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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a couple batches of splits/nucs going now and am trying to get a better handle on what I should be seeing in each one. So I put together the timeline below - what kind of timing have you seen in splits you've let raise their own queens? (excuse the lousy formatting - can't use html here :( )

Queen Bee Development

Day....Queen Stage....Note
==========================

-2......Egg
-1......Egg
0.......Egg..............Split Made
1.......1st Larval.....Realize queenless - start feeding/building queen cells
2.......2nd Larval
3.......3rd Larval
4.......4th Larval.....Queen cell capped
5.......Gorging........Queen cell capped
6.......Gorging
7.......Pre-pupa
8.......Pupa
9.......Pupa
10.....Pupa
11.....Pupa
12.....Pupa
13.....Emerge
14
15
16
17....................Orientation flights start
18....................Orientation flights
19....................Orientation flights
20....................Orientation flights
21....................Orientation flights
22....................Mating flight (if good weather and drones present!)
23....................Mating flight (if good weather and drones present!)
24....................Mating flight (if good weather and drones present!)
25....................Mating flight (if good weather and drones present!)
26....................Starts laying (early end)
27....................Starts laying (early end)
28....................Starts laying
29....................Starts laying
30....................Starts laying
31....................Starts laying
32....................Starts laying
33....................Starts laying
34....................Starts laying (later end)
35....................Starts laying (later end)

[ June 15, 2006, 08:37 PM: Message edited by: PA Pete ]
 

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Rearing nucs in East Texas we always figured 23 days for checking back on split hives. The ones that had accepted queens from a cell were capping brood. The 'roll your owns' were laying good with some brood in small larva stage. I consider the 23 days to be the minimum for going back but good enough to determine whether they are good or not. If not laying by then they probably do not have a queen and are not going to. Some of the 'roll your owns' turned out to be drone layers but not many.

Based on this your timeline is a bit off. Is your timeline theoretical?

Am interested to hear what others have to say.

Bob Nelson

[ June 16, 2006, 05:44 PM: Message edited by: Bob Nelson ]
 

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Hello Pete,
I use the following.

Day 1....egg layed

Day 4....Graft 1 day old larvae

Day 6....Check number of cells started

Day 9....Cells capped

Day 13...Move to mating nucs
Day 14...When most other people move to mating nucs

Day 16...Queens emerges

Day 18...If not emerged, discard cell

Day 21...Mating flight
Day 22...Mating flight

Day 34...Check on eggs

Day 41...No eggs, discard queen

I like to start from day zero. I free graft many times, but if I am timing things out with a new frame placed for eggs, then keeping the dates straight is easier for me this way. No minus day one, minus two, stuff.

Day 34 and 41 are the top end extremes for checking those items. Many check sooner and discard accordingly. These are just maximum dates to window frame the time it could take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Bob and Mike - I really appreciate your insight


My timeline above is based on one of the tables in "Queen Rearing" by Laidlaw, plus anecdotal information gleaned from various posts here on BeeSource, plus some of my own experience. I like hearing others' experience too to help me fine-tune my understanding - there's lots to learn here!
 

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We were making large numbers of nucs far from home and time was money. We were rolling through hundreds a day and the goal was to identify the equipment we needed to remake into queenright units.

I agree it is best to give them ample time of 4-6 weeks from the time of brood being queenless. The duds are definitely duds and are best folded back into a good colony as they are close to having a laying worker. Nothing beats a nice slab of capped brood to verify she is good.


For this reason you are best to make more nucs or divides than you want. I you have 3 hives and want 5 then make 3 splits instead of 2. Make splits into your 2 new hives and 1 into a nuc box. A or some 3-5 frame nuc box(es) are a good investment to buy or build. For years I used one cheaply made from scrap 3/8 inch plywood sides. It held up because I only used it 4-5 months a year and the rest of the time it lived inside high and dry. When one of your 2 splits comes up a dud you likely have a queenright nuc to transfer over. I carry my 4 frame nuc boxes around with me and use frames with queen cells or virgin queens from colonies that have swarmed or superceded. Sometimes 1 will get 4 or 5 out of one of these non-producers. By late summer I have some nice strong 4 frame nucs to requeen or re-establish the over summer duds and I can keep all of my spaces full.

This is the 10% rule. Through yearly attrition, during moves or with frequent examination you will have 10% with lost or failing queens. Stay ahead of the curve by overshooting goals by the 10%.

Be careful though. If you are a successful at this you may end up with more colonies than you need or want. They are a good commodity and will sell the next spring.

Bob Nelson

[ June 17, 2006, 04:55 AM: Message edited by: Bob Nelson ]
 
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