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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you northern queen breeders push your drone production for your first cycle of queens? I was wondering if you could purposely create a drone layer for this purpose.
 

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Having drawn drone combs in the box's and feeding pollen pattie and small amounts of light syrup early in the spring helps....good strong colonys that are well provisioned are needed to rear good drones and keep them well fed,and don't let them run short of pollen.
 

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>How do you northern queen breeders push your drone production for your first cycle of queens?

I have not found anything that helps with this. When the time is right they will raise drones and then it's time to raise queens.

>I was wondering if you could purposely create a drone layer for this purpose.

How? Confine a virgin for 28 days and then let her mate? In my experience and in Huber's observation, she won't lay at all and therefore won't be a be a drone layer until she mates and then only if she mates late or poorly and runs out viable sperm. And now you want drones from an unproven queen? I want drones from strong viable queens, not unproven ones.
 

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It's better to have healthy drones that are raised with high nutrition. The only way that can be done is in a colony that is queen right with a respectable amount of brood. Just like selecting a breeder queens in your yards, selecting the drone mothers should show desirable caracteristics (last years top honey producers, overwinter with lots of bees, came into spring with winter stores to spare,ect). Colonies like these will have no problem rearing drones for you early in the spring.

I think most beeks would agree with me when comparing the three sources of drones that laying worker hives have the least healthiest drones with a very shotty pattern and often with chalk brood. The drone layer may be more consistant but as the workers dwindle, so does the quality of the drone brood. In both cases, there is a dwindling of worker bees, drones are raised in smaller cells, no queen pheromone and no worker larva pheromone, very little nectar and pollen gathering and/or usage in the hive. Where as looking at the queen right drone brood, the health and vitality becomes apparent due to the high health and moral of the hive.

I would allow 40-45 days from the time the drone egg is layed to the point that it is ready to mate because even though it hatches on day 24, it will take around 2 weeks to reach sexual maturity. Knowing this can help you plan around the timing of your first grafts. It would be safe to graft when you see the first drones hatching.

Hoped this helped and good luck with your drone and queen rearing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Michael,
I guess I thought that virgins would eventually lay(drones of course). So all those drone layers we get from the south are undermated not unmated virgins? The other option that I have heard is to have packages of drones brought up from the south. I'm sure it would work but sounds like a pain, plus you wouldn't be getting your northern genetics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Chillard,
Well said! I was just looking at trying to produce some queens for those that have package queens that fail. It's such a pain to get ahold of queens that time of the year, and in my experience the replacement may be just as bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Pete,
Interesting link, 5 lbs. of pollen per week wow! I guess come early spring feed, feed, and more feed.
 

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I have seen queens with crumpled wings. They never layed. I've seen queens that mated late. They lay drones. Drone layers have either mated late, mated poorly or run out of sperm. But in my observation they don't start laying until after they mate.
 
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