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snip from jwc post 19
I don't disagree that battling the imported bees is a constant battle. But I can't wrap my head around the idea that mating bees later, when new packages will have full drone populations flying to DCAs, is better than mating them here before people are even shaking packages in. Like Grey Goose said, I've got a MUCH larger proportion of the drone population controlled in late-April into May than I do in June/July... by that time all of the packages have nice fresh drone populations AND the weather to fly in. When I'm getting virgins mating late-April (really early May, but late-April ballpark). I'm selecting not only for LOCAL drones because of the timing, but I am also using the weather to select for drones that are flying in larger numbers at cooler temperatures. If I'm not mating queens until it's sunny and 80 degrees consistently... then I'm also piggy backing all of the new packages in on that party. Which is what I'm trying to avoid for queens I want to try to graft from the following year (or two years).

somewhat this is what I have done. is try to get early queens mated on local populations of drones.
It feels like, and I should keep better notes , is the early queens mate with early produced drones and also then have early drones. first drones this year I seen of mine were an F3 of a Russian queen and her mother had the first drones the year before. IMO this early -ness is likely being propagated buy the early mating.
related and mentioned was the "insulated" hives, I had 2 last winter I have 9 this winter, the breeders are all in those hives. IMO insulated can get you 2 weeks of time in the spring to get to drones and swarm cells, sooner. I may need to ponder this more. seems there is something there to use perhaps. selecting for cooler temp flying drones maybe can offer cooler temp foragers.

GG
 

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Says my local bee seller, I will refer to him.
He is in bee selling business and knows something about it, much more than I do.
From our local forum - he says:
............If you want locally raised queen it is impossible to get them before end of May at the earliest if the weather cooperates. June is more reliable. .........
I am also skeptical that fresh packages (just 2-3 months after the install) are pumping out a lot of drone.
Some maybe (in part because they already contain drones as they are shipped in).
But controlling the DCA?
I am skeptical as the newly installed packages really have different priorities anyway (not to be pumping drones; many of the packages struggle to even just grow sufficiently).

Overwintered bees are the main contributors into the drone population and these will control the DCAs.
Vast majority of the overwintered bees in my area are the same old package bees that just got lucky or properly treated - yes, they will pump the drones early (regardless of the forbidding weather).

To conclude:
  • in my place the default mating takes place in May and into June - just the local default, without thinking too much and too hard;
  • our local conditions, indeed, such that we are running much later than most of other places; with that July mating is rather "normal" about here
 

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Another conversation from my local forum:

Greetings! I am new to the Madison area and hoping to start Beekeeping next year. Doing a lot of research this year and hoping to purchase equipment in the Winter. I had anticipated ordering Bees in Winter for next Spring- seems like the Beekeeping year "starts" in April/May. I have decided I would like to begin with two langstroth hives (although still debating 10frame vs 8frame) and Carniolan bees- ideally from a stock used to Wisconsin Winters. In looking through the group (Buying Bees- Local Nucs) I was very surprised and disheartened by the pick up dates. June-September seems very late into the season. It appears my plan of buying local is unlikely and I should turn to imports? Any recommendations for a distributer?
One of the answers (I know the guy - he's been at it about 10 years and I listen to his opinions; a professional chemist by the carrier - just at aside):
It's not an issue of want, it's an issue of can't. Trying to compare the timing of Wisconsin made nucs (with WI queens) to California or Florida nucs/packages is like asking Wisconsin farmers why they can't produce fresh strawberries in April like California can. Not only is it too cold but hives haven't made enough drones for the queens to reliably mate with.
And here you have it - beekeeping is very much a local issue.
 

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If I gave you the impression that I'm disagreeing with any of that... I'm not. All of the timing is in line with what I'd say here. Like stated above. May for queen mating (early) or maybe the last few days of April on a good year. But I'm grafting mid-April for queens to be ready to mate around the first week of May (on average). And 'up there' you're likely a week or so behind us down here. And then by the time she mates and lays for a bit, it's June... which is exactly what I said above and what your guy is saying here. If he has a queen 'ready' the last week of May then she mated the second week of May most likely.

I don't think either of us is saying different things. I'm simply challenging the idea that 'local bees' don't have drones available in sufficient quantities to mate queens as soon as those same colonies would have their first queens ready to mate... I'm usually jumping the gun on big over-wintered colonies swarming by a couple of weeks with my grafting and mating nucs. We all know it's very difficult to get bees to do something drastically different than they would have been doing otherwise. It's why I quit raising bulk queens by graft here after the end of June. Simply because I don't see swarming that time of year, so why would I simulate that situation in hopes that my bees would make lots of well fed queens? Sure, they're superseding their own queens without my intervention, but as we know... swarming and superseding are different animals. And a colony making one or two good queens is under significantly less demand than one being asked to make 30.

