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Thread: apidea management and grafting photos

  1. #11
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    What do you reckon your %rate is regarding mating succesfully
    Last year which was my first season grafting and using apideas in volume mating success was around 50%.
    It rains all the time in Ireland.

    This year of the first 16 I set out, three queens went missing, two turned into drone layers and 11 are mated well.
    I check every few days and if I find a queen is missing I immediately put in another queen cell or a virgin.

    I have another 30 or so with virgins in and they should have flown on Saturday or Sunday with the brief spell of warm and sunny weather.
    Another 15 or so had queen cells inserted yesterday, due to hatch today.

    how long do you leave queen in apidea once laying or do you whip them out quick to reuse apidea again.
    Whicking them out too early has been linked to early supersedure or rejection. There is Australian research to show that the optimum age for introducing a new mated queen is 28-35 days old. The pheromone level is low at first and then builds up.
    I used a couple for requeening at the weekend and they had been laying for 21 or 22 days as the first brood was hatching in the apidea.

    Edit. having checked the paper in the post below I think the best introduction times refer to the age of the queen rather than the number of days since she started to lay.
    Last edited by Jon; 05-07-2011 at 10:28 AM.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Here is the reference re. best age to use a new queen.

    John Rhodes and Graham Denney

    This project aimed to identify critical areas in queen bee production and introduction, that may be contributing to low acceptance and poor early performance being reported with commercially reared queen bees.

    Beekeepers have not been satisfied with the introduction success rate and early performance of commercially reared queen bees for a number of years.

    Queen bees from five commercial queen bee breeders produced in spring and in autumn were introduced into honey production apiaries belonging to three commercial beekeepers. Survival rates of test queens and older control queens were monitored at 4- week intervals for 16 weeks. Data considered critical to the survival and performance of test and control queens were recorded.

    A significant loss of 30% of spring reared queens occurred compared to a loss of 13% of autumn reared queens. Control queen losses were 17% during the spring trial and average of 5% for the autumn trial. The age of the queen at introduction, numbers of spermatozoa stored in the queen’s spermatheca, Nosema disease, physical damage to the queen during transport, and external hive conditions were identified as factors, which may have contributed to the queen bee failures.

    Further trial work investigated survival rates of commercially reared queen bees introduced into commercial honey production apiaries when the queens being introduced were 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 days of age. The minimum age at which queen bees should be caught from mating nuclei lies between 28 and 35 days, this provided the premium survival after 15 weeks of 66.25% (60% when queens caught at 28 day and 72.5% when queens caught at 35 days).

    This project is continuing and has lead to more beekeepers requeening colonies in the autumn and commercial queen breeders catching queens from nucleus colonies at between 28 and 35 days so the purchased queens have a better chance of survival.

    http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/u..._australia.htm

  3. #13
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    There are about 30 apideas with virgin queens at my allotment and this afternoon some were flying.

    I witnessed a mating flight, the queen and all the bees from the apidea.
    The queen fell short and the bees clustered around her.

    apidea mating swarm.jpg



    I searched around until I found the empty apidea. It was about 25 feet away. We had checked this one the previous evening with the queen rearing group and the queen was seen and no eggs or brood noted.

    empty apidea.jpg

    I brought the apidea over to the cluster of bees and they marched in. I actually saw the queen go in while balancing the apidea in my left hand and recording the video with my right.



    When most of the bees were in I put the apidea back in its spot. The bees fanned at the entrance.

    bees fanning on front of apidea.jpg

    Because the bees were fanning another virgin on a simultaneous mating flight accompanied by bees was attracted in by the fanning bees. The second empty apidea was about 10 feet away from this one.



    I opened it up and found the bees balling a queen.



    I put the ball in a dish of water and rescued the queen to a roller cage.

    bee ball in water.jpg

    queen being balled saved to roller cage.jpg

    I saw a second queen on the floor of the apidea.

    The problem was that all the bees were now in the one apidea. I put the roller cage with the queen in a third apidea from which I had removed a laying queen last Saturday. I will release her tomorrow if all is well. She should be mated now. I will put an excluder on and watch for eggs in a couple of days.

    The queen being balled was a far better one than the one I saw on the floor. Sod's law as usual
    Last edited by Jon; 29-06-2011 at 12:50 PM.

  4. #14

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    Lol. Good to see the bees keeping you on your toes.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    It's Picadilly Circus at the moment. I still have over 50 apideas set out and most of them have virgins so never a dull moment on a warm afternoon.
    That queen had better turn out to be a good'un after I went to the bother of extricating her from a ball of assassins. Having said that I sense an impending drone layer.

    But even a drone layer has its place in the choir. One I removed from an apidea on Saturday volunteered itself to demonstrate clipping and marking to a beginner group earlier this evening and is now back home in a roller cage on top of my aquarium with a short left wing and a blue spot on it.

  6. #16

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    FIFTY !!! Maybe if I win the lottery and able to retire early I'll get the chance to get to that kind of level. Until then its prayer mat every night now for my half dozen nucs. Been a great learning curve this season but definately like the idea of mating boxes for next season and making nuc up once queen laying. Have you tried the Kieler box from modern ? Seems not a bad price although ive managed to find a site with apideas for 16.50.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    They are not all mine. I have 18 and the rest belong to members of the queen rearing group.
    Apideas are good investment. The first mated queen means it has paid for itself.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I haven't got as many as Jon. Queens will go to the wrong hive though. However Nucs get their queens back more often and are less liable to abscond than a mini-nuc in my experience. I think it makes sense to spread mini-nucs out far and wide so there is less chance of a queen going into the wrong one. With the weather we have, we get a couple of good days and all the virgins will go up and mate at the same time and then come back and not know where to go.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Hi Adam
    The fanning at the entrance pulls the queens in, sometimes more than one unfortunately. I never intended to have so many in one place but people keep dropping them off.
    I have rescued 3 clusters so far like the one in the video above.
    Very few queens have actually gone missing. Of more than 50 apideas, I think there are only two or three without a queen.
    I am using your record card in all of them and it is a godsend. There is no way I could remember which ones have queens and which haven't a couple of days later.

    There are still those who don't accept that queens leave with a bodyguard of bees on a mating flight but I have seen this a dozen times now. The curious thing is that every bee from the apidea accompanies the queen. I wonder if under normal circumstances there is a fixed number of queen escorts, 500+, which is greater than the total number of bees in an apidea leading to its total abandonment as the bees accompany her. I wonder does the same thing happen in full colonies. It certainly happens with nucs as a couple of years ago I had two queens land short in almost exactly the same spot and the bees with them balled each others queen and killed both.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    If a whole apidea of bees flies off with the queen there is no-one at home to fan for the return to guide them in so there must be a hgher chance of loss in these occasions. I think that thre is an advantage to have some brood in the apidea to 'anchor' some bees in the colony; once the remaining bees realise their queen has gone, some will go out to the entrance and fan her back me thinks. I was making a ham-fisted attemp at marking a queen at the weekend and she wriggled out of my fingers and flew off. First thing to do in this intance is to put the colony back together and leave, which I did. Within 30 seconds there were loads of bees outside fanning like mad as they knew she had gone. I would assume that a 3 week old queen in a small box is overloading the bees with her pheromone and they notice its loss very quickly. She came back and has now been clipped. She is still quite 'flighty;' I expect she will settle down soon.
    Last edited by Adam; 04-07-2011 at 11:45 AM.

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