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Queen rearing question. How early?

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  • Queen rearing question. How early?

    I was watching Solomon’s video about expansion model beekeeping. And see that being able to split and make queens will be important. Splits here in SHB country is iffy. Figure make queens even if using queen cells to start split it will be 10 days ahead of a walk away split. So in view of that I have one hive that is going gangbusters lots of activity, lots of bees, plenty pollen going in. I see drone brood and adult drones. Still December but I live in a mild winter area. Still shorts and t- shirt weather for me (probably boiling for a MN native). Question I have is when would I know that it is going to have the right conditions to have enough drones to mate with any queens that are produced?

  • #2
    Are your drones flying or just hanging out in the hive? Will it get cold enough the bees stop flying? If you see drones coming in and out of your hives, they will be looking to mate.

    Why are splits iffy? If the hives are naturally swarming and surviving, they will survive a split. Just be sure to manage the space. Too much space after a split and the bees can not guard it all. When they can't guard it all is when you start having SHB problems.

    Chris

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    • #3
      I really need to add location data to the user data.

      The answer is it totally depends on your climate. You may be able to make queens now, I don't know. When are your flows? Best time is on a flow. Everything goes better on a flow.
      100% Treatment-Free, 16 years.
      Medford, Oregon, USA

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      • #4
        Kula, Maui. 3500 feet elevation. Over night lows in the mid 40s. Days in the 70s. Things blooming. But we never really get a flush of blooms. So nectar flow is constant minimum all the time.

        As as for the problems with splits. Mild climate means we got high populations of small hive beetles all year long. Much worse at the school hives as they are just a few feet above sea level.

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        • #5
          Does the Kona operation raise queen year round?
          100% Treatment-Free, 16 years.
          Medford, Oregon, USA

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          • #6
            Yes. They should be going already. Figuring on needing about 40 days to know if the queen is mated and laying well. However they are lower elevation area on south shore. Maybe they have cool mornings due to convective cooling and the huge mountain they are sitting on. They might actually get flushed of blooming and nectar flows.

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            • #7
              Every year I try it early and don't do that well. The next week it's better and it hits its peak of success about the middle of swarm season, which most years here is about the middle of May to the Middle of June. Then it works pretty well until a dearth. You have better luck waiting until you see significant amounts of drones.
              Nehawka, Nebraska. My website: bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm em portugues: bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm My book: ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
              -----"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin-----

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              • #8
                That helps. Swarm season is an odd thing in Hawaii . Fed to November. On the average it gets adjusted one month later for the higher elevation areas. So typically swarms start in april in my area, but have been happening in March as the winters have been really warm lately. I have been trying to gauge based on flowers blooming and over time the cherry trees are blooming earlier and earlier. They started in December. Should be February. These El Ninio weather patterns are not helping. How much would be a significant amount of drones? I would not be surprised at all if we have the start of queen cells at the hives down near sea level.

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                • #9
                  video at the school:
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va0Et30ql1o

                  bee activity. I think we have flow starting nicely with the kiewe trees
                   

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                  • #10
                    watching hive activity and did a check . This one hive is way ahead of the rest of the hives at home. Others still in low gear. If i do manage to get to make queens I can see that this queen's colony might be better adapted to my local conditions without being super face melting. But looking at all the hive together can see that the rest are lagging behind and if they represent the general population in the area maybe not enough drones to get the new queens mated. So setting up for "Ben Harden Method" got brood being worked in all locations. Then re asses weather, plant phenology, hive activity end of month and prepare.

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                    • #11
                      I tend to look for capped drone brood in the hive. When most of the drone brood is capped, it's a good time to start queen rearing. This will give the drones enough time to emerge, harden and start flying. I run foundationless, so there is no shortage of drone comb.
                      Neill Sayers
                      Herbhome Farm
                      Arkansas Ozarks, USA
                      Zone 7a

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                      • #12
                        That is more or less my thinking but in our conditions there is drone brood all year round. Never really stops 100%. Never really looked to do censuses to see population upswings to see when it starts to increase.

                        Same with the foundationless frames.

                        Just one hive activly growing rowing and building. The rest are kicking back waiting for weather to warm up. I guess 40s at night is cold .... scratches head.

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                        • BobTheBuilder
                          BobTheBuilder commented
                          Editing a comment
                          If you have drones all year round I'd start so the new queens are born in the middle of a honeyflow.

                      • #13
                        Inspected hives on Kauai. Queen cells happening there. much lower elevation. warmer. First swarm report occurred for me on Maui West side of island near sea level..... Month early

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                        • #14
                          adjacent hive had queen cell. I am guessing things are getting ready. Just the weather is being unpredictable. bees were grumpy when I peaked inside. I guess they are not happy with all the wind and rain also....

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                          • BobTheBuilder
                            BobTheBuilder commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Yeah, nasty weather makes grumpy bees to work with. Keep the updates coming!

                        • #15
                          First swarms seem to be happening. Queen cells starting. But last week these had larvae. Did they abort them? I am guessing start of swarm cells.

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