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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have 5 hives with bad drone genes. They have QEs (queen excluders) that block drone I/O. 1 has a TF (treatment free) queen (installed 7/24). I'm mating 2 queens that I grafted from it. My drones must not mate with them. When should I remove the excluders?

events
  • 7/24: I got 2 TF queens from Hall Apiaries. 1 of them flew and died. I should have installed them indoors (unlike in the tutorials).
  • 7/28: day 0: New queen eggs were laid.
    - derived from graft day (8/1)
  • 8/12: Put on QEs
  • 8/14: day 17

I only got 2 QCs because I didn't feed the cell starter sugar water during and the day before cell starting. I want to get a better cell starter and make lots of queens next spring. Should I buy more queens this year?
 

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Studies have shown that drones usually only fly to drone congregation areas within a half mile of their own colonies, and virgin queens will fly two miles from their colonies before they mate. This lessens the chance that they will mate with drones from their apiary. You don't need to place excluders on your colonies to prevent drones from flying as they probably would never mate with your virgins.

If you have colonies with traits that you don't like you can re-queen them, but it is getting late in the year to do so. It might be best to wait until next spring.
 

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I am confused..
you have "bad genes" that you are fine with letting others queens mate with but not yours and have been leting these hives produce drones in stead of culling?
The random drones in the area are better then yours?

given the minimum chance of one of your "bad" mating with one of your "good" I wouldn't risk the QE.. they can clog up with drones and block air flow
 

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AR has answered your question; my understanding is that you have about a quarter less than 20% chances to have a queen mate with your own drones. Worry about other things: parasites, queen age, lack of nectar and/or pollen. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I searched for the minimum mating distances, and found nothing. Where's the research/experiences?

For now, I assume that my queens would mate with my drones. Excluders are staying on.

cut off drone comb.
Good idea. That would have worked. Its too late now. How does one time it correctly, so they don't do any more of it than needed?

Cons of drone comb removal
  1. treatment resistant mites
  2. Many frames have drone + worker. Drone would have to be cut out of these, wasting valuable comb. Solid capped drone could be frozen.
  3. time consuming
  4. could cause a drone comb shortage
Ideas for drone control next spring:
  1. Make early queens that can only mate with overwintered hives.
  2. Rob from hives in spring to control their size and density. This might stop drone laying. How do I do this?
I'm thinking of buying queens next year. If my good queen is alive in the spring, I will make early queens. Then I will only have good drones when purchased queens arrive next year.
 

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SeaCucumber - here is a simple explanation of how honey bee virgin queens mate in drone congregation areas, where drones hope to get lucky. Drones do not lurk in the darkness of your hive hoping some foolish virgin can be pounced upon (with the added advantage of their dead drone bodies being properly disposed of by your hive’s bees doing mortuary functions). Your queen excluders do not perform chastity belt functions. It would appear bees already recognize incestuous behavior can be disastrous for their species; we do not have to remind them.

https://www.honeybeesuite.com/honey-bee-drone-congregation-area/
 

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as you didn't drone cull the cat is out of the bag so to speak and about 1/2 of the drone in your
"good" hive have come from your bad
Most drones began drifting when 6–7 days old. The proportion of drones that drifted increased with age to a level of 50% at 15 days old. The proportion of drones older than 15 days that had drifted from the parent colony remained fairly constant (50–60%).
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00218839.1991.11101235

You can cruse goggle scholar for all the studys out there
But the cliff notes is (generally) queens fly father then drones to mate. This stops inbreeding and exacerbates beekeeper trying to contoral the drone side of the equation

Drones are close air support.. for best success they have to maximize thier time on target so they are on site when a virgin arrives so they usually end up at the nearest DCA
Queens are bombers.. they just need to cruze threw the DCA and they are done and head home so they can spend more time commuting and it doesn't efect there sucess rate
 

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SeaCuCumber - since optimal beehive temperature for this tropical insect is reportedly 95F, And I cannot find anything suggesting drone sterilization occurs as a result of heat, do you have a scientific basis for asserting “90 degree F day (with or without) the QEs might have sterilized drones”? Too many “factual” assertions are wrong, and in my experience with virgin queens (limited to knowing that was the way they were when they left the hive), 90F has not prevented drones from performing their magic.
.
 

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You're planning to mate two virgins you grafted from the hives with bad 'drone' genes? Seems as if the queen already is already carrying half the 'bad drone' cargo prior to mating. What's not to say, regardless of the 'good' drones with whom she mates that she'll produce 'bad drones' (unfertilized eggs carrying only her genes) as well.

Might it be wiser to first secure a virgin from a 'good' gene pool - and then let her mate beyond the 1/2 mile limit?

Food for thought.

Let us know how you make out. The window in southeastern Mass will soon close for a mated queen to produce a reasonable population for overwintering. A frame or two of emerging brood in a week or so will go far to boost it along.
 
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