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Author Topic: Best time to rear queens  (Read 495 times)
RHBee
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« on: May 19, 2014, 09:33:22 AM »

I see that a lot of effort is expended trying to raise queens in the spring. Spring can be problematic in that poor weather conditions and a lack of mature drones make proper mating difficult. Is there any problems with raising queens in the summer for requeening your colonies in the fall?
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Ray
Colobee
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2014, 09:13:09 PM »

Late spring is obviously the first choice in nature - "A swarm in May...". Established wisdom and observation suggests July- "ain't worth a fly", is the beginning of the end for natural (un-aided) success. Reliable flows (or substitute feeding) are a critical ingredient. I wouldn't hesitate to try raising queens in the summer around here, as I would be giving them all the help I could no matter what. My best small scale attempts were somewhat successful - beautiful mated laying queens HALF the time. The other half was a lot of equipment, brood & time invested for naught. A great experience, but not very economical. I tried, on a small scale, for 3 years, then went back to store bought. I'll probably try again. It IS both fascinating AND rewarding!
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RayMarler
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 02:15:07 AM »

Here in my location, May thru July works well, March and April is good for earlier queens but weather is problematic. August is too late, is a dearth from August thru mid October.
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Colobee
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 05:20:31 PM »

Though limited in years, my more successful efforts were achieved with mid-June mating flights. July was a bust the year I tried. Colorado - not the best place in the grand scheme, but it has it's moments...
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 12:58:13 AM »

There are two conventional wisdoms as far as I've heard about when to raise queens, and also replace them. Spring, and fall. As was stated above, spring is often a typical time because things are just getting started again, they are building up the hive, and there is time to tweak things if they go wonky.

Fall is often the choice because, as was also stated above spring has storms, bad weather which can screw mating flights, if that happens, build up can be delayed seriously very easily,etc,etc,etc. Fall however is after large build-up (You can check the cycle and should know it for your area anyways frankly.) you also allow the strong (Hopefully) old queen build up continuously which builds up the hive population without a break, and is able to capitalize on early flows if you have them as well as later flows/etc. Always great to have a hive built up in timing with the flows of your area, surely. However, if something goes wrong late in the season well then you can be screwed really easily and can run out of time for the winter transition, or the fall storm seasons roll in, let alone the cold comes early.

I typically raise in the spring, keep in builder hives during the summer, know if it is a good layer or not, and replace or not depending on factors of if it is a productive one year queen, or replace if it is a second year queen regardless, and do my joins in the later part of the summer. If you requeen, and join you will have a jump at first, because you are joining, but then you will have  a slight dip but population will usually stabilize in about 37 days. and around oct, or so drones will decrease as the hive slims down for winter.
 Using the OTS system, purposely moves the peak hive population into a later period to offset Mite peak times later into the season to where before they can peak enough to weaken a hive for the winter, they remain lower as the drones are lessened and thus lesser mite #'s. they are then hit again when drone production is ceased completely later.
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capt44
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 10:02:41 PM »

I raise queens in the spring with the aid of a cabinet style incubator I built for queen cells.
I keep it set at 92 degrees F with a humidity of 60-80%.
I purchased a humidifier for the incubator.
A lot of folks are splitting hives and such and want queens.
I also try and have queen available in mid to late June.
That will build up the population for a good cluster going into winter.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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