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Discussion Starter #1
I have access to an isolated mating yard. It is deep in the Chequemegon National Forest, it would be surrounded by 6 miles of forest on all sides. I realize there may be feral bees there, but at least no soft commercial bees. My question; is the purpose of the isolated mating yard to "force" the queen to mate with the selected drone mother colonies from the same yard? Since she can't fly far enough to find other drones? Or is the beekeeper expected to have outlying drone mother colonies surrounding the isolated mating yard at lets say a mile or two away?
 

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If there really are no wild bees in the forest then yes the queens will mate with drones from your apiary. But if you can place other apiaries a mile or two away the queens will mate with drones from them also. There is debate about this and the majority opinion supported by some studies is that drones form DCA's further from their own hives than the distance a queen normally flies as a means to prevent too much mating with drones from her own hive. However my view this is influenced by geography and if you can't establish other apiaries your queens will still mate.

Where did you get your bees from?
 

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here is some refrances for you
http://www.wicwas.com/sites/default/files/articles/Bee_Culture/BC2006-06.pdf
" the colonies to within one quarter to one half mile of the mating yard where the queens are being produced. This is a recommendation Dr. G.H. Cale, Jr., made to all the Starline and Midnite hybrid producers; he knew from experience that this gave better queen mating than obtained if all the drone producing colonies were located within sight of the mating nucs."
http://www.wicwas.com/sites/default/files/articles/Bee_Culture/BC2003-12.pdf

Set out a few mating nucs this spring, if they mate out you don't have an iso yard.
If they mate out, sent them to the Tarpy lab, if they are well mated its probably not worth the extra time to set up there.
I have an iso yard, but its a 5 hr round trip, at this point I don't have any stock that I feel is worth that extra effort.. Buying a few II queens could change that, but at that point the only reason would be to sell queens, and that means they have to be GREAT queens. HOW you raize your queens maters, maby as much as the gentnicis, so that is my fouce at the moment

“Some of these package colonies barely made winter stores, but a few did pretty well, producing 150 to 250 pounds above winter requirements. But one breeder consistently produced queens that developed colonies producing 250 to 450 pounds of honey over winter requirements.
Madison's Farrar, and other government beemen then spent time visiting and making observations of that particular queen breeder, and methodology developed in his queen-rearing operation. The conclusion was the stock was no better than available anywhere else. That's right! When we reared queens from that stock or from stock obtained from the poorly performing groups, we turned out very high-performance queens. So it wasn't the stock that was good -- it was the queen breeder.”
-Steve Tabor Breeding Super Bees


Only been keeping bees since May 10th 2018. Purchased 3 nucs and by July had turned them into 18 hives when I found queen cells and I caught the swarms. View attachment 46129
I understand you have gotten a taste of success and your very enthusiastic(been there!!).
But your not a full year in yet, and with all the swarming and splitting you had, there is no reasonable way to eveulate what you have for selection, or any reason to think that its "better" then whats around you(it may not be) so at this point picking a breeder and drone mother is a crap shoot.
Spend a year or two on the basics and develop sold grafting and cell building skills, along with good records of genetic lines and performance in production hives.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
HOW you raize your queens maters, maby as much as the gentnicis,

Totally agreed, I am following Michael Palmers method because it looks a good way to turn out top quality well fed queens.






I understand you have gotten a taste of success and your very enthusiastic(been there!!).
But your not a full year in yet, and with all the swarming and splitting you had, there is no reasonable way to eveulate what you have for selection, or any reason to think that its "better" then whats around you(it may not be) so at this point picking a breeder and drone mother is a crap shoot.
Spend a year or two on the basics and develop sold grafting and cell building skills, along with good records of genetic lines and performance in production hives.[/QUOTE]

Solid advice no doubt...thanks!
 

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They were California Carniolan Nucs.
Sounds like a generic, throw-away "almond bee".
I would not even bother with all the mating dances, unless have spare time to experiment and practice (a good thing in itself, with the understanding for what it is).

Hunting for actual feral bees in those forests, however, could produce something much more interesting as for me (I wish I was close enough!).
 

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I have access to an isolated mating yard.
Is it truely isolated ? The only way to tell, set out a mating nuc devoid of drones, then see if the young queen ends up mated and laying worker brood.

FWIW, I was at a presentation last fall by a former researcher talking about just this subject. They had a location way out in the sticks, over a hundred km from nearest civilization with lots of long strait roads (oil patch) and no bees in the area. They wanted to test a theory about how far queens and drones will fly, so they set up a drone mother yard in a clearing then started down the road placing mating nucs with ripe cells every 2km for 50km. They came back a few weeks later and checked mating nucs. Every mating nuc out to 28kn from the mother yard had a mated queen, and those beyond 28km had drone layers. His takeaway message, if you think your yard is isolated just because it's 10 miles from the nearest other beekeepers bees, you need to re-think that. The yard actually has to be on an island or 50+km (30+ miles) from other sources of bees before you can truely consider it isolated.
 

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Is it truely isolated ? The only way to tell, set out a mating nuc devoid of drones, then see if the young queen ends up mated and laying worker brood.