Anyway, I think we're just talking past each other a bit. And again... goals. Guys selling 'local' queens (and I do sell queens) are looking for the most reliably well-mated queens (hopefully). And in the midwest that means June and into July... and that's when I sell queens. I have an additional personal goal of trying (while acknowledging that it's also futile) to get my handful of "breeder" queens mated with non-package drones as best I can. And to do that I need 1) as many drones produced from my colonies as I can before people start getting packages in and 2) queens ready to mate at the same time. To meet those goals, I need to graft about mid-April and have queens mating first week or two of May. Mid-May is the typical bulk package arrival in these parts. Mating weather is the wildcard obviously and years like 2021, it totally didn't cooperate. But other years I'm a little late with that timeframe.

I'm not looking to sell these early queens and in some cases, yeah, maybe there is a drone deficit and if they're superseded in August I'll know because she won't be marked next spring. Or weather is really bad and they can't get out without running into some sort of storm. It happens. That's why a decent return on the first batch of queens is 50% while I might run >90% June thru July.
But if I can get a queen grafted from a good quality source like one of my booming overwintered (at least once or like this year - twice) queens and get her crossed with some assortment of other overwintered colonies that are strong enough to be making and issuing drones as early as possible in the spring... well, that's as close to isolated mating as I am going to get. Which is all I'm trying to do, get (seriously) 3 or 4 less-adulterated queens. :)
 

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The season is not going to affect the genetics. However, late summer queens have a better chance of being well mated than early spring queens because of the abundance of drones. She needs to mate with several drones to perform for a longer time. When you open mate you cannot control what drones she mates with. Package drones are from the same yards the queens came from. If package drones are not her sons, they are brothers of the drones she mated with. The DNA of the drones doesn't change just because the drones were the first born in a new hive or born late after the hive was established. Drone DNA is haploid; all of it comes from the queen. It isn't going to drift over time.

If you have early September mated queens that have overwintered then you can get an early jump on the spring nuc sales (be sure you disclose that the queen is one from last fall), selling nucs with a laying queen while other nuc sellers still have their queens in cell builders.
 

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I'll go for the earliest Queens possible because I control the Drones in my area. Average start date grafting April 11th. Northern Indiana. Which is also average swarm cell start dates if colonies are not supered up before then.
Average package delivery dates in my area is last Saturday of April to first Saturday of May.
 
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Just throwing this on the pile. Today I went out and a swarm was hanging from a lid on the back of a double deep hive. While I wouldn’t necessarily want this (virgin) queen’s late-swarming genetics, the fact is I’ve forced them into it as I have been feeding heavy and some are about to pop.

At first I thought about just combining them back, or doing away with her so they’d go back home. Haven’t really noticed a lot of drones left. Went to grab a mated queen from the last mini and in flew a drone. Just decided to wait and see. It’s been around 75F and sunny, she might be ok.

Really just holding a few spares here and there in case something goes queenless in Nov-Dec. For instance the hive today’s bunch came out of. Think I’ll lay off feed after tomorrow and just let them work pollen sub for a while.
 

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Nice to see Tim around!
First packages come up here march 20th (they will only survive if installed on comb). First nucs available in April. They build up similar to overwintered colonies that are not fed, meaning will swarm at a normal time or produce a normal crop. Overwintered colonies' drones ready to mate 6 weeks after first pollen comes in (unless we get a lot of snow after first pollen, it happens, in which case the drones get cannibalized and it resets to 6 weeks after the next pollen). So here in upstate ny it is not really possible to avoid early drones. I have a neighbor who gets 12-24 nucs from betterbee every spring. Looks like most of his colonies dont make it through winter. I do try to get queens mated before that. All these dates are averages.
To the op's point, best queens will be fed and mated during natural swarm season. After you get some experience you will be able to push that earlier and later a bit but with diminishing returns.
 

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but bees in a triple deep come out of winter vastly different than those in doubles or nucs.
Bingo! Then add on top of not multi generationally feed colonies junk food. You'll keep raising the bar on productivity each year. The longer you maintain bees in the area, the more prolific the area becomes.
And your comment about selecting colonies that raise Drones first. Again Bingo. Doing so genetically raises the bar. Just dont get inbred too much by raising Queens off those colonies. Keep those as Mother Drone colonies. Split down so so colonies too genetically raise the bar on those.
 

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Bingo! Then add on top of not multi generationally feed colonies junk food. You'll keep raising the bar on productivity each year. The longer you maintain bees in the area, the more prolific the area becomes.
And your comment about selecting colonies that raise Drones first. Again Bingo. Doing so genetically raises the bar. Just dont get inbred too much by raising Queens off those colonies. Keep those as Mother Drone colonies. Split down so so colonies too genetically raise the bar on those.
Good to see you here, Tim! :) I do keep mixing in queens every 2-3 years. This year some Caucasians, a few years ago some from Michael Palmer.
I don't have hundreds of colonies, but the area around my main yard certainly must be dominated by my drones, I would imagine.

