Horrible mating numbers - Page 4
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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Dayton, TN
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    So an update on my latest grafting efforts on 7/23. I have 29 out of 43 capped cells. I'm pleased with how the cells "look" and I hope to get a good return on the mated queens.
    I did do something different this go around on my grafting. I recently watched a YT video of Kamon Reynolds' on grafting and using a small Joseph Clements type starter/finisher. I have used the JC before but what Kamon did was on grafting day when he checked the hive for any rogue queen cells he would not just crush them but he would also utilize the RJ to prime the grafting cups. I used this method this time and I think it made a huge difference in my acceptance rate. I was unable to get better that 30-40% acceptance before.
    I plan on direct releasing the virgins. I have as good success and it prevents me from making up too many queen less nucs.
    I will give an update on my returned matings as I plan on using 3 different yards.

    queen frame.jpg
    Andy

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  3. #62
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    1,882

    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    1st run numbers
    "north yard"
    foam minis 8/8 stocked with wet virgin dropped in and a cup of bees dumped on top, stored dark and cool for 3 days then let out
    my wood minis, 2 ways with four 1/2 shallow frames a side, done as FBS faired poorly, lots of cells didn't emerge, as didn't some capped broodd 5 /9 it was HOT like 100+ thinking thermal regulation issues... maby suryp in the foamys helped them vs feed in the comb?

    "Main yard"
    2 frame with FBS cells 2/3
    2 frame with virgins 2/2
    queen castles with fbs cells 3/5
    plamers with FBS cells 5/5

    "south yard (KTBH)"
    virgins in full sized 0/2 one relesed, one dead in cage
    virgins in 2 bar nucs 0/3 wtf... 2 absconded, one before, one after releasing the virgin. one has bees but I am not hope full as I was catching and marking queens form the same batch today
    ya... the south yard has some problems.

  4. #63
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,295

    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    I had some strange stuff going on. 4 weeks ago i went through my yards and mating nucs to see what i was going to have to pinch off or combine. I splurged and ordered 10 queens figuring my failed efforts I'd need these for larger colonies that i didn't want to move. At last full check i had at least 10 drone laying colonies. They all had queens with the exception of 1.
    I brought the queens out to do the installs and of course went through the colonies one last time. Surprisingly 8 of them now had capped brood.
    I ended up installing the cages in my mating nucs so i could figure out what to do with them. Bees pleasantly figured it out.
    Terrence

  5. #64
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Dayton, TN
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    At last full check i had at least 10 drone laying colonies. They all had queens with the exception of 1.
    I brought the queens out to do the installs and of course went through the colonies one last time. Surprisingly 8 of them now had capped brood.
    I ended up installing the cages in my mating nucs so i could figure out what to do with them. Bees pleasantly figured it out.
    I had this same situation with a few mating nucs this year as well. What looked at the beginning to be drone layers was apparently just a slow to get going queen. After some research I read a few posts that said sometimes queens do that.

    On the grafting/rearing/mating front, out of my 29 accepted grafts I had 27 of 29 emerge on day 8 and the last 2 emerged the next day. I direct released 12 (actually 13, a couple angry girls attacked and killed one so caged the next one in the hive for a couple days) the first day and the rest the next day. Out of the 29 I have 25 doing well in queen castles in 2 different mating yards.
    2 got balled on introduction and 2 absconded/left or were probably killed soon after introduction. I did not spray with sugar water before introduction, I released them onto the top bar of the frame, not onto the comb and the nucs were made up the same day. So I'm sure that had something to do with those failures.

    Now I just have to wait 2 weeks (8/18) and see how the mating phase goes. I will report back on the success.

    I can't remember if I mentioned it but these queens are the daughters of Coy Bees Company Russian Honey Bee Association (RHBA) Queens. I have had Russians in the past and I really like them. So I got a couple more this year and hope to be able to propagate that breed in my yard. My success at raising Russian queens has been less than 50% but I am pretty sure that is 99% my failures as a beekeeper and not the Russians fault.
    Andy

  6. #65
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    So many factors for successful queen rearing....so many details that can be critical!

    Kaizen, thx for posting your not-success... I have started queen rearing (at 13 strong hives now, 10 queenright nucs to overwinter as nucs, 6 questionmark hives with queens either coming on or not....). I hope to sell queens in my area, there is a real demand. But I don't want to talk about not being successful at queen rearing!!! makes me look bad, maybe? or just the reality, trying to get queens mated to our convenience rather than to their needs can be a problem.

    I have done 5 rounds of queen rearing, from 9-12 queen cells at a time. First round: 3/3 mated, 1/3 mated, 0/3 mated, 2/3 mated. 6/12. All in the same wooded yard, in a wooded area. One was a drone layer (I counted as not-mated). I wish I'd taken better notes about the following variables: direction box was facing, % of frames covered with bees, amt capped brood vs open brood vs nectar vs honey.... maybe one of those factors mattered? Or it was just random?

