Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Modesto, California, USA
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    Default Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    I've been tinkering around with a few Styrofoam mini mating nucs this year. I am wondering - if I pull the queen out of a mini mating nuc, will the miniature colony that I left behind be able to successfully raise a decent emergency queen?

    What about if I remove the queen and the entire adult population, and repopulate the mini frames of brood by shaking in another cup-and-a-half of bees from another hive - will this new colony be capable of raising a queen? Will she be a good one, or a half-caste?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    The answer is a bit complex
    You need 400 mixed age nurses or 200 5-10 day old ones (IIRR) with no other jobs per cell to make a good queen + honey and pollen in close prox

    If you start a mini with 1.5 cups that's about 900 bees. 2 weeks later when you pull your mated queen, some have died, some have turned to forgers, a lot are tending the brood, and they all have aged. In that case, your going to likly see some very poor results. Things may be better if you 2-3 rounds in and have had some emerging brood so some younger bees
    The flip side is it only takes 30 or to start a cell, this is why some operations use swarm box starters and then transfer as they can start many more cells then they can finish.

    I would think you could very well pull your queen and then 24-48 hours attach the mini frames with zip ties/rubber bands to a top bar or empty frame . Then put in the top brood chamber between a few frames of open brood with the queen in the bottom below an excluder and let the big hive with all the resources do all the heavy lifting. Once ripe transfer back to minis and restock

    I have done something similar with grafts and 1.5 cups of bees as a mini-swarm box starter and then transferred to a full sized to finish mini frame.jpg

    https://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/bits...=1&isAllowed=y
    https://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/bits...pdf?sequence=1
    should provide you with data to move forward
    Last edited by msl; 07-10-2019 at 10:36 PM.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Boone County, Indiana, USA
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    156

    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    They will try to raise a queen but it won't be a good queen from what I have seen. I always wait until the mini nuc has capped worker cells before pulling the queen. That allows the nuc to expand its population. When I pull the queen I put my own queen cell back in.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ...attach the mini frames with zip ties/rubber bands to a top bar or empty frame .
    That just solved my problem of how to get brood into my first run mini mating nuc frames to anchor the bees. Thanks for the tip!
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Modesto, California, USA
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    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    Thankyou all for the helpful replies! I really like the idea of being able to move the mini frame to a full-size hive to use as a cell finisher.

    We have all appreciated the beekeepers who have advocated for maintaining several nucleus colonies as support for full sized colonies. I'm thinking it may be helpful to take the idea a step further, and maintain several homemade mini nucs to use as support for the nucleus colonies. The investment in materials to build it and bees to stock it is very small, and it can really pay off to have a queen ready to go at any time.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    1,832

    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    I think minis are totally underrated by the hobiest market. The amount of local swarm cells that go to waste for lack of a home is a shame and drives the import market people get hung up on "drawn comb" and equipment compatibility.
    who cares? a drawn mini is a cup of suryp worth of wax many just cut it out and render.... in foamy's it gets in the way dumping in bees next year anyway.
    if you're worried about compatibility you not being creative enough.

    Open brood on drawn comb/ Queen pheromone strips to anchor new minis?
    go old school, dump them in with a starter strip, cell/virgin and place them dark and cool 3 days.... ok ok the use of the basement takes an understanding domestic partner... or asking for forgives cause you didn't ask permission.... IF you get caught...lol
    word to the wize
    The combo of putting swarm box starter between the stairs /washing machine, and a lite switch she has been after you for a month to fix is a very bad plan

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ... The amount of local swarm cells that go to waste for lack of a home is a shame ...
    Agreed - but it's not just swarm cells which are wasted. Recently, a guy posted on here who had killed both of his 'hot' queens (because he'd been advised to by some internet source) BEFORE raising any replacements.

    I've likewise been doing the rounds of my apiary recently, also re-queening any colonies which were showing signs of being 'warm' ('hot' being a thing of the past, thank goodness). I came across one which is fine on a good day, but can become seriously grumpy should there be an approaching weather front - and on the day I checked it, that colony behaved absolutely perfectly ... so, what to do ? I eventually settled for re-queening with a select virgin, but saving the existing mated queen in a roller cage - but at that point, with no particular end-use in mind ...

    Later, I thought about what uses such older - and generally undesirable - queens could still have. Along with a few cupfuls of bees they could be used to 'prime' any new equipment (boxes, foundationless frames etc) to leave both their smell and wax footprint on them. They could even be used to draw new foundationless worker combs - and that has now become the new role in life for that particular queen: she's currently heading a small colony who's sole purpose in life is drawing new worker comb from their ample supply of sugar. As each comb is drawn and laid-up, it'll be popped into the freezer for 2 days and then stored. Sure, I'll need to give that colony a frame of brood from time to time, but that's a small price to pay for such valuable combs.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,588

    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    I may just stick the minis under the deck or in the crawlspace under the house where it is cooler.

    As far as the bees and the light switch, my wifes "cure" for all my transgressions is jewelry. She has a lot.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Brookhaven, MS, USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    I am gonna try to copy the mini plus style hives that are used in europe for mating. They are basically 6 half medium frames, a bottom board, brood box, and Lid. Since its modular you can pull the queens you need and then combine the hives and over winter in multiple stories then break them down into mating nucs in the spring. To get my initial set of frames drawn i have modified a medium super to hold 20 half frames and stacked it ontop of hive to get worked.

    here is an example
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrYO0G7dt4U

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,339

    Default Re: Emergency Queen Cells from Mini Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    The combo of putting swarm box starter between the stairs /washing machine, and a lite switch she has been after you for a month to fix is a very bad plan
    Only a month, you're ahead of schedule.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 07-13-2019 at 05:16 PM.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

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