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Thread: Q rearing by numbers

  1. #1
    Senior Member Kate Atchley's Avatar
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    Default Q rearing by numbers

    Our Ardnamurchan Amm bees are doing well and we hope to welcome a further 12 queens from Colonsay later this year. Meanwhile I'm planning the queen rearing for this year with the 5 colonies we have so far. Would those of you who've done lots of queen rearing with native bees please share your wisdom/experience re the following:
    • is it important to use different colonies for providing larvae for queens and drones for mating (broader gene pool expected next year)?
    • drone flooding best to use frames filled with drone foundation or will wired foundation for supers fitted into brood frame do?
    • drone flooding how many 'drone' frames (of whichever kind you recommend) per colony?
    • mini-nuc numbers: how many queens to be mated from mini-nucs at any one time, with these 5 colonies?
    • any other suggestions?

    Lots of beekeepers out there so bracing myself for even more different strategies!

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    1. You could graft from just one queen but it is good to have a wide variety of unrelated drone producing colonies. If you have several good queens to graft from, better still.
    2. both will do. I try and get at least 2 drone combs into every drone producing colony, more if it is a double brood colony.
    3. Re mini nucs, you should be able to set up hundreds if your 5 colonies are producing thousands of drones each.

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    Senior Member Kate Atchley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    3. Re mini nucs, you should be able to set up hundreds if your 5 colonies are producing thousands of drones each.
    Thanks Jon, to the point as ever. Better get a new mortgage for the MNs!

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    I bought another 50 in February. Order from Swienty. There is a great Sterling/Euro rate at the moment. Mine worked out at less than 16 each including the carriage from Denmark.

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    Senior Member Kate Atchley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    I bought another 50 in February. Order from Swienty. There is a great Sterling/Euro rate at the moment. Mine worked out at less than 16 each including the carriage from Denmark.
    See what you mean. Thanks. Tempting to buy lots as the per-item cost is scaled!

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Some of us are using Lyson MiniPlus nucs instead (or at least I will be once they arrive). Again, cheaper in bulk and sometimes with a bit of haggling. Cheaper per queen mated than an Apidea and with a top feeder as part of the unit. Several people have said that wintering is easier in these boxes (after the partition has been taken out) than in Apideas, with one BKF poster saying that his winter losses were the same as larger hives.

    Abelo for a UK supplier, also sold by Icko in France (if you can get them to talk to you!) and Wilara in Lithuania where prices are particularly keen at the moment.

    There is another design of MiniPlus for sale without the partition and with only entrance, be careful you get the right one if queen rearing is your aim.

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    On the size of the gene pool, it depends. If you are planning continually bringing in breeder stock then the number of queens used now doesn't matter too much. But be wary of restricting the diversity. In general 50+ colonies are advised in a breeding group and you should spread queen raising around several to many of your better queens.

    If, for example, you graft only from one queen all summer and requeen all your stocks with that line (mated with a diversity of drones) then there will be only a maximum of two different alleles at each gene for each drone in your population next year. Drones come from only the genes carried in the queen's own cells, and none of the genetic variation she carries in her spermatheca gets used for drones (they come from unfertilised eggs of course). This is very likely to lead to serious inbreeding.

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Thing is, there are quite a number of groups working with Amm in Scotland Ireland and Wales and we could work together with regard to the genetic material.

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    also sold by Icko in France (if you can get them to talk to you!)
    Is there a problem ... I just ordered a new toy from them and they were straightforward to deal with and delivered v. fast.

  10. #10

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    Just been on Icko's website for the first time - never heard of them till reading this thread. Some nice stuff on there. Especially liked the title for the mini-nuc part of their catalogue - "The nucleus of fecundation". Great stuff! Can't we have a category on the forum for discussing the "The nucleus of fecundation"?!!

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