2 is happening, don't you feel as if you loosing bees an mass?
    Because you should be loosing a lot of bees before you lose those 1-2 queens.

    Anyways, I will report back in 1-2 weeks.
    Fingers crossed!
    Last edited by GregV; 07-15-2019 at 04:03 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #44
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Perhaps this is because you do not have 50-100 dragonflys swoopoing through your beeyard, ....
    Move the mating yard.

    Movement of the apiary site is the only practical means of control.
    https://agdev.anr.udel.edu/maarec/wp...ey_Bees_PM.pdf

    PS: posted about "dragonfly swarms" in the Pest department.
    Last edited by GregV; 07-15-2019 at 04:45 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    I think we can all agree there are many uncontrollable factors and we all don't have the data that we need to determine what is causing bad mated numbers. Perhaps we should be putting calipers on the queen cells or virgins and seeing if the little ones are the ones getting eaten. Just so many potential issues. Perhaps moving the mating yard next year might be worth it. Its just more convenient to have it in my back yard where i can easily do the work rather then loading up an incubator.

    My last round of grafts i got 10 sealed out of 40. Next year i will have to practice more. filing down the metal grafting tool to half the thinness really helped getting under them. Yes this is aggravating but i don't think we are wasting our time. We only get better with trying things we don't do well at.
    Terrence

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Greg, thanks for the link on the dragonfly swarms. I grew up in South Florida where dragonflys were quite common. I don't remember seeing so many here in my yard in Virginia until I started keeping bees. I am just hazarding a guess here, but don't queens fly slower? I know that drones can fly much faster than both the queens and the workers. Up to 22 mph I think vs 15 mph for workers. Stands to reason the queens might be easy pickings. I watch my bees at the waterer and often see a dragonfy swoop in and grab a bee in flight. Hornets do the same thing. Just figure they can't eat enough to cause a decline in numbers. They are getting foragers after all.
    Moving the nucs into the trees might help. I will try that next year. At least they won't get picked off as they come in to land.

    I am with Terrence on the idea that if you know what is possible, perseverance and ingenuity will eventually get you there. I have about another two weeks in which I can make walk away splits and hope to get at least another 10 started as 3 frame nucs in a 5 frame box. (Three of bees and brood, one of stores, one foundationless frame.)

    Good luck with your matings. To twist a phrase, many happy returns!
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    I think we can all agree there are many uncontrollable factors ........
    Certainly.
    For sure, after reading some about the "dragonfly swarms" - it certainly may impact things (not just mating but overall bee pop impact).
    Thinking - if a static, feeding dragonfly swarm settles over the mating yard, the yards needs moved/reconfigured OR maybe more bees needs added - so to dissolve the mating queens into the larger crowd.
    A headache either way.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Certainly.
    For sure, after reading some about the "dragonfly swarms" - it certainly may impact things (not just mating but overall bee pop impact).
    Thinking - if a static, feeding dragonfly swarm settles over the mating yard, the yards needs moved/reconfigured OR maybe more bees needs added - so to dissolve the mating queens into the larger crowd.
    A headache either way.
    Going to train my bees to fly in a flying wedge formation. That should get through the dragonflies and birds
    Terrence

  10. #49
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Greg, thanks for the link on the dragonfly swarms....
    Sure thing, I just learned myself about the "dragonfly swarms" - a new thing to be aware of.

    Anyways, these two splits both (to the left of the mother hive) freshly mated in July.
    The mother hive should contain a freshly July-mated queen too - I don't care to break it apart now to verify (only judging by the activity).
    So this is ~3/3 July-mating success so far.
    20190716_083148.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #50
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    4/4 for the July mating per the today's check.
    (was really working the production hives; well - the smoker was still alive and so I checked the oldest startup nearby - the brand new copper queen is laying all-right).

    Will give it another week not to screw things up - then check the remaining 8 starts - expect to find newly laying queens.
    Pretty darn sure I will have 10/12 to 12/12 for the July mating success.
    Just little more patience.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #51
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    Default

    That’s how mine were last month bad numbers checked yesterday was 10/10 and able to harvest for my production hives.

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    So far, two of the eight walk away splits have produced queens that are now laying. Two more should be laying next week and two the week after if they are all successful. One got another frame of eggs as they failed to produce a queen cell and one other got the queen from the donor hive, my bad.

