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I've been researching about grafting and queen rearing. I understand everything up to "after the queens hatch".
I have some questions about the mating process.
My main question is, "do they have to be instrumentally inseminated?" Or is there a way for open mating?
I don't see a lot of discussion on this end of the process.
 

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A few days after the queen emerges she will go on several mating flights where she mates with multiple drones then will start laying shortly there after.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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You need to start at just before the queens emerge. This is where the mating nuc or queen castle comes in to play. The ripe queen cell is placed into a mating nuc with a full deep frame's worth of bees and brood, one frame of stores, and allowed to emerge. After hardening off, she will go on her mating flight and hopefully return. Once she has begun laying eggs, you can check her brood pattern and determine if it a queen you wish to keep. At that point she can be transfered to a nuc or a queenless hive. Depending on the size of the mating nuc you use, you have from one to two weeks to figure out where you are going to put her.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You need to start at just before the queens emerge. This is where the mating nuc or queen castle comes in to play. The ripe queen cell is placed into a mating nuc with a full deep frame's worth of bees and brood, one frame of stores, and allowed to emerge. After hardening off, she will go on her mating flight and hopefully return. Once she has begun laying eggs, you can check her brood pattern and determine if it a queen you wish to keep. At that point she can be transfered to a nuc or a queenless hive. Depending on the size of the mating nuc you use, you have from one to two weeks to figure out where you are going to put her.
JWPalmer,
Thank you very much. This was the missing part. I knew how to get right up to that point. I have seen discussions of mating nucs but didn't quite understand it. Your explanation was perfect. I appreciate it very much.
 

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[...] is there a way for open mating?
I don't see a lot of discussion on this end of the process.
Because in the main, beekeepers don't have a whole lot to do with the mating side of things - short of AI/II, of course. There are a few techniques for optimising the mating outcome - isolated mating stations being by far the best solution. So-called 'Midnight/Moonlight Mating' (the Joe Horner System) is another. https://academic.oup.com/jhered/article/101/3/334/836803
LJ
 
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