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Author Topic: Drone Mother Colony Questions  (Read 2024 times)
dpence
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« on: January 06, 2009, 07:06:56 PM »

Hello all,

I am hoping to try my luck at rearing queens this year again.  Still in the learning stages and taking notes from my mistakes last year.  I know the mature drone population is crucial to getting a well mated queen.  I have set some hives on a farm that are far enough away for drone production (about 10 miles) and have room for a mating yard on the same farm in a different area.   My question is when or how much lead time (prior to grafting) should a person give a drone mother colony to produce drones on new foundation?  I am thinking of trying Pierco drone frames.  Maybe I should introduce a second drone frame 2 weeks later also, to insure flooding of drones. Second question, where in the brood should the drone cell be placed?  I am thinking between pollen stores and worker cells.  The colonies I am using for drone mothers are Russian double deeps.   Thanks for your input. 

David
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 08:33:58 PM »

Too complicated for me.  I just don't start queens until I see drones flying.  Then it's time.  How early that is is up to the bees.  You can put whatever you like in the hive, you can't make the raise drones when they aren't ready and you can't stop them when they are.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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dpence
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 10:17:56 PM »

Humm...makes sense.  And a lot depends on the weather too.  Last year it rained so much it narrowed the window for mating flights of queens.  Oh well will give it my best shot trying time it during the swarm season and hope for sunny weather.

David

   
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2009, 05:52:41 AM »

>And a lot depends on the weather too.  Last year it rained so much it narrowed the window for mating flights of queens.

That happened a lot last year here.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2009, 08:34:37 PM »

main sign to start raising queens is looking for drones brood, then you need to add couple weeks for mature drones after they hatch to be good breeding times, plan your queen rearing for when the queens hatch to close to that time the drones are mature. thats how I know when to get started.
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dpence
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2009, 10:54:36 PM »

The timing is where I made mistakes.  I guess though you can't rush the bees as Michael said.  Keeping a hive on the verge of swarming gets interesting, but then that seems to be the best environment on both ends of the spectrum during the spring flow.  Just waiting for the dandelions... grin

David
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Brandy
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2009, 06:56:28 PM »

I've found it better to wait until just after swarm season depending on how many hives you have.  Concentrate on keeping your hives out of the bushes, picking up swarm calls and catcher hives.  Getting cell builders and breeder colonies built up and by then your weather has moderated and you won't lose the first batch of cells due to cool weather, lack of drones etc...  At least in my area spring is Variable, and cool winds will play havoc all around. 
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RayMarler
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 01:43:35 AM »

I use Pierco drone frames and think they work great. The Drones need to be 10 days old to be mature, and they take 24 days from the lay of the egg to hatch so 34 days from the laying of drone eggs you'll have mature drones looking for virgins. starting a drone comb once a week then transferring that comb to a drone colony is a good strategy. As you transfer in a drone comb to a drone colony, also transfer in a frame of hatching brood is a good idea. also transfer in a frame of nectar helps if you can, and keep a feeder on it.

Queens take 16 +/- 1 days depending on temps to hatch from the laying of the egg, and another 4 to 10 days to fly for mating, and usually are laying within 14 days from hatching. Sometimes they take longer, but in my experience, the best queens are mated and laying within 14 days of hatching.

I myself start the queen rearing system 1 week after the laying of drone eggs.

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dpence
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2009, 11:37:38 AM »

Thanks for all the helpful tips.  I am thinking in my area June would be a good time to rear queens.  My first swarm appeared June 5th last year, but we had odd weather too.  Glad to hear the Pierco frames work well, I'll order some this month.  I know it will require a good deal of planning and watching the calendar to pull it off.  Good thing I have a big white board... grin

David   
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