Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?
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  1. #1
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    Default Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Hello. I am Nathaniel from North Carolina, and I have been raising bees for about 3-4 years. A few years ago I found out that I could take out a frame of eggs and young larvae out of a hive during the nectar flow and over night have queen cells started from being away from their queen. Then I would put this frame of started queen cells back into the same hive to grow the queen cells to maturity.

    From what I remember it took about 11 days before the first queen cell hatched (not sure if that is exact...). So when the queen cells were ready and hard enough, I would cut the queen cells out individually with a knife or sharp hive tool and wrap or roll the queen cells in aluminium foil to protect the exposed part of the torn queen cells and to keep the workers in the new split from tearing down the newly introduced queen cell. Use a little beeswax to stick to the tail of aluminium foil that is wrapped around the queen cell to the top bar of the frame in the newly made split.

    This does not work during weaker nectar flows or with sugar syrup feeding from what I have tried. But it could be that a faster syrup feeding method, such as frame feeders with wooden floats, might be able to stimulate the bees to be able to do this type of queen rearing, like during the nectar flows.

    I tried doing this queen rearing method during the Summer dearth and had to keep the frame of young larvae separated from their hive several days to be able to start the queen cells, but soon after introducing the started queen cells the bees tore down the newly started queen cells. I don't know if it is the workers or the queen, or a combination that tore down the queen cells. During the nectar flow they don't do this and accept the newly started queen cells and finish them completely, and will even let the queen cells hatch out to supersede the mother queen in the colony if you don't cut out the queen cells in time. If the queen cells are already days in progress they are torn down when introduced back into their hive even during the nectar flow (I have watched a queen tear them down).

    I do not know why people are not using this method of queen rearing. It seems like an efficient method compared to making strong colonies queenless to rear queen cells. Actually now that I think about it, it does sounds similar to the cloak board method, that is if I understand the cloak board queen rearing method correctly.

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Nathaniel, for the same resources you can get more and better queens by removing the existing queen from the hive, along with a frame or two of bees, and allow the larger colony to build and finish numerous queen cells for you to install into mating nucs. I did this two years ago and made 6 nucs from a single hive. Several weeks later, I split the hive I had moved the queen into. I ended up with seven hives total from one double deep 10 frame hive. I prefer this way for this type of queen rearing as the results are fairly consistant throughout the year. Getting the queens mated and returned is another story, so most often this is done during the flow and before the dragonflies become numerous.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    If the queen cells are already days in progress they are torn down when introduced back into their hive even during the nectar flow (I have watched a queen tear them down).
    The use of a queen exculder and 2 hive bodies is the traditional solution.
    I do not know why people are not using this method of queen rearing..
    you need at least 40 bees age 5-10 days with no other jobs per cell to start a good cell and honey/nectar and polen in close proximity (Lui 1975) , more is better and you have a frame of larva sucking up bee resources

    thats why a swarm box is often used to start, queenless, crowded, no other larva competing for resources, but even then, the experts suggest many bees per cell
    Laidlaw (1979) says 5-6 pounds and 90-96 grafts.. So times 6 by 3500 bees per pound divided by 96 grafts gives us 219 bees per graft. Marla Spivak’s queen rearing course suggests 60-100 cells with 4 pounds of bees in a swarm box. 4x3500/60 gives us 233 bees per cell.

    I don't feel your putting enuff bees in to make quality started cells, on top of that queens started by the bees in an emergy tend to be poorer quality (grafting /swam queens being 50% better) as they often start with older larva. In a full sized hive this is less of an issue as they will chew down about 50% of the poorer cells, but when you cut out and place cells in nucs they have to play the hand you delt them. Witch is why I cant suggest JW method either
    Further more when people pick a hive to rear queens form its often for a reason (they like something about its performance) 40% of the cells made in the way you suggest end up being cryptic blood lines, coming from drones that for some reason don't have off spring in the hive work force, and there for arn't contrition to the hives traits your trying to get.

    There is a reason you pay $$ for queens, (genetics is only a little bit of it) its all the work it takes to produce a quality product.
    learn to graft, or use the cut strip method https://beesource.com/resources/elem...t-cell-method/
    quality queens don't cost, they pay dividends

