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I did a spot check today and found mature drones in 2 colonies. I will start queen cells tomorrow with intent of raising 10 queens. I have to retrieve larvae from an outyard to reduce inbreeding potential. I rate drones as mature after their abdominal tuft is fully developed and I see them flying late in the afternoon.

So put down 2014/03/20 as the date for mature drones in northwest Alabama.
 

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Fusion power, I need some advice. I'm a new beekeeper and am from your general area, Tremont MS. I am also planning to raise a few queens for my on use. I had capped drone cells this past Saturday in both my hives and was considering starting the process next week. Now I see that a cold front is moving in with temps near freezing 2 or 3 nights next week. Will this affect the queen rearing or should I wait for warmer weather. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks
 

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The first thing is, don't rely on the weather forecast. They have not been within 7 degrees of our actual temps in nearly a year. We are forecast for a low of 27 degrees, but I would not count on that to be accurate.

Bees maintain the cluster temperature based on number of bees present. If you have a large cluster, they will have no problem maintaining temps for a few queens cells.

My best suggestion would be to wait until next Wednesday and then start your queens. That should get us past whatever cold temps are heading this way. I will start mine tomorrow or Saturday but will be using the Cloake board method which is adapted to variable spring temps.
 

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No drones yet here and I am south of you, squarepeg. I'm always behind you, tho. The Bradfords are only promising to bloom here. Same thing happened last fall. You had goldenrod about a week before I did. Still haven't figured out how that works.

Rusty
 

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No drones yet here and I am south of you, squarepeg. I'm always behind you, tho. The Bradfords are only promising to bloom here. Same thing happened last fall. You had goldenrod about a week before I did. Still haven't figured out how that works.

Rusty
agreed rusty, that doesn't make sense. you should be slightly ahead of here. go figure.
 

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Drones have been flying in my yard since late last week.
awesome. i tend to be a week or so behind on most things being up here on the ridgetop. won't be long until splitting, queen rearing, main flow, ect. :)

inspected all hives yesterday and all were still expanding their way up through the checkerboarded supers.
 

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Last Saturday (Mar 22) I did a quick inspection and saw about 1/3 of a frame of capped drone. Today I thought I might see some drones, but they are not out yet. I would expect to see drones sometime in the next 10 days.

I was planning to start grafting to raise queens as soon as I see drones. Since I have not raised queens before, I am wondering if this is proper timing, or should I wait a few days or a week AFTER seeing drones. I would appreciate opinions on this.
 

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I noticed some drones flying today. Sounded like bombers coming in for a landing...It's amazing how much noise they make!!
 

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I overwintered several larger well fed fall hives (3-4 deeps) so I have good early drone production...now if the weather will just warm up a bit. Plenty of drones here, but I won't be grafting for at least 2 weeks. Not making up mating nucs with these freezing nights and days barley in the 50's.

Testing out some new glue on this youngster:




Yard is very clean of Mites this spring. Just snagged these jucy buggers today. You really never know what you'll find in a emerging drone cell:





Brutal! But purple eyed:)



Drones above and this brood frame are out of a hive from one of my 2012 queens (Overwintered twice) Clean and good brood pattern. Nice.



Hurry up spring! Asian Pear pics:





Hives in photo above were started last May with three deep frames and a one gallon feeder...the bottom board with the small nuc entrance needs to go soon.
 

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I would leave my drones alone and after they hatched I transferred them into
hives that have less or no drones. This will trick the bees to say "wow, we have
lots of drones now." No need to make more. 3 frames of drones all hatched with
plenty to spare too. 2 hatched queens ready for their mating flight after this rain. 1
qc waiting to come out if she not get kill yet.

More drone pics:
 

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Last Saturday (Mar 22) I did a quick inspection and saw about 1/3 of a frame of capped drone. Today I thought I might see some drones, but they are not out yet. I would expect to see drones sometime in the next 10 days.

I was planning to start grafting to raise queens as soon as I see drones. Since I have not raised queens before, I am wondering if this is proper timing, or should I wait a few days or a week AFTER seeing drones. I would appreciate opinions on this.
I'm in the same position Philip. What I'm thinking is: be patient! Wait till there are oodles of drones. There'll be more bees and more brood available then for making up nucs too. I'm biding my time making more gear and planning a big push when the time is right for a high probability of good multiple matings from my own tf/locally adapted colonies and ferals.

Mike (UK)
 

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I'm in the same position Philip. What I'm thinking is: be patient! Wait till there are oodles of drones. There'll be more bees and more brood available then for making up nucs too. I'm biding my time making more gear and planning a big push when the time is right for a high probability of good multiple matings from my own tf/locally adapted colonies and ferals.

Mike (UK)
Thanks, Mike. I went into the hives. The drones have hatched, but are not leaving the hive. I pulled several frames, and they were full of drones. I imagine they will be on their mating flights in about 10-15 days.

I will be waiting for a couple of weeks to do any grafting, as the forecast is for coolish weather for the next week to 10 days, followed by 3 or 4 days of mid-70's. I hope to have some queen cells by the end of the month.

Phil
 
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