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Author Topic: New queen in small apiary  (Read 4820 times)
Potlicker1
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« on: February 27, 2009, 08:15:13 PM »

This may be an elementary question but I'm curious if there are issues with a supercedure queen getting "properly" mated in a small yard of maybe 3 or 4 colonies. I'd like to do some splits with the queen cells but I'm hesitant that the queen will not get mated. Didn't have real good luck last year.
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annette
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2009, 08:59:56 PM »

My understanding is the queen flys away to a drone congregation area a few miles from the hive and mates with drones that are not even from the same hives.

Am I wrong?Huh
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2009, 09:25:21 PM »

It all depends on the drone population.  Of course if there are other hives or feral colonies in the area, they contribute as well.   I wouldn't hurt to raise some drones from one of the colonies you don't take swarms cells from, but the timing can be tricky.  Drones take longer to sexually mature than queens,  so you must start rearing them before your queen cells are started.
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Potlicker1
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2009, 10:31:10 PM »

I don't believe there are very many colonys being kept in my area although I could be mistaken. Am I wrong to think she may mate with drones from one of my other colonys even though there is only a few? If not, it seems that supercedure is a recipe for disaster and failure of the hive, unless I purchase a mated queen I guess. Sad
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2009, 10:35:49 PM »

I am not a fan of supercedure queens,  but yes she will mate with drones from your other hives.  But don't forget she mates with multiple drones,  so you need to make sure you have a good drone population so she is fully mated.
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RayMarler
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2009, 07:21:07 AM »

Choose your best hive for raising queens from. Add drone combs to the other hives. Add the drone combs on a rotational basis to keep drones of proper mating age in the area where you're mating queens. Start adding the drone combs a couple weeks before you start your queen rearing. You can get Pierco Drone Comb here:
http://www.pierco.net/products_dronecomb.htm
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Potlicker1
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2009, 08:40:04 AM »

When I state concerns about supersedure, I'm really refering to the natural balance that takes place in a hive with a potential failing queen. I'm not looking to raise queens, just concered about my apiarys abillity to sucessfully raise and mate a new queen as they see fit. Ray you mentioned drones of the proper age. What is that and how do you know?
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RayMarler
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2009, 07:42:05 PM »

Drones are of mating age when they are 10 days old, and start dieing off at 20 days old. (BeeSex Essentials by Larry Conner).

From laying of egg to hatching a drone takes 24 days, plus 10 for mating age is 34 days from lay of egg.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_(bee)

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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2009, 10:00:47 PM »

I am not a fan of supercedure queens,  but yes she will mate with drones from your other hives.  But don't forget she mates with multiple drones,  so you need to make sure you have a good drone population so she is fully mated.

Jus out of curiosity... Why don't you like supercedure queens?
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BjornBee
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2009, 10:33:10 PM »

I am not a fan of supercedure queens,  but yes she will mate with drones from your other hives.  But don't forget she mates with multiple drones,  so you need to make sure you have a good drone population so she is fully mated.

Jus out of curiosity... Why don't you like supercedure queens?

Let me take a stab at it...

Supercedure queens come from one of two types supercedure type cells. One could be called a "planned supercedure" as when the queen is starting to fail, and the other is called "emergency supercedure" which is basically when the bees are forced to make queen cells when a queen is killed or removed.

Supercedure queens are made out of need, and may not be at the peak of the hives performance, quality, numbers, honey flow, etc. They make these queens out of worker cells, and some have suggested a smaller sized queens produced from such cells.

Swarm cells on the otherhand, are cells made for queen rearing (from queen cups). Queens are made out of the desire to take advantage of a prime flow, when bees are operating at their peak, when nature dictates an optimal condition within the hive.

Unless the swarm cells are from one of my breeders, I also prefer to control my queens being produced, control mating stock, etc. It makes no sense to evaluate queens and select the best of the best, and then let half my hives raise swarm cells and use these queens, which are outside the breeding criteria.
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2009, 07:47:57 AM »

I agree with Bjorn,  but just to elaborate a bit more on my thoughts.