    I saw this 1st had in my operation and it was as eye opening as when I started treating and saw what I thought was "good" was merely surviving in contrast to hives that were now thriveing
    Last edited by msl; 01-17-2020 at 09:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Nathaniel, for the same resources you can get more and better queens by removing the existing queen from the hive, along with a frame or two of bees, and allow the larger colony to build and finish numerous queen cells for you to install into mating nucs. I did this two years ago and made 6 nucs from a single hive. Several weeks later, I split the hive I had moved the queen into. I ended up with seven hives total from one double deep 10 frame hive. I prefer this way for this type of queen rearing as the results are fairly consistant throughout the year. Getting the queens mated and returned is another story, so most often this is done during the flow and before the dragonflies become numerous.
    I don't know if you understand, JWPalmer. You can get quite a lot of queen cells from this method. Actually I thought that you would get more queen cells than a queenless cell building colony since you can have queen cells constantly being built from the same single colony as long as the nectar flow goes. With the queenless cell builder colony you can't do this because over time they have no bees to replace them, and so eventually would die off if not saved by introducing a queen. Resources are not a problem with the method I wrote about. It is a constantly booming colony rearing queen cells constantly.

    Simply put, by the method I talked about I am raising queen cells while the colony is producing honey and queen right. So, it is a strong and healthy production colony. I do agree with you that it is important that the cell building colony have plenty of food available by having a strong colony with plenty of nectar coming in to produce larger, and probably better quality, queens. Queens that are made during the nectar flow seem to be noticeably larger than queens reared during the dearth.

    JWPalmer, I have an explanation of queens lost on mating flights. Instead of dragonflies, I think the bees kill their queen when coming back on her mating flight. During our summer dearth they do this every time I have tried so far. If the colony is weak (3 or fewer frames of bees) though, then they mate the queen consistently every time during the summer dearth. During the nectar flow the bees don't kill the queen when she comes back from her mating flight.

    The method I talked about is:
    1, Take frame of young larvae and eggs out with bees clinging.
    2, Put this frame into a box over night, so separating from their mother colony.
    3, The next day put the frame back in the mother colony from where you took it out. The queen cells should have started overnight, looking like little cups.
    4, In about 10 days the queen cells on that frame are near hatching and ready to go into a split.


    If you get the queen with that frame of young larvae and eggs, and separate her from the mother colony overnight, you will have queen cells everywhere in the colony and can't predict which frame has which aged queen cells that are ready to hatch. And you get very many queen cells of similar ages all at once, which is a lot of queen cells to deal with at one time, (they all hatch around the same time, varying a few days).
    Last edited by HaplozygousNut; 01-18-2020 at 07:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Nathaniel, I understood what you were doing but misunderstood the why. I thought you were making nucs, not just queens. The method you describe is the same as using a cell builder colony and a finishing colony when grafting. Only difference you are letting the bees pick the larvae instead of grafting them into a cup. It sounds like a good way to get some queens raised. Good luck this spring.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    The Cloake Board system is somewhat different as it produces queenlessness within a box above a QX for 24 hrs or so in order to start the cells, then returns that box to queenright-ness in order for them to be drawn-out by the full colony under queenright (supersedure) conditions - AND it concentrates a large number of bees within that box during the queenless period to maximise the number of q/cells started.

    I find that pulling the queen from a reasonably strong colony (and placing her in a small holding box with a frame of bees) will indeed produce a dozen or so q/cells of good quality. The downside of doing this - and is presumably why it's not more popular - is that the q/cells produced may be of slightly different ages (and thus emergence is somewhat unpredictable), they are often drawn in less than convenient places such as against woodwork or supporting wires, and they are often drawn in pairs or multiple clusters which cannot be easily separated. In addition, throughout this queen-rearing process egg-laying has ceased - whereas with the Cloake Board system, it can continue uninterrupted.

    Take a tip from Doolittle: if you have (say) 10 good q/cells started within a queenless hive, then ensure that you also have 10 brood frames within that box - i.e. as many as brood frames as q/cells (the use of a Long Hive is ideal for this purpose). Steal frames together with their nurse bees from other hives as necessary to achieve this. When the time comes to cut the q/cells out (say, Day 11-12), attach one to each brood frame. Then, on the day prior to emergence, transfer one brood frame together with both it's bees and q/cell to each nuc box. There's no need then to either protect those q/cells, divide-up the nurse bees between nucs, or worry about bees flying back home.

    The Joseph Clemens Queenless Starter-Finisher technique (a cut-down version of Laidlaw's method) can provide modest numbers of q/cells all season long, and is well-worth checking out. Likewise the Rose system (not quite so well known).
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Jw, tour mentioned method is what im going to use this year. This is hopefully my year for growth. I think its a more practical way of letting the bees do what bees do, and I gain numbers from that simple is best approach. Rich

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    [QUOTE][QUOTE=JWPalmer;1776341]Only difference you are letting the bees pick the larvae instead of grafting them into a cup. It sounds like a good way to get some queens raised.

