Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Queens, Hives All Over the Place

 Here's the latest picture of the home yard.

There's been a lot going on and not enough time to write about it and a deficit of pictures to explain.  

But here's one that should explain a little.

These are the queen cells taken from my queenless starter/finisher.  As you can see, 11 of 18 made the cut.  In the queenright starter/finisher, 17 of 18 made it through.  I've decided to use the queenright method from now on.  It's much easier, very simple, and you don't have any of the downsides related specifically to queenless methods.  This small sample size also shows how well it can work for a first timer compared to queenless, however, don't trust just two tests.

After the cells were matured, I got out on a Tuesday morning a few weeks ago and robbed seven hives of all but one frame of brood to have enough brood to make up the mating nucs.  The mating nucs are 3x3 queen castles that I designed and built myself.
In each, I placed an empty drawn comb, a comb of honey, and a frame of brood with adhering bees.

You can see in the picture at the top of the page most of them.  Three are in other places around the property.  After the queens hatched, I removed the queen cells and cell protectors.  The JZBZ cell protectors don't fit over the cell, but they still can protect and be used as a way to attach the cell to the comb.

After checking them a couple times, I can safely say that the vast majority have mated and returned healthy.  I have found one where the queen didn't return and one where the queen has not begun laying.  Out of 28 cells, those are pretty good numbers.  The nucs are all brooding and the first weekend in May, I will begin culling, combining, and figuring out where they will all be going.

My goal is to go into winter with at least 25 hives and the extras will be sold as nucs.  So, not too long and there will be nucs for sale.