Supercedure queens -  The current queen is failing or not up to par so she is replaced.  Any concern with the quality of a queen raised from the egg of a poor quality queen?

Emergency queens -  There is no current queen so one is raised from eggs laid in worker cells.  What differentiates a queen from a worker is the food that is fed to the larvae on or around day 3.  This happens to coincide with the bees needing to get the larvae from the horizontal cell to the new vertical cell they build on the face of the comb.  To get the larvae to the correct position,  they float it out on thinned out royal jelly.  Does this thinned out royal jelly have the same nutritional value? Right at the critical time of a larvae being either a worker or a queen.   Also, as Bjorn mentioned there may not be an abundance of resources for the bees to produce quality royal jelly and they just do the best they can.   Are "good enough" queens OK, or do you want the best queens?

Swarm queens - These are produced when the hive is thriving and has an abundance of resources and are produced in queen cups so no larvae floating is needed.   Swarm cell queens are fine queens assuming they are offsprings from a good queen.  For the hobbyist, they are fine, but as Bjorn also stated,  if you are trying to improve your stock, you need to control swarm queens as well.

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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2009, 09:58:05 AM »

I have a question for Robo or Bjorn or both  Smiley  If you have bees that are prone to making and tearing down supersedure cells such as russians does this change their quality?  I'm just wondering if the fact that they are created apparently as a precaution and not out of desperation mean the bees likely do a better job in making a viable replacement queen from such a cell?
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2009, 10:28:40 AM »

I have a question for Robo or Bjorn or both  Smiley  If you have bees that are prone to making and tearing down supersedure cells such as russians does this change their quality?  I'm just wondering if the fact that they are created apparently as a precaution and not out of desperation mean the bees likely do a better job in making a viable replacement queen from such a cell?

I understand what your saying. But supersedure cells, even if always on hand in case they need them, still must take into account seasonal issues, timing, etc.

I see some hives make these queens cells, then tear them down after awhile. The cells are normally started in queen cups, and therefore in my opinion one step up than queens started in worker cells.

I think for some, this discussion of supersedure cells or comparing them to swarm cells, is really about cells that are made after a beekeeper pulls the queen. Then the bees are forced to draw out worker cells into queen cells. I know some who make queens this way. And although it may work out, it is not the optimal situation.

For me, anytime a queen is developed from a worker cell, it is an event dictated by a situation not being the best it can be. I see many smaller queens from supercedure cells, compared to if the bees planned to raise cells from queen cups under optimal conditions.

Keep in mind...that feral colonies, will swarm once or twice a year. This swarming, is a form of supersedure. These queens are almost always made from queen cups. So supercedure cells and queens, is an emergency type situation not normally carried out. We see supersedure much more in managed hives due to unknowingly  smashing a queen, purposely removing the queen, situations where chemicals and tainted queens are being introduced, etc. So supersedure situations are not a normal situation and not the optimal situation. It is being dictated by need, unlike swarming cells that is dictated by desire under the best situation.

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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2009, 11:40:54 AM »

Thanks, I thought as much.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2009, 04:45:47 PM »

Michael Palmer has said, and I agree, that we need to breed bees that can successfully supersede.  Bees that can sense a queen is running out of eggs and gracefully replace her are what we want and need.  Some bees do this very well.  If we interfere, how will we breed such bees?
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BjornBee
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2009, 07:43:48 PM »

Michael Palmer has said, and I agree, that we need to breed bees that can successfully supersede.  Bees that can sense a queen is running out of eggs and gracefully replace her are what we want and need.  Some bees do this very well.  If we interfere, how will we breed such bees?

Everything we do with bees can be considered interfering. Slice and dice rationalization, or selective interpretation, does not change that.

Bees without human intervention (feral colonies) supercede quite well. It's called swarming. But as a beekeeper, I do manipulate my hives beyond what nature dictates. I add supers and dictate expansion and reduction of the brood chamber, keep bees where bees may not of chosen to be, and many other items to include forcing some of them on unnatural smallcell foundation.