    I say massive differences
    Some very good and proven reason why this didn't become a standard..
    200+bees per larva for the 1st 24 in a swarm box stater vs what ... 3-4? on a frame of open brood to start a cell, too much competition

    I think its a more practical way of letting the bees do what bees do
    yes and no, wild bees almost never raise E-queens

    FP quoting Breeding Superbees , Tabor 1987 underlining is mine
    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    In the late 30's and early 40's the USDA Bee Culture Lab in Madison, Wisconsin started a program to determine which stocks available from queen breeders were best. Two-pound packages with queens were placed on combs on or about April 15. Brood production, population, and total honey production were monitored carefully. Some of these package colonies barely made winter stores, but a few did pretty well, producing 150 to 250 pounds above winter requirements. But one breeder consistently produced queens that developed colonies producing 250 to 450 pounds of honey over winter requirements.

    Madison's Farrar, and other government beemen then spent time visiting and making observations of that particular queen breeder, and methodology developed in his queen-rearing operation. The conclusion was the stock was no better than available anywhere else. That's right! When we reared queens from that stock or from stock obtained from the poorly performing groups, we turned out very high-performance queens. So it wasn't the stock that was good -- it was the queen breeder. What stood out more than anything was his care and selection of each queen cell and queen every step of the way.

    The basic information we got from that queen breeder was something we already knew -- to raise superior queens was mostly a matter of creating a superior environment. After all, there is no genetic difference between the workers and the larvae from which you graft your queens. Improve the environment. Improve the environment -- get that imprinted in your queen-rearing method every step of the way. Be sure there are always enough young bees and more than enough pollen and honey available. Always graft more cells than you will use or need so you can select only the best. Also, have more laying queens than you will use, and again -- select only the best.
    As a "little guy" you have little control over genetics, but you CAN control the environment the queen cells are built in, you CAN control the age of the larvae, and those 2 variables have a massive impact on the quality of the queens.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yxrawVF0Oc
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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Nathaniel, I understood what you were doing but misunderstood the why. I thought you were making nucs, not just queens. The method you describe is the same as using a cell builder colony and a finishing colony when grafting. Only difference you are letting the bees pick the larvae instead of grafting them into a cup. It sounds like a good way to get some queens raised. Good luck this spring.
    Ah! So people do use this method of queen cell starting like I was using. I have not paid attention or read carefully about the grafting way of rearing queens, so I did not know. I had thought they kept the colonies queenless through the whole process of building the queen cells. Thank you JWPalmer.

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    The Cloake Board system is somewhat different as it produces queenlessness within a box above a QX for 24 hrs or so in order to start the cells, then returns that box to queenright-ness in order for them to be drawn-out by the full colony under queenright (supersedure) conditions - AND it concentrates a large number of bees within that box during the queenless period to maximise the number of q/cells started.

    I find that pulling the queen from a reasonably strong colony (and placing her in a small holding box with a frame of bees) will indeed produce a dozen or so q/cells of good quality. The downside of doing this - and is presumably why it's not more popular - is that the q/cells produced may be of slightly different ages (and thus emergence is somewhat unpredictable), they are often drawn in less than convenient places such as against woodwork or supporting wires, and they are often drawn in pairs or multiple clusters which cannot be easily separated. In addition, throughout this queen-rearing process egg-laying has ceased - whereas with the Cloake Board system, it can continue uninterrupted.

    Take a tip from Doolittle: if you have (say) 10 good q/cells started within a queenless hive, then ensure that you also have 10 brood frames within that box - i.e. as many as brood frames as q/cells (the use of a Long Hive is ideal for this purpose). Steal frames together with their nurse bees from other hives as necessary to achieve this. When the time comes to cut the q/cells out (say, Day 11-12), attach one to each brood frame. Then, on the day prior to emergence, transfer one brood frame together with both it's bees and q/cell to each nuc box. There's no need then to either protect those q/cells, divide-up the nurse bees between nucs, or worry about bees flying back home.

    The Joseph Clemens Queenless Starter-Finisher technique (a cut-down version of Laidlaw's method) can provide modest numbers of q/cells all season long, and is well-worth checking out. Likewise the Rose system (not quite so well known).
    LJ
    I think I like this Cloak Board method of rearing queens. The queen excluder may keep the queen cells that were started from being torn down during the dearth (of course I would still feed thick sugar syrup whenever queen rearing.).

    Actually, with a strong colony I get maybe 30 or 40 queen cells started if I take a queen out of a colony during the nectar flow (I don't do this, but prefer to take just one frame out overnight to start few queen cells at a time, and do it every few days as queen cells are needed). Was it during a dearth or weak nectar period that you had made only a dozen or so queen cells by taking the queen out? That sounds very few...

