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I thought it would be intresting to start this thread on how you all get your queens and what you prefer for making INCREASE. This is related to a recent thread 'Something Larry Connor Says in Increase Essentials... '.

Between the following three, which would you prefer-

-Purchased cage queens
-Your own grafted cells
-Allowing them to make their own queen

And why do you prefer one over the other?
 

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My own grafted cells.

Reasons:
I use the best stock for my area, adapted to my management. I supply more droans so my queens last a lot longer and I get way better acceptance with my own queens and If I do get a dud, it just cost me time and energy so I don't mind pinching her.

I have been buying queens to sell nucs as people don't want to wait until local queens are available. except for this years queens out of wilbanks, I have never seen so many droan layers, swarms, bad brood patterns etc.

mike syracuse
 

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These are in order of my preference.

1) My own grafted cells for the reasons stated above

2) Let them make their own. This way I am at least getting genetics from my area

3) Purchased queens. I bring in only when necessary due to possibilities of in breeding in my own stock and also to add new genetics
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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It depends

>Purchased cage queens

If I need some new genetics or some prefered genetics.

>Your own grafted cells

If I want to continue the local adapted lines I have from an exceptional queen.

>Allowing them to make their own queen

In order to maintain more genetic diversity by maintaining more queen lines.
 

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My own grafted cells.

Reasons:

-- I get to choose the mother queen.
-- I get the fun of grafting and producing the queen cells and subsequently, the queens.
Do you introduce new genetics into your stock, and if so, how frequently. Also, what do you look for in their performance?
 

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I've been making my own queens for the last couple years. The plan I have for now though is to do splits on hives that do good against mites and other things and then requeen hives that are struggling with them with VSH cordovans.
 

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I rear my own queens mostly, buying caged queens only as necessary to obtain genetic diversity. In the past couple of years that I did purchase lots of queens, most were not worth the cost of shipping!
 

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chillard willard

Thanks for the thread.

I'm surprised at the preference for "my own queens" verses purchased queens.

When magazines and local presenters discuss re queening, they seem always to note when to purchase her replacement.

What do the commercial guys do?

The responses reinforce my plans.
 

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Do you introduce new genetics into your stock, and if so, how frequently. Also, what do you look for in their performance?
About every two or three years I buy a few production queens from different sources, then evaluate them for performance in my area for at least two seasons. Those that seem promising, I raise a few queens from, then place them in full size colonies to evaluate. <- (at least that's my plan) When I first started bringing in fresh blood (genetics), I didn't know that I would now be raising queens and Nucs. So, even though my initial motives were different than they are now, I did begin doing my influx of genetics and evaluations for a while now.

Before I decided to produce queens and Nucs, I started raising queens from promising new queens, by dequeening a nice strong colony, then waiting until they started queen cells - then I would choose a nice group of queen cells, remove all the larvae from those cells and then replace them with larvae from my selected queen mothers. When they were ripe I would put them into the colonies I had pre-selected for queen replacement. This worked very well and I soon became addicted to producing my own queens.

I am still a very small operation - I only produce about one hundred queens per year, most of them for myself. I appreciate the records that large scale queen producers use, I hope that someday my business grows enough so I need to keep written records to know what my different hives are doing. Right now I only have twenty full-size colonies and enough Nuc boxes to keep twenty Nucs, maximum. I find it fairly easy to keep track of the performance of only twenty colonies.

I especially like having control of my own queens. I like to keep producing new queens almost continuously - I even have a small batch going right now (most of my hives still have plenty of drones - hopefully there are some feral drones available too). With a constant source of queens I have one response to hives that seem to be faltering, especially if it appears their queen is faltering - I promptly replace the weak/failing queens with a Nuc mated queen so I can improve that hive's performance and better evaluate the queens I am producing.
 

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I'm surprised at the preference for "my own queens" verses purchased queens.

When magazines and local presenters discuss re queening, they seem always to note when to purchase her replacement.
Queen rearing seems to be rather specialized, and it's easier to buy queens than rear them yourself. Easier, yes, but I think the quality is lacking. Some of the quality issues come with the stresses of shipping and then gaining acceptance of the new queen.

I buy a few queens, like Joseph, to diversity my genetics, but I continue to raise queens that do well in my area, under my managerial abilities (or survive my dis-abilities).

When I talk to groups about raising locally-adapted queens, 90% of their responses fall into the "Oh, gosh! I can't do that."

Well, you can. For the longest time I could not get myself to graft. It was largely a mental block and a streak of obstinancy. So I bought a Nicot, non-grafting queen rearing kit. Ta-da! No grafting!

(Technically, you graft, but you get to move the whole cell cup rather try and scoop out a larva out of a long, dark tunnel).

Give this web site a peek: http://www.nicot.homestead.com

It's my web site that details how I make the Nicot system work. And I will quickly concede there are probably a dozen different ways to raise queens.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 
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