I feel that in nature bees do not supercede (replace a failing queen) as much as they do in managed hives. They supercede through swarming. And with perhaps better or more natural advantages in feral colonies and having no beekeeper induce chemicals in the hive, they do not supercede for some of the same reasons that promotes such behavior in managed hives.

I know this is where some will suggest what I say is easily dismissed due to some fact that they have 5 year old queens. But 5 year old queens are not something nature prefers, or encourages. In feral colonies, old queens are cast off in exchange for new younger queens. the older queen has a very slim chance of making it the fist year, especially in colder climates.

Asking or somehow manipulating your bees into not swarming by whatever management you use, and then thinking supercedure at a time that the queen fails is something you should seek, is not natural. I may not be able to quote M.P., but I can show you the natural selection process and what bees desire, which trumps most of what human beekeepers have come up with.  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2009, 08:21:09 PM »

you thought I would be quiet ha  tongue , I know a guy in La. that raises his queens this way (I have never done this so I am just stating what I was told)

he said in the beginning of the main flow he would take a drawn out frame and place it in a hive with the queen he wanted to breed from (wood and wax frame, about 10-15 different hives at the same time ) and wait until she laid eggs in it checking every day, once she laid in the frame he would make a cell builder hive from other hives with only capped brood and young bee's, fill the 10 frame deep full of bee's (mostly young from different hives), put a feeder on and after the after 3 days the eggs hatch and they raise about 20-40 cells on that single frame both sides, he has a feeder on them at the same time, after being capped 4 days he makes up nuc's and cuts out cells the following day and installs the cells in the nuc's.

personally to me he is just using a graft-less method, it has worked for him for about 50 years, I told him that I only graft 15 cells one day and then 15 the next while putting them in a queen right cell builder so I can get top quality queens that are feed as much as they can eat, he laugh and said its not that hard to get good queens but I know different, I also told him queens aren't like they use to be because of pesticides used the last 20 years, he should evolve with the rest of us queen raisers, he just laugh and said if it ain't broke don't fix it.... this ole feller raises and sales about 500 queens a year using this method, and has done this for years......oh and has a good reputation for good queens.... comments?Huh??  grin oh and forgot to say some how these frames are thin wood, he somehow trims the cells down to make them shallower.... I haven't seen it but was told this....
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BjornBee
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2009, 08:49:30 PM »

Ted,
I think what you said probably works well. What he is doing, is controlling the bees environment, feeding, using the flow, etc. I'm sure he does well. But if you asked me which is better, and not just suggest what works, than I still do not like to use worker cells for queen rearing. If I use the same amount of effort, I would rather use queen cups, and forego the whole cutting of cells. I also know exactly how many cells too expect. I've used the method you suggest, and sometimes you get 12, and sometimes you get 24. My operation needs to be more efficient than that.

Many of the items listed previously, mentioned things like supercedure cells at a time of poor flow, at times the bees are not ready to make cells, under stress, etc. Very different than what your friend is doing.

I think the discussion should point out the methods your Friend uses, and the assumptions made, and even promoted in some bees books about supersedure cells found in a hive under less than ideal timing or circumstances. I have read, and some suggested, that when you find sepersedure cells, that these are the best that nature can give you. And that may not be the case. But that is entirely different than the controlled manner that this queen breeder is using.

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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2009, 09:53:34 AM »

OK-I'm glad I found this. I had 3 very strong, 3-deep, 9 (10 size), frame hives that I split about a week ago. I looked at one and saw a few supercedure cells so I hope they are making their own queens. I like these bees as they seem to do well in spite of the SHB & Varroa in this area so I thought I would make splits this way in hopes of getting the genetics. Am I making a mistake by letting them requeen a hive themselves?
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2009, 10:28:00 AM »

My opinion is you taking a more risky approach, and unfortunately worst case is you won't know for sure until late in the fall and have a queen fail.

Are your current conditions ideal for rearing queens?  If it is swarm season in your area, that is a good sign,  but doesn't necessarily mean the particular hive has and abundance of resources.

Don't get me wrong,  I'm a strong proponent of acclimatized bees and raising your own stock, but it is not as simple as yanking a queen and wa la, they make another one the same.
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