FWIW, I was at a presentation last fall by a former researcher talking about just this subject. They had a location way out in the sticks, over a hundred km from nearest civilization with lots of long strait roads (oil patch) and no bees in the area. They wanted to test a theory about how far queens and drones will fly, so they set up a drone mother yard in a clearing then started down the road placing mating nucs with ripe cells every 2km for 50km. They came back a few weeks later and checked mating nucs. Every mating nuc out to 28kn from the mother yard had a mated queen, and those beyond 28km had drone layers. His takeaway message, if you think your yard is isolated just because it's 10 miles from the nearest other beekeepers bees, you need to re-think that. The yard actually has to be on an island or 50+km (30+ miles) from other sources of bees before you can truely consider it isolated.
Another nugget of gold from Grozzie2!!

Thanks for contributing!!
 

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The yard actually has to be on an island or 50+km (30+ miles) from other sources of bees before you can truly consider it isolated.
I don't think that's the take home from that experiment. I would argue it doesn't mean the queen and the drone flew a combined 28km to meet up in one flight, all the work indicates they don't have the "gass" to do it
In this experiment there were sources of bees every 2km, drones hop hives to the tune of almost 50% end up in a different hive and they often hop as many as three hives ( CURRIE 1982)


After mating, samples of worker larvae were taken from the 41 queens that mated successfully and genotyped at 11 DNA microsatellite loci. Paterni ty analyseswere then carried out to determine mating distances and isolation. An average of 10.2 fathers were detected among the 16 worker progeny. After correction for non-detection and non-sampling errors, the mean effective mating frequency of the test queens was estimated to be 17.2, which is a normal figure for honey bees. Ninety percent of the matings occurred within a distance of 7.5 km, and fifty percent with in 2.5 km. The maximal mating distance recorded was 15 km
Jensen (2005) Quantifying honey bee mating range and isolation in semi-isolated valleys by DNA microsatellite paternity analysis

"isolation" such as it can be found is only step one, then you have to flood the area with target drones..
 

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Msl quoted:
"Ninety percent of the matings occurred within a distance of 7.5 km, and fifty percent with in 2.5 km. The maximal mating distance recorded was 15 km"
This is well in line with the very extensive studies done in Germany. It is all depending on bee density, but 8-10 km is considered safe enough for breeding.

I personally could also see my 8 km mating station work well. Bees outside this circle were mostly mine.
Just after couple mating rounds (2-4 years) and my bees started to get uniform outlooks. After 1995 all my queens came from this mating station (or the other similar), as a basic rule, all free mated queens were changed. Of course some exceptions occurred.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hello Juhani, In your isolated mating yard do you have the drone mother colonies a kilometer or two away from the mating yard or do you keep the drones in the same yard as the queens to be mated? It sure would be easier to keep them all together because here black bears are many and all hives will need electric protection.
 

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I lived near the Chequemegon National forest for years...and I'm an AVID hunter that spends months in the woods. Cannot say I EVER ran into a feral hive. Even if there are a few, they are so far spread apart it shouldn't bother your mating yard.
I myself have thought about putting some hives on my property up there, but would also have to set up other colonies to propagate drones from many different queens to be successful. having someone near you that raises LOCAL stock of bees would seem a better option than attempting isolation...Isolation seems a good idea if there is a serious program in place to produce a certain breed of bee....not so much for the average Joe hobby beekeeper..... I'm no expert whatsoever. Just my take on the situation. Look forward to hearing how it all works out for you. Good luck.


P.S. You better invest in a Electric Bear fence.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank KevinWI, I guess I am planning on doing this queen rearing on a fairly large scale, maybe 400-500 queens a year. I have read Buckfast Abbey and am in the middle of Breeding the Honey Bee by Bro Adam as well. I am very interested in breeding strong northern queens and doing some crossbreeding. So this isolated yard idea is sort of thinking ahead perhaps, this year I do plan to raise some queens but I may just do it all right at the home place as to not overwhelm myself.
 

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Thank KevinWI, I guess I am planning on doing this queen rearing on a fairly large scale, maybe 400-500 queens a year. I have read Buckfast Abbey and am in the middle of Breeding the Honey Bee by Bro Adam as well. I am very interested in breeding strong northern queens and doing some crossbreeding. So this isolated yard idea is sort of thinking ahead perhaps, this year I do plan to raise some queens but I may just do it all right at the home place as to not overwhelm myself.
invest in a good, dependable electric bear fence or your investment will get wiped out in one day.
 

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I am very interested in breeding strong northern queens and doing some crossbreeding..
..California Carniolan Nucs. ..
You see, right there you have a problem start.

Ask around for existing strong northern queens - locally.
That should be a good starting point and will save your many iterations that someone already have done for you.
I know few people around me have been running their local stocks for many generations.
People on this exact forum sell locally raised WI bees, I think.
People on the Dane county beekeepers board sell locally (am sure other county groups as well).
Ask around.
If I was looking for a good start raising queens - would be a registered user on every county beekeepers group in WI and be asking for local bees there.
 
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