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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Almost a month earlier than last year. Weather is decent, I have lots of drones, thanks to overwintering very large hives. Question is, what will the weather be like for mating flights?
I feel like we are ahead in our season in the Pacific Northwest. Light Maple Flow going on now and some hives are starting to backfill a bit. Swarm traps up...just in case. I think Calif Drought and their unusally warm winter is touching us a little.

Only a couple to start. Just being capped today. We'll see what happens.







This was several years ago...April 19, 2008. Hopefully we WON'T have a repeat of this. Our spring weather the last few years had been fairly mild.



Heres how that simulated swarm I made recently is doing after 5 days..drawing out the new frames nicely. Must have ended up with 10# of bees in this one. Sure looks clean :)



And the walk away nuc QC I made from some of the brood I took from them. This should be hatching next week sometime.



 

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The mating flight weather is sunny and warm. Go ahead to do a full force graft.
Nice looking morel mushrooms there. Yummy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Ya, I put those couple cells in a finisher above excluder and got a full three bars from the grid from this young queen. Not the biggest queen I have, but a prolific one. Starter should be stronger now that more of the brood has hatched.



They are loving the sun as much as I am...

 

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Yes, a prolific queen is what we are looking for. She doesn't has to be really big. Sometimes a big
queen is rather slow. From reading and what I believe the amount of RJ a queen received while in development is the key
difference in her laying ability.
In nature the strongest one always survived. The mushrooms have their dome shape like the shiitake and morels, etc
structure to withstand the elements well. Naturally, of course that the bees have adapted this structure for the cells and
queen cells. The weakest spot I think is at the end tip of the qc where there is no web like combs attached.
 

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Lauri, how many queen cells will you leave the split? I left too many last year and they ended up swarming. This year I'll leave just two.

I have a couple queens mating this week and we have had strong winds all week. Winds 15 gust 25 today, 90 degrees. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Here is the nuc I made with that frame with queen cells. I make walk away nucs a lot stronger to start than a nuc I would make in late May with a capped queen cell or virgin. The bees in this nuc shown are all young bees, all foragers were allowed to fly back to the old location a few days before I made up nucs. So the bees I put in the nucs stay there. No threat of chilled brood or swarming from this bunch. Even with three Q cells, I don't worry about cast swarm issues with a nuc this small under these conditions.



Now if I had broken up this hive Because they had ALREADY made swarm cells, that would be a different story. Even a small nuc with multiples can throw off cast swarms in that case. They apparently are already predisposed to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Second batch @ about 2 1/2 days draw...getting better. Weather here is absolutly beautiful. Made up 2 more cell builder hives today.



 

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Looking at the photos of queen cells, I wonder why they look the way they do. How does the texture of the cells' surface help the cell work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Notice the texture on the cells in JZBZ cup is slightly different than the texture of the cells on the frame, where they built them where they wanted. I'm sure the texture is their structural engineering method for a stronger cell. Man, they are tough when they are ripe.
 

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Notice the texture on the cells in JZBZ cup is slightly different than the texture of the cells on the frame, where they built them where they wanted. I'm sure the texture is their structural engineering method for a stronger cell. Man, they are tough when they are ripe.
You and DanielY are getting me inspired to grow some queens myself. If my eyes work well enuf to see the right age larvae. :)
 

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You and DanielY are getting me inspired to grow some queens myself. If my eyes work well enuf to see the right age larvae. :)

Every beekeeper with atleast a few hives should atleast try, local on the flow queens are so nice. Our spring has been steller so far, much better than the past 2 years.

1 and 2 day grafts...

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nice Burns! Doesn't spring feel wonderful??

Mark, too bad you don't live closer to me. I'd show you how to do it and cook you dinner
 

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You and DanielY are getting me inspired to grow some queens myself. If my eyes work well enuf to see the right age larvae. :)
Mark,

Magnifying glasses. It slows me down a little but, I check every larvae witha magnifying glass before I graft it.

Tom
 

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I'd show you how to do it and cook you dinner
Actually, this sounds like a great business model - hold a beekeeping class, and then afterwards do a BBQ, or fish fry, or some other fun outdoor cookery to allow the students to socialize and discuss bee stuff.

For someone with good bee knowledge and basic cooking skills (or spouse with same) I bet it would be well attended and a good little money maker. I know I would love to go to something like that.
 
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