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Thread: Unmated queens.

  1. #11
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    I sold 40 (actually 42) 10 day old queen cells for £80 a few years ago, apparently almost all hatched ok after travelling a couple of hours in an insulated box but only around 20 useful mated queens resulted. I usually expect slightly better results placing cells in my own nucs but if I'm honest I don't seem to get the returns I read about quoted elsewhere, if I graft 40 cells I usually get 35 plus queen cells that survive the cull, after placing these in nucs almost all normally hatch but when it comes to harvesting well mated queens with good laying patterns and no visible chalk etc the final total tends to be below 30, depending on the weather when they're mating sometimes nearer 20.

  2. #12
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    I don't think my figures are much different to that and, when I've taught queen rearing to beginner groups, I usually say that a 50% return overall is to be expected. As my grafting has improved I get more picky over what constitutes a well-mated good queen, so I suspect my overall success rate hasn't changed too much over the last 5 years.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
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    My previous post does no seem to have popped up but no matter I cannot remember what I posted thanks for the info.I was chatting at a meeting recently and the discussion came up.One chap said he knows someone producing 1200 mated queens (Now I dont know but you have to listen to thunder) at €40 per pop. Anyway I suggested if you could get that many mated how many unmated could he produce. I always knew there was money in this bee keeping just figuring out how to get it out. as I am always investing in bits and pieces of equipment and it just costs money, now I have more tools table saw, drill etc I reckon everything will be ok well that was my excuse for getting more tools.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by busybeephilip View Post
    Its all about genetics
    So - I can see this might apply for AI, or if someone has access to an isolated mating station but for most people these conditions don't apply. If you buy in an unmated Q or even a Q cell, and get her mated (maybe with your own drones) then you must be relatively satisfied with the drone half of the equation and I assume their mothers.
    Or you buy in an unmated Q and let her fly in your locality then its up to chance what you get after she mates so little control over genetics. Just seems a bit of wishful thinking and there are always people out there who will take advantage.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feckless Drone View Post
    So - I can see this might apply for AI, or if someone has access to an isolated mating station but for most people these conditions don't apply. If you buy in an unmated Q or even a Q cell, and get her mated (maybe with your own drones) then you must be relatively satisfied with the drone half of the equation and I assume their mothers.
    Or you buy in an unmated Q and let her fly in your locality then its up to chance what you get after she mates so little control over genetics. Just seems a bit of wishful thinking and there are always people out there who will take advantage.
    But the drones produced in the first generation will all be the "brought in" genetics

  6. #16
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbc View Post
    But the drones produced in the first generation will all be the "brought in" genetics
    Yes, and one short term fix is to buy a mated queen and requeen all your stock with her daughters. The drones the daughter queens produce will be of the same race/genetics as the initial queen you bought as they are haploid and their genetics is independent of whatever the daughters mated with.
    If the queen you buy has mated with a dozen or more drones you should be getting a reasonable amount of variation in the stock.
    You then graft from an unrelated queen in the expectation that she will mate with the drones from these colonies you have set up. Never guaranteed 100% though as drones can fly in from elsewhere.

  7. #17

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    In Jürgen Tautz book "The buzz about bees" they describe experiments on queen matings and drone congregation areas. To summarize:- the drones from your apiary will fly to a different congregation area (nearer) than the virgin queens, which will fly to another congregation area (further away). It seems to work like this to prevent inbreeding of queens with their own drones. So unless you have isolated mating sites where there is no alternative source of drones the chances of your queens mating with drones from the same apiary don't seem too good.
    Without access to a good PCR machine etc it can be quite difficult to know exactly what is happening. I know that the exotic designer bees I use revert back to local mongrels within 2 generations, which suggests my queens are not mating with drones from my apiaries. And I live in a quite isolated area of North Yorkshire with the nearest beekeepers 3-4 miles away, so even with these distances it does suggest Tautz's findings may well be right.

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