Earliest time to rear queens

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specialkayme
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Earliest time to rear queens

Post by specialkayme » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:23 pm

What's the earliest in the year you graft for your queens?

Trying to do some planning for next season, and I usually don't graft until I see purple eye drones. Depending on how much I feed, I can see purple eye drones in mid February some years. Just looking for some comparisons.

Jacobs
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Re: Earliest time to rear queens

Post by Jacobs » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:26 pm

I haven't been grafting, but the mid-February seems right for the early appearance of purple eyed drone larvae. Based on the 2013 post on this board, we were seeing drones flying in some hives just before February 15th. I am more cautious and do not want to put mated queens in nucs and let the larger origin hives make queen cells until I see at least a few drones flying. I am not producing queens for commercial purposes and am not under any pressure to maximize production. If we get a bad week or 10 days as or just after purple eyed drones appear, I don't want to risk getting poorly mated queens or queens that could not go up on mating flights because of an extended early period of cool/cold weather. If a break in cold weather allows for mating flights, I would feel better knowing there are likely a good number of mature drones flying.

specialkayme
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Re: Earliest time to rear queens

Post by specialkayme » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:44 pm

Thanks. That sounds fairly consistent with what I remember. Based on my memory, I'd sometimes see some drones flying in the second week in February, but usually not many. Most purple eyed drones I remembered seeing were in the first or second week in February.

My current plan is to do my first round of grafting February 15th, which should make for mating flights around the first week in March. It's sooner than I usually push for the first mating flights, but I'm planning on doing my first set of multiple rounds of queens, where you plant the new cell as you pluck the old queen from the mating nuc. I want to pull my last set of queens around the end of June, which would make for a first round of grafting either March 12th or February 15th. March 12th was a little too late, and February 15th might be pushing it a little too early. But we'll see.

Because I'm planning on doing 5 rounds of queens (maybe 6, if the dearth doesn't hit me hard), if the first set doesn't come out well I haven't lost much. And gained some experience for 2019.

In any event, thanks for the response.

frank
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Re: Earliest time to rear queens

Post by frank » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:01 am

hi,

Can you give an update on your early queen rearing experiences? I practiced rearing a bunch of queens this past summer and am planning to rear some early queens in the spring. Based on your last post, I am thinking on grafting on Feb 23-24.

Thanks

Jacobs
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Re: Earliest time to rear queens

Post by Jacobs » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:02 pm

I hope specialkayme will respond since he has been queen rearing by grafting. I would be especially interested in his timing this past spring (2018). Weather last winter was cooler and more overcast than normal, and spring didn't come in from a weather standpoint until well into April if memory serves. We have a series of posts in the topic "Drones 2018" showing what appears to be later than average drone availability.

Last winter was also one of the worst I have had for hive survival. I am hoping for better this year. Hive health and strength early as well as weather play roles in the ability of hives to raise queens--you have to have drones for queen mating, but you also need lots of younger worker bees to raise healty queens.

AND NOW FOR MY ONGOING RANT. . . . .

I HOPE more folks will start chiming in on this forum with what they are seeing and when, whether we are talking about events in the hives or about what is blooming when. The more local information we put in here, the better resource this forum will be for future local beekeeping planning. The search function is a good tool for pulling up past posts on a given subject and we are beginning to get enough of a body of ongoing posts to permit better educated guesses about what we may see when.

frank
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 9:36 am

Re: Earliest time to rear queens

Post by frank » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:06 pm

Hope specialkayme does respond too. I am still learning as this is my third year of beekeeping. This past summer, I practiced grafting and introducing queens (unfortunately getting some killed).

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