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How do you set of hives around your queen yard to ensure mating,1 mile 2 or way less,how many different yard would you recommend,how to the professional to it ,thanks
 

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How do you set of hives around your queen yard to ensure mating,1 mile 2 or way less,how many different yard would you recommend,how to the professional to it ,thanks
This year I got permission from land owners to set up my colonies all within about 1-1/2 miles apart. My queen yard is in the center of this circle. So the outer circle is about 3 1/2 miles for the furthest sites. This was as close as I could get these sites in my area. I'll tell you in 2021 how effective it was as I didn't do any grafting this year.

I live in central Missouri which is prime crop land. After a few years here I now only keep my bees on marginal/hilly areas that don't have corn/bean/wheat crops. It's a food desert for my bees. Hilly areas still have trees plus cattle men plant crops in some areas that are good forage for my bees.
 

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I always had drone mother colonies placed right in my mating yard. I don't claim to be a professional though. But I do know of a commercial beekeeper that keeps his mating nucs right under a known DCA, and you can occasionally see the cones of drones mating queens right up over-head.

I am of the opinion, from my own experiences and readings, that queens only fly as far as they need to in order to find some drones to mate with. In fact, many times drones come to the virgin queen hives/nucs to lead the way to the DCA for mating. But having drone producing hives within a mile or two away always works also, many people do it that way.
 

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I used to separate the queens and the drone colonies, but now I've gone to Ray's way - drones right in the same yard, but I try to choose a location with an obvious physical structure or features for the drones to establish a DCA.

The drones need to be housed nearer to the DCA than the queens, because they have to go home to refuel more often than the virgin queens do, so the DRONES go in the center, the queens can be in the same yard or up to a half mile away, though after once viewing a DCA in action for over two hours with maybe 2,000 drone comets occurring, CLOSER TOGETHER IS BETTER.

Your main concerns, far more important than location and / or arrangement, is that the drone mother colonies are FED A CONSTANT SUPPLY OF PLENTY OF POLLEN, and your queen cell raiser colonies have 10 frames of capped brood imported from other hives 10 days before grafting and are well fed with pollen, pollen substitute, 1:1 liquid feed and plenty of natural flowers in bloom. The queen cell raiser colony must have "too many" bees inside - very populous and boiling over with bees if opened.

If the cell raiser colony is not strong like 2 brood boxes tall and furious with activity, newspaper-combine 2 hives into a single colony two or three weeks before grafting. In doing so, MAKE CERTAIN THERE ARE NO EXISTING QUEEN CELLS in either hive, or you'll likely lose many bees to a swarm before grafting day. Do so again at -10 days when you make that 3rd box of imported capped brood - NOT ONE QUEEN CELL ALLOWED!

These, along with good grafting or other queen cell production method, or natural queen cells will ensure a good chance of well - fed, well - developed queens, and, hopefully well-mated queens.
 
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