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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys

I have a question about virgin queens being successfully mated when there are only say a few hives in the apiary. Will there be enough drones in 2-3 hives to really have her found and mated in the congregation areas? Which would be small, of course.

Just wondering for the future, I am building back up to several hives, right now have 2 going and just started.

In case at some point I have virgin queens to handle, really got to wondering just how many drones are needed for her to have a shot at a decent mating.
 

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If you have two hives where the queens are not immediate sisters you should be OK for one round of mating. After that everybody is cousins and you might get inbreeding. Colonies have some built-in diversity because the queen mates with multiple drones, but one side of her genetics are always hers and that's where the lack of diversity lies.

Know your neighbors. If there are other hives close by you may have outsider drones and you'll be fine. Otherwise, queens can be mated with outside drones artificially or by moving a hive or nuc, or you can buy or trade for mated queens. This is a good reason to join a local beekeeper's association.

We're in the same situation, miles from the nearest other apiary with only two hives.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>Will there be enough drones in 2-3 hives to really have her found and mated in the congregation areas?

There are probably 20 or more feral colonies per square mile out there contributing drones to the Drone Congregation Area. Maybe as many as 100 per square mile in some locations. What is in your apiary is irrelevant. I've been raising my own queens with only a few hives for 26 years or so before I grew to a lot of hives. I've never seen a problem with the queen getting mated if it was the time of year there were drones flying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks everyone, that really does help!

I wasn't aware what the feral population really was out here, though I have seen a good amount of swarms.

Of course there's always the Africanized problem ...
 
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