    Subsequent rounds (about 50 more mating nucs or half-sized hives or full sized hives with queen cells, for a total of around 60 attempts at getting a mated queen) resulted in 33 queens. Oh. That's not as bad as I'd thought actually! I guess the disappointments really stick with me.

    OK, so some details I will be treating as critical for next year....

    I am grafting, then (sometimes, and ideally) putting grafts in a queenless cell builder, full strength hive, with foragers and a pollen flow. Gotta say that thankfully my grafting success isn't an issue. Gentle lady hands!

    I don't trust pollen patties to be good enough nutrition for a queenless hive with only nurse bees and no pollen coming in. So there's a variable right there! what sort of early environment for rearing the queen. I have found that "prepping" the cell builder with at least 1 frame of open brood 5 days before putting in queen cells is very helpful. I have also found that 3 frames of bees with few foragers yet (failed mating, started queen cell from introduced open brood) can do really well at getting a mated queen back - as well as my friggin mating nucs using grafts and a cell builder.

    Then there is the mating nuc. I built a 3 way box, bee tight dividers, 3 frames each. So many ways to do this... I used to avoid putting open brood in, and for most of the nearly 50 mating nucs I've put grafts into this summer, I had capped brood and stores only. Now I am of the opinion that the open brood is needed (like 1/2 of a frame out of 3 frames) for at least 3 reasons: 1) a protein-rich snack if needed, 2) anchors the nurse bees well, 3) starts all mating nucs at the same point relative to becoming a laying worker hive. All queenless sections will be at risk starting at day 20 post mating nuc setup. And I have come to the conclusion that there can be "invisible laying worker syndrome" - a hive that has not had open brood for close to 20 days may just kill a new queen, who isn't laying strongly yet, then raise a queen cell from her eggs. Ding dongs.

    Oh the other thing about mating nucs - after this summer's trials and tribulations, I swear by using mating nucs with foragers at the time of queen flight. So I'm setting them up 10 days or so ahead of time. I really am starting to think there can be an entourage of house bees that accompany or facilitate the virgin queen's return. This may be a factor in Greg's report of a study showing more bees lead to higher mating success? Gotta find a couple days (next summer) when I can sit outside and watch mating nucs to see if the virgin is out solo or with an entourage... or figure out a camera system!!! beekeeping is an odd hobby, isn't it.

    And a mandatory robbing screen. I am going to use a mating yard with 10-20 strong colonies with drone combs, with a ring of 6 hives with mucho drone production at the 1 mile mark out from my yard. So it won't be feasible to have a quiet mating yard with minimal risk of robbing - I need the drones that come with the strong colonies!!! And I'd rather have just a few outyards with a few hives, and the central one with the majority.... at least at this point. I have found that a robbing screen on my 3 way nuc where the entrance ( a 1 in hole) is blocked such that bees have to land and walk on the face of the box at least one inch under the screen works great to deter robbers but make for easy entering for house bees.

    Here is another variable - when to move the queen out? I was being pretty cavalier - hey, there's eggs, let's go! - but now I am pretty committed to waiting until there is capped brood from the queen. I think I lost a couple due to the bees killing the too-new queen. They were definitely queenless, cuz they raised a queen cell from that queen's eggs after killing her! Ding dongs.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences too - good point about the overheating, I will be using a double lid because sometimes it's 90 in Ohio in May, because Ohio weather likes to showcase 3 seasons a month, almost every month. And insulation on the walls.

    Boy, this was a nice summary I just made, I will have to keep it somewhere so I can find it easily for next year!!!!

  7. #66
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Dayton, TN
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    Update: As of today, I have 16 of the 25 mated and laying and 1 queen is still questionable but I'm not too hopeful about it. I am pretty sure that the majority of my failures in getting them mated were mine. I was only able to get 4 of the queens into a different mating yard but I had 3 of 4 get mated and 13 of the others in my home yard.
    My suspected/known failures were not letting some of the queen castles be queen less long enough or spraying with sugar water (pretty sure that caused 3 queens to get balled) and I left one virgin locked in a cage for 6 days (I forgot how many I had caged when they were being aggressive to the virgins).
    After all that I had 75% and 62% success in the two yards. Much better than I expected or than I have ever one before.
    Now I just have to get 13 little colonies built up for winter.
    Andy

  8. #67
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: Horrible mating numbers

    great news, that things are not as bad as you first thought! Good luck, hope mother nature cooperates and helps you with a good flow. So far, looks like I have to pretend to be Mother Nature, because I am not seeing any rain in the forecast, and I don't think the flow will be great here this fall.

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