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Hey guys I'm a long time beekeeper (23 now and started at 12, the past 3 years I've been a "haver"). I found a spot nearby where I can move my hives so I can start managing them again. This year I want to dabble and next year I want to produce my own queens (just not a fan of $25 for a queen).

I'm going to maintain the genes of my bees that have survived the 3 years even if they are a bit mean by keeping at least 2 queens (or raising new ones) in nuc boxes. I plan on requeening the 4 hives I have with Russian hybrids this spring.

I've been reading up on queen rearing but I'm not sure what method is right for me since I won't be producing many queens
For next year I want to produce my own queens and have a few extra (so 10-15 queens), I also don't want to hinder honey production much if possible. I plan on having 5-6 hives and 3 nucs. I'm not against grafting or having a mating box running (https://products.kelleybees.com/wtkprod/detail.aspx?item=616). I would prefer a method that didn't require me to keep a terribly tight schedule as I'm in nursing school and might not be able to make it to the bee yard some days.

Thanks for your help:)
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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I've never succeeded at queen rearing without putting a dent in honey production. But Marla Spivak says her method (which I'd call "age grading") doesn't hurt honey production, at least not in the starter. If you put the cells in your hives, instead of setting up mating nucs.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've never succeeded at queen rearing without putting a dent in honey production. But Marla Spivak says her method (which I'd call "age grading") doesn't hurt honey production, at least not in the starter. If you put the cells in your hives, instead of setting up mating nucs.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm
I've been reading your website for a couple days now, it's great!

I wouldn't mind hurting honey production in one of my 5 (two story deep hive body) hives...would using only one of my big hives work?

I plan on using the nuc boxes and a queen mating box for letting the new queens start laying in. I guess I could just kill off the old queens and put a sealed queen cell in the hives a day or two later....but I'd lose some brood production.

ETA: If I can produce 6 queens that are tested then another batch of 6 I'll be content. That gets my main hives new queens in the first batch with one to spare and 6 for nuc boxes and giving away. I'm looking at really low production levels here.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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IMO if you want to make increase then setup your splits and put queen cells in them. If you want to requeen, just put a queen cell in the hive. Remove boxes until you find a good population of bees to care for the cell and put it there. She will most likely supersede the old queen and if she doesn't they probably didn't need a new queen anyway.

But if you want to do mating nucs, you can make a strong hive queenless (by putting her in a nuc) and after you have your cells ready, break that same hive up into mating nucs.

I like two frames, one of honey and one of brood, for my mating nucs. It's minimal resources and easy to set up.
 

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I think I might be tempted to just artificially swarm them:

1. About a week after swarm cells are laid, set up empty nuc or hive body on a raised stand and a big white sheet spread on ground and draped on stand to make a sort of ramp.

2. Shake frames of bees onto sheet, making sure to get a fairly even layer on the sheet.

3. Watch them walk right into your new nuc or hive body.

Many of the bees will return to the original hive, which will finish raising one of their "swarm" queens.

Additional splits can be made with some of your swarm cells, but if you only want to double your hive numbers, this should work just fine.
 

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I'm going to maintain the genes of my bees that have survived the 3 years even if they are a bit mean by keeping at least 2 queens (or raising new ones) in nuc boxes.
Yes!! Breed from the mean ones!! I think my post about mean bees for hire was deleted. (Moderators, did you delete my post? If yes, why? If no, where did it go?) Anyways, right on, breed the mean ones. The are more fun to work. Cheers!
 

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They aren't mean as in they attack me and chase me back to the truck, they just weren't the most gentle hives I've had. on a scale of 0 to 10 with zero being ungloved hands and no smoke and 10 being trying to kill you; I'd put them at a 3.5 or 4. They definitely need smoke and I needed a veil, but I didn't get stung or have one crawl up my pants.

Also they have no SHB visible and the one hive of gentle bees I have is chocked full of them...My guess is that there is a correlation.
 

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I don't want an increase in production hives...past 6. I would like to have a couple to few nuc boxes with good queens that I maintain nearly year round so I can ensure I'll have enough hives even with winter die off.... I can repopulate the nucs with swarms and/or splits as needed.

I think I might be tempted to just artificially swarm them:
 
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