We managed to raise over 200 virgin queens last year, all from local stock and distribute them to 67 BBOBI members for mating from early May until mid July. We would like improve our efficiency this year, we tried may ideas. Some worked really well, (grafting from our own stock), some things wasted time, (travelling to others hive to try grafting from there). It could be that we damaged the grafts during transportation – the experiment continues.
We have a few new additional stocks to try raising queens again this year. So if you are interested in joining the new list, please reply back to me and I’ll build the endless spreadsheet again. Obviously the CODVID-19 arrangements will halt this in the short-term, Queens can’t be delivered in early May this year, however there is no reason why we can’t try mating them and offering mated queens or even nucs to you in late June. We have been researching and making queen banks in the hope we can hold our best queens a little longer this year.
Another success from last year was the social gatherings at a local pub, this started in April and unless we can meet via a Zoom session, this is not going to be possible any time soon.
Remember that grafting is not the only way of raising your own queens and you might try saving some of those cells in the swarming season rather than knocking them back an artificial swarm procedure. Save those queen cells, try making two frame nucs. You could also read up on the Miller Method, this is a good link: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/millermethod.html
Keep an eye on the What’sApp group, it is the best way to make cries for help. If you’re not included, email me your phone number to be added to the thirty or so members on the group today.
If you do not wish to read these emails in future, please let me know and I’ll remove your email from the list.
Please share your rearing stories from last year, what went well and what challenged you? How did your over-wintering go? I’ll try to include in the newsletter to BIBBA. REply if you wish to be on the list to receive queens again like last year.
Good luck with your bees, look out for swarming!
Brian Green & Duncan Heather