    Thank you little_john for the good info!

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    [QUOTE=msl;1776421][QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Only difference you are letting the bees pick the larvae instead of grafting them into a cup. It sounds like a good way to get some queens raised.

    I say massive differences
    Some very good and proven reason why this didn't become a standard..
    200+bees per larva for the 1st 24 in a swarm box stater vs what ... 3-4? on a frame of open brood to start a cell, too much competition


    yes and no, wild bees almost never raise E-queens

    FP quoting Breeding Superbees , Tabor 1987 underlining is mine


    As a "little guy" you have little control over genetics, but you CAN control the environment the queen cells are built in, you CAN control the age of the larvae, and those 2 variables have a massive impact on the quality of the queens.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yxrawVF0Oc
    The convenience of the beekeeper is important, too. I don't know how emergency queen cells are different from the other ways of starting queen cells. Except that the timing of queen rearing may be bad and during a dearth, compared to swarm cells which are produced naturally by the bees during nectar flows when they are swarming. So feeding the bees is the most important thing when rearing queens during dearths I think, no?

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    I don't know how emergency queen cells are different from the other ways of starting queen cells
    the bees often start with a larva that is "too old"

    Emergency queen cell production was examined in honey bee colonies of mixed European races. Thirteen colonies were dequeened and followed on a daily basis until after queen emergence. Observations were made on the number of cells, the temporal sequence of queen cell construction, cell location within the nest, the age of larvæ selected for queen rearing, mortality of immature queens and the scenting behavior of workers in queenless colonies. Queen loss was detected within 6–12 hours and was first indicated by an increase in scenting behavior (on colony disturbance) and queen cup construction. The number of scenting workers reached a peak in 12–24 hours and then declined, as queen cell numbers increased. The time of queen cell initiation varied from 12–48 hours in different colonies. Emergency queen cells were usually started over worker larvæ less than 2 days of age (64.7%), but cells were built over 3 (25.3%) and 4 (10.0%) day old larvæ
    Fell, Rick & Morse, R.. (1984). Emergency queen cell production in the honey bee colony. Insectes Sociaux. 31. 221-237. 10.1007/BF02223608.

    guess what cell emerges 1st if the bees don't have enough to feel comfortably chewing down the dinks?

    In four honeybee colonies, queens were isolated on empty combs for 8 consecutive days, so that
    in every colony there were 8 combs containing brood of known age. Afterwards, the colonies were
    dequeened and the process of emergency queen rearing was observed. The average interval from egg laying
    to queen cell capping was 8.8 days and ranged from 7 to 12 days. The average interval from queen cell
    capping to queen emergence was 7.2 days and ranged from 5 to 8 days. The whole development time from
    egg laying to queen emergence was 15.7 days, ranging from 14 to 18 days. The age of brood at the moment
    of dequeening positively correlated with both the time of capping and the total queen development time.
    The average age of brood (at time of dequeening) around which queen cells were built was 3.0 days.
    However, higher proportions of queen cells with younger larvae were destroyed; in effect, the age of brood
    at dequeening from which queens emerged was 3.4 days.
    TOFILSKI, CZEKO SKA 2003 https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00891821/document

    and age matters

    Queens reared from 1 day old larvae were of the highest quality. These queens were significantly heavier (158.83 mg) and had significantly larger spermatheca (0.99 mm3) than queens reared from larvae 2 and 3 days old. Queens from emergency queen cells were of lower quality than queens reared from 1 day old larvae. However, queens from emergency queen cells were of higher quality than queens reared from 3 day old larvae
    https://www.researchgate.net/publica..._Skorikov_1929

    Except that the timing of queen rearing may be bad and during a dearth,
    flow or not best results are to feed a cell builder..

    The convenience of the beekeeper is important, too
    yep , that's why these methods are around, other wise put them in a small hive, catch the swarm, cut out some ripe cells and all that and toss a cup of bees in a mateing nuc. Leads to great queens, best the can be had realy.
    If you haven't yet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2IjNBbLESY please do.
    Last edited by msl; 01-22-2020 at 11:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Queens produced from older larvae will not be genetically inferior but their ovariole counts will be lower. This will limit their potential maximum lifetime egg production and right from the start will reduce their maximum daily lay rate.
    Frank

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    "take out a frame of eggs and young larvae out of a hive during the nectar flow"

    Me, that is what I do but queenie comes with that frame or two and is now my "fake swarm split". No frames are put back in the mother hive, yet it is strong and healthy enough to keep the hive haul'n surplus at the same time they are making their new queen.

    And yeah, I will also take a frame or two of brood for peanut making for me, but also never add these frames back till the queens are completely emerged, or these frames are used in a mating nuc.