I know a lot of people don't believe it or maybe "don't accept it" is a better way of stating it. But my experience with triples vs doubles (in large part thanks to you) was night and day. It really unlocks a queen's potential it seems like. I know most of the beekeepers I associate with are totally disbelieving when I tell them my colonies have 12-16 frames of brood and supers when most people are reversing :D
 

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Good to see you here, Tim! :) I do keep mixing in queens every 2-3 years. This year some Caucasians, a few years ago some from Michael Palmer.
I don't have hundreds of colonies, but the area around my main yard certainly must be dominated by my drones, I would imagine.

I know a lot of people don't believe it or maybe "don't accept it" is a better way of stating it. But my experience with triples vs doubles (in large part thanks to you) was night and day. It really unlocks a queen's potential it seems like. I know most of the beekeepers I associate with are totally disbelieving when I tell them my colonies have 12-16 frames of brood and supers when most people are reversing :D
Yeah, I've read a few of your posts and could see you are getting what I've been saying for what a decade ago now. Lol. Welcome to my world ;D
Not sure how long I'll be able to freely post again, as I've been going thru older post ripping on people. Lol
And yes 15 frames +/- 3 60% layed out depending on Pollen/Honey band is good average. I'll see overwintered twice Queens slightly higher which seems to be the top of Bell curve to her laying ability. Which a high percentage of beekeepers will not see which are requeening each year or couple times per year. SMH
 
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Yeah, I've read a few of your posts and could see you are getting what I've been saying for what a decade ago now. Lol. Welcome to my world ;D
Not sure how long I'll be able to freely post again, as I've been going thru older post ripping on people. Lol
And yes 15 frames +/- 3 60% layed out depending on Pollen/Honey band is good average. I'll see overwintered twice Queens slightly higher which seems to be the top of Bell curve to her laying ability. Which a high percentage of beekeepers will not see which are requeening each year or couple times per year. SMH
I've been in bees seven years and in triples five of those. Haven't fed for three+ years, not because of any philosophical reason, but because I hate feeding bees.

Some folks here maybe deserve to be ripped a little :)

Those numbers seem to be about the same as mine. I don't see any queens after their third winter, but I do see quite a few double queens late summer and suspect they get turned over as needed. But of the marked ones I would agree that even after 2nd winter, they're still going to town in most cases. Really like to graft from those. I try to hit the Wednesday or Thursday closest to "tax day" for first graft. Weather is always a total pain, but I really think those queens mated first couple weeks of May are worth their weight in gold genetically. As close to controlled mating as I'll ever get. :)

If you get the boot, I do appreciate your posts here and on Facebook over the years! It's helped to have some confirmation of what I've observed vs the conventional wisdom.
 

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I've been in bees seven years and in triples five of those. Haven't fed for three+ years, not because of any philosophical reason, but because I hate feeding bees.

Some folks here maybe deserve to be ripped a little :)

Those numbers seem to be about the same as mine. I don't see any queens after their third winter, but I do see quite a few double queens late summer and suspect they get turned over as needed. But of the marked ones I would agree that even after 2nd winter, they're still going to town in most cases. Really like to graft from those. I try to hit the Wednesday or Thursday closest to "tax day" for first graft. Weather is always a total pain, but I really think those queens mated first couple weeks of May are worth their weight in gold genetically. As close to controlled mating as I'll ever get. :)

If you get the boot, I do appreciate your posts here and on Facebook over the years! It's helped to have some confirmation of what I've observed vs the conventional wisdom.
You must be fairly close to same parrallel as me starting grafts week of April 11th. Keep at it till it doesn't work.
Keep saying I have nothing it to them so I have nothing to lose. Free bees, free lumber and free time.
Haven't been much active on FB lately, usually late winter early spring I'll bast the pics of 3 or 4 deep colonies boiling with bees.
 
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You must be fairly close to same parrallel as me starting grafts week of April 11th. Keep at it till it doesn't work.
Keep saying I have nothing it to them so I have nothing to lose. Free bees, free lumber and free time.
Haven't been much active on FB lately, usually late winter early spring I'll bast the pics of 3 or 4 deep colonies boiling with bees.
I'm not quite to 42 degrees North. Some years I could graft two weeks earlier and be better off than grafting that week. It's right on the ragged edge of being too soon. This year it was and I had to punt for quite awhile. Some years there's snow on the ground.
 

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I'm not quite to 42 degrees North. Some years I could graft two weeks earlier and be better off than grafting that week. It's right on the ragged edge of being too soon. This year it was and I had to punt for quite awhile. Some years there's snow on the ground.
I'm at 41.555° so yeah close.
 
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