    Saw a bird tearing the wings off a dragonfly it had caught, yay.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    JWPalmer. I'm near Charlottesville, Va and see my mating success window from about 95% in the spring to as bad as 50% in July. Unfortunately I was gone most of June so here I am grafting and splitting knowing that many won't make it. I did get to see a queen return from her mating flight this morning!

  15. #54
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    I did get to see a queen return from her mating flight this morning!
    I actually was lucky to see just the same during May splitting project - first time in my life.
    Never seen before.
    I even tried to grab her and mark - well, she ran inside, maybe for the better (got marked a couple of weeks later).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  16. #55
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    Going to train my bees to fly in a flying wedge formation. That should get through the dragonflies and birds
    There are a lot of factors in mating success. I skipped over some of the comments, so mine may be redundant.
    I agree with Oldtimer............success varies with location, etc.

    Size of nuc: 4 frame nucs have a higher mating success rate than 2 frame nucs. Mini nucs may get quicker results, but with lower success than full frame nucs.

    i get better results in spring than in summer. Often, new beekeepers check the nuc too often. It is better to not disturb the nuc for 2 weeks minimum. If its a strong nuc, worse case scenario is they will raise their own queen. If the queen cells you install aren't 9 or 10 days old, it may take longer than 2 weeks for the queen to start laying.

    I will admit to checking to see if the cell has hatched sometimes; however, with a strong nuc this is really not necessary.

  17. #56
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    4/4 for the July mating per the today's check.
    (was really working the production hives; well - the smoker was still alive and so I checked the oldest startup nearby - the brand new copper queen is laying all-right).

    Will give it another week not to screw things up - then check the remaining 8 starts - expect to find newly laying queens.
    Pretty darn sure I will have 10/12 to 12/12 for the July mating success.
    Just little more patience.
    Given a free afternoon, checked the remaining 8 start-ups.
    7/8.
    That makes it 11/12 for the July mating.
    One queen I just could not find on the three frames with few bees (no eggs either) - written off as a failure.
    Trying to mate out of the same hive could be the actual problem (queen confusion).
    20190710_085325.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #57
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    I figured i'd have 50 percent loss to that and other reasons. I have a lot of birds around me with nests so feeding young and i'm sure need a lot of food. Just didnt figure it would be 100 percent loss. What is a fly back?
    Skip to post #17.
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ight-or-Midday
    Late to the show, but for some good reading here is Lauri's post on her version of the "Flyback Split." I use this method exclusive for splitting down my big production hives. It works brilliantly. I just did one a double deep hive last Friday (7/19) and they have already drawn out the entire 10 frame deep. I will be putting another deep of new foundation on tomorrow.

    As far as getting queens mated I'm probably not much help because my success rate is so up and down I don't have any sure data to go by either. I had about a 95% success rate this spring with my splits just using swarm cells. We will see what this summer brings but I also haven't got the grafting thing down either. I just grafted 43 cells 2 days ago and checked them yesterday evening. It looked as though I may have 15-20 accepted. I used the box of nurse bees and brood from the flyback for a cell starter so I know I have plenty of nurse bees to handle that many cells. I just don't know what I am doing wrong when it comes to getting the larva grafted.
    Andy

  19. #58
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    I have some queen cells from grafting. What now? Put a cage on the finished cells and wait for them to emerge? How long should I wait to put them in a nuc? Is it okay to mark them before they mate? I had bad luck with my last attempt. Am I doing this too late in the season?

  20. #59
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Andhors View Post
    I have some queen cells from grafting. What now? Put a cage on the finished cells and wait for them to emerge? How long should I wait to put them in a nuc? Is it okay to mark them before they mate? I had bad luck with my last attempt. Am I doing this too late in the season?
    If you don't have an incubator then yes you would put them in nucs. I believe the acceptance rate is higher if they hatch in the nuc. Some here hatch them out and then put them in. I'd wait to mark until they are mated. They are skittish and fly often. Another reason why i let them hatch in a nuc. In my area yes its late. Not sure about cali.
    Terrence

  21. #60
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    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    If you hatch them outside a nuc, I understand the acceptance is much higher if you include the cell when you install. You don't have many days to delay the install.

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