    When I have peanut making in progress, those frames are in a nuc so I control the result, without threat to a queen chewing holes once these peanuts develop far enough to be a threat to existing queenie.

    Counting days to emergence from the larva stage is poor unless you are very good at naming the progress of the larva accurately. But it is/can be confusing counting larva days rather than the date of the egg being laid, then is day 16-17 for emergence.

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    I find it very easy to graft into a packed starter finisher. I typically graft a bar of 17 or so cells every 3-4 days so that the bees always have three bars with one open bar of cells to feed. Once a week I add a few frames of capped brood which I later check for emergency queen cells. I have keep such a builder going for up to three months even during nectar durths and it's so easy to maintain. They raise great queens as they are both queenless and want to swarm.
    I want my hive to look like the images below
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/VK7Vcpm1jfUAFURPA
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/cusAJ56sGZievnEG9

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    the bees often start with a larva that is "too old"


    Fell, Rick & Morse, R.. (1984). Emergency queen cell production in the honey bee colony. Insectes Sociaux. 31. 221-237. 10.1007/BF02223608.

    guess what cell emerges 1st if the bees don't have enough to feel comfortably chewing down the dinks?


    TOFILSKI, CZEKO SKA 2003 https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00891821/document

    and age matters

    https://www.researchgate.net/publica..._Skorikov_1929


    flow or not best results are to feed a cell builder..

    yep , that's why these methods are around, other wise put them in a small hive, catch the swarm, cut out some ripe cells and all that and toss a cup of bees in a mateing nuc. Leads to great queens, best the can be had realy.
    If you haven't yet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2IjNBbLESY please do.
    Thank you for the information msl. Were these emergency queen cells reared during the time that other colonies in the same location were making swarm cells? I found that without a good nectar flow the bees will not make swarm cells, but if forced to make emergency queen cells during the dearth, the bees do not make as large queens as they would during the nectar flow season, even if fed sugar syrup.

    I have had trouble trying to stimulate bees with sugar syrup to mimic a strong nectar flow. I have tried frame feeders, which worked much better than inverted jar feeders. But still have not had much success in mimicking a strong nectar flow. If we can have a way to get the bees to take the syrup faster, we might be able to get just as good queens from emergency cells as from swarm cells.

    I will try to watch that youtube video you linked sometime in the future. We are at a library, and don't have internet at home. I need ear-plugs to listen to videos here in the library.

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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    I have had trouble trying to stimulate bees with sugar syrup to mimic a strong nectar flow
    When there is a strong nectar flow there is usually a strong pollen flow
    I feed bolth but they realy only take substantially amounts in the dearth. I graft weekly in to my single box system May-Aug and my flow usually ends around the 1st or 2nd week of July. When the night start to get cool they start to tear down cells.

    Were these
    you will learn more if you read the studys for your self
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    Default Re: Efficient Method of Queen rearing for Splits?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    When there is a strong nectar flow there is usually a strong pollen flow
    I feed bolth but they realy only take substantially amounts in the dearth. I graft weekly in to my single box system May-Aug and my flow usually ends around the 1st or 2nd week of July. When the night start to get cool they start to tear down cells.


    you will learn more if you read the studys for your self
    My eyes get strained from reading on the computer screen. I was hoping that you could give me a quick answer.

    I have noticed with my bees that the nectar flow in February from the Red maples will stimulate the bees to forage for pollen and to become active, despite it still being cold outside. And when I feed sugar syrup through the Winter dearth and Summer dearth the bees will become active and fly at cooler temperatures during the winter (37F was the coldest I have seen them start flying in the morning after a freezing night). During the Summer dearth the bees are flying most days because it is warm enough for them, but the traffic is still very much less than during nectar flows, so they are somewhat dormant during the summer, also. And right after finishing the nectar flow or sugar syrup feeding the bees will have heavy pollen foraging, packing most of their empty cells with bee bread. I have found out that we have plenty of pollen year round here in the piedmont of North Carolina because I have fed sugar syrup to our bees through the winter and during the summer dearth and they had pollen coming in the year round.

    From the books I have read I suspect that beekeepers wrongly think that pollen from the Red Maples in the Spring is the reason for build up of the bee colonies, but in reality it is the first strong nectar flow of the season that stimulates the pollen foraging and build-up. And that during that first nectar flow the bees will eat through all their honey instinctively so that they can build-up rapidly for swarming in the early season before the main nectar flows to come. If that makes sense to you...

    Our nectar stops when summer gets hot, May this year, and end of June other years.
    Last edited by HaplozygousNut; 01-28-2020 at 07:18 PM.

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