Monday, 9 July 2018

Who ever thought I would be raising insects?

This year, I'm working on raising more hives using nucs (a small hive). I have been grafting sporadically for the last few years with wild variations on success.  This year I made an effort and can reliably get 25+ out of 30 grafts.  Its all in how you set up your cell rearing box.  It has to be overflowing with bees and have lots of food.  I know this and was taught this by other beekeepers, but for one reason or another didn't always do it.  One year a virgin queen found my box and the bees destroyed all my frames of cells. They have a queen, why raise another? Figured it out when she mated and started to lay.

I have been using the extra queen cells to replace older or just plain crappy queens and hives that have gone queen less for some reason.  Its July and I have found a couple of queen less ones.  Luckily I have a queen for them!  Course I wonder how many I have not found...

Made up just over 40 nucs this year (some in the picture) and will see if I can winter them.  Next year I will work on getting more so that I can try to reduce my dependence on foreign queens.  This is my test year to work out the details.  I would like to start earlier and only my few early ones have a mated queen.  All the rain is slowing down the mating. But, I can't resist and have poked at them to see that the queen was released (all but one) and found a virgin running around in one.  That's positive!  I need to wait for next week to be sure what is going on.  Queens can be mated anywhere from 10 days if all is super ideal to 20+ days.  With the rain, I am certainly not on the 10 day schedule.