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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever tried to simply order 3 pound packages without the generic Italian queen (no offense to Italian bees). The packages we get here only come in one variety and I've been finding that my Carniolans and Russians are inherently wiser with their winter populations/honey reserves than the Italians. I plan on doing splits and making my own nucs this season from the Russian and Carnies I have, but I also wouldn't mind bumping up my total number of colonies significantly and it seems that I am limited to the number of splits I can successfully make increases with. It would seem wasteful to order Italian packages and just kill the queens and add Russian or Carniolan Queens in their place. Any advice on this subject?
 

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Well, depending on how early your packages come and how soon you can start raising queens, it may not be wasteful to have your hives begin building up with the package queen and requeen later. That's my plan for this year.

Seems like timing is everything.

Wayne
 

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Buy frames of brood [covered with bees]. You'll probably get more bees for your money and much higher acceptance rate with emerging bees. Probably get some migratory beeks to bring them up from Texas. Contact Darell Rufer. Run a search for Rufer and I am sure you'll find his number.

Danny
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for that advice. I know there are plenty of big scale operations here in Montana that go to California for almonds and do the Oregon/Washington pollination route before showing up here in Montana for honey crops.
 

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I think I've seen ads before where they just sell the packaged bees without the queen so you can put/make your own from your stock. Might want to look for something like that, it may save you a little bit of money.
 

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Danny is right..... you're better off getting frames
of brood with attending bees.

It is not uncommon for folks to sell off bees after
the almonds by the pound. But your (and mine) areas
are a bit far from the action.
 

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What is the minimum number of frames of brood/bees required to make up a decent 'nuc' this way?
I have heard that you can make it with 2 [deeps] if the weather is mild, but I have always used 3 deeps [which I consider minimum but also sufficient].

The brood should be all sealed and at least 80% of the frames should be brood with the rest being honey/pollen. What I purchased was 24 deep frames of all sealed brood [no eggs or larva], and on these colonies I had 100% acceptance of introduced queens [8 of 8]. I also, used some of my brood [from my original 8 colonies] to make up splits, but mine had some eggs and larva. The bees made queen cells and I only had 50% acceptance of these queens [2 of 4]. Both of the failed colonies made queen cells from the existing eggs/larva. The 2 accepted did not make any queen cells. If I had it to do all over again, I would waited 5 days after making up the splits and kill all the queen cells. This would have put the splits in an accept or die position, which the original 8 were in, beings there were no young larva or eggs.

Kindest Regards
Danny
 

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3 is what I figured, but I had also heard 4. I am picking up 20 deep frames in May and have ordered 6 queens to replace my dead outs. Three frames works well - I can even give 2 nucs an extra frame.

I also have three surviving hives which are doing well (7-8 frames of bees right now each) - so I can boost the nucs with a frame or so from them when the time comes.

Thanks for the replies.

Mike
 
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