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British Beekeepers Association

Topic: General Husbandry (queen Breeding)

26th March 2013 at 11:52pm

Themanonthe34Bus
London N

46 posts - View

<pre>1.4 The Candidate shall have in hand at the time of the assessment, a queen rearing procedure

apiary</pre>


<pre>A long way off, taking this asssement but wish to work towards the GHC in the next few years, what queen rearing procudre would an assessor expect for a small 5 Hive apiary, would i need to have more than a few Apidea for Queens using spare swarm cells...what is the minum i would expected to have....i was going for 4 apidea with a demaree of a good queen hive to produce QC but another bee keeper is just saying..too much ,just have a few QC you have put into queenless Nucs</pre>

Last edited at 9:57am on the 27th March by Themanonthe34Bus

27th March 2013 at 9:48am

JimNorfolk
-- MODERATOR --
North Norfolk

1819 posts - View

Last edited at 9:51am on the 27th March by JimNorfolk

27th March 2013 at 12:06pm

AdamDarling
-- MODERATOR --
Norfolk

5736 posts - View



It was apparent that I did queen rearing as within my little 'bee shed' I had some plastic cups waxed onto a frame hanging on a nail on the wall which I had grafted directly into rather than grafting into wax cups which I discussed with the assessors as they had not grafted directly into plastic ones. Did it work, success rates etc. were discussed as well as selection of queens and they saw mini-nucs and nucs around the apiary. I think we discussed filling mini-nucs with bees too. I can't recall what else. The discussions on queen-rearing wasn't an inquisition but relaxed. (They did push me on disease recognition however which might be worth remembering).

Assessors don't give much feed-back so I don't know if they were impressed or disappointed! I don't know if I passed with flying colours or just scraped through. The only comment I remember was that the inspected colonies were well-behaved with decent brood patterns which would demonstrate a good selection of queen.

Last edited at 12:11pm on the 27th March by AdamDarling

27th March 2013 at 1:23pm

Gerry Collins
Doncaster

535 posts - View

The guidelines for the general husbandry assessment are being updated and will be available soon. Assessors are not supposed to give the candidate feedback during the assessment or indicate in any way whether you have passed or failed. They both write their own independent reports and the moderator makes the decision based on these. The moderator sends every candidate a feedback report (whether they pass or fail) with tips for improvement if needed.

As regards queen rearing: there must be evidence (in your colony records) that the breeder queen has been carefully selected and that the criteria for this selection are sound. There should also be evidence why other queens are not selected with some highlighted for culling/replacing.

The selective queen rearing method chosen should be appropriate for the number of colonies to be requeened. For 5 colonies I would suggest the Miller comb method. Grafting or Jenter for 5 colonies would not be appropriate unless you are rearing queens for everyone else in the association and have breeder queen of some distinction! There must be some aspect of queen rearing ongoing when they visit and having photos is a useful way of showing the assessors what you did previous to their visit.
27th March 2013 at 3:24pm

Roger Patterson
-- MODERATOR --
Wisborough Green

3314 posts - View

I am not an exam type person, so am not commenting on what the examiner should or should not be looking for, but I am keen on bee improvement so will make comment from that angle.

I think everyone should be assessing their colonies for whatever criteria they want. I think it's a mistake to have too many criteria for a small beekeeper, otherwise you will be culling all the time.

My approach is to mentally split my colonies into two roughly equal groups. Group A are the best and I'm happy to raise queens from any of those colonies. Group B are the poorer ones and I will requeen them when I get the opportunity. I have found this works well.



I don't know if it's deliberate or not, but 5 colonies is quite difficult, but that isn't a bad thing as it might make the candidate think more about several options. An example is that in some circumstances you could have a queen mated in a full colony, yet with 5 colonies it may be good policy to have a spare nuc, but that would be 6 colonies, so are they trying to catch you out? I hope not.

Jon will be along soon to disagree with me, but for small numbers of queens I think mini-nucs need quite a lot of managing and I have seen many fail with beekeepers who haven't had guidance. If you want to go down this route I suggest you get plenty of practice first.

As Jim suggests I favour the 2 frame standard nuc. They work really well, cost next to nothing and can be made to work hard during the season.

I don't know what the exam board want, but I agree with Gerry that fairly simple criteria can be recorded at every inspection. You are probably assessing the colony anyway, so why not jot it down? I would suggest some kind of scoring so you can make a sensible judgement.

Quite frankly I think beekeepers should be doing this whether they are taking assessments or not.

Roger Patterson.
27th March 2013 at 9:37pm

Jon
Belfast

747 posts - View

>Jon will be along soon to disagree with me, but for small numbers of queens I think mini-nucs need quite a lot of managing and I have seen many fail with beekeepers who haven't had guidance. If you want to go down this route I suggest you get plenty of practice first.

I hate to disappoint so here I am!

Some of the beginners do very well with apideas and some of the old hands do badly.

They have to be managed properly and that's no more or no less complicated than any other aspect of beekeeping. I am sure you know guys who have been keeping bees for 20 years who are still bad handlers and still can't do basic swarm control. There is nothing intrinsically complicated about a mini nuc. Some new beekeepers take to them right away and some never get the hang of it.

A 2 or 3 frame nuc is a good option for getting a queen mated but you do have to have the bees spare to fill it. If you don't have the time to look after an apidea you probably don't have the time to look after a 2 frame nuc either! You might not even have the time to be a beekeeper!
29th March 2013 at 8:16pm

Roger Patterson
-- MODERATOR --
Wisborough Green

3314 posts - View

Jon,

I'm agreeing with you and I think we are both on the same side. I did say get plenty of practice in!

You know as well as I do that 7 days can mean the difference between starvation and being packed out, depending on the weather. This makes it difficult for a weekend beekeeper.

I'm hoping to get some instructions on management of mini-nucs on Dave Cushman's website, but I haven't been able to yet.

Roger Patterson.
29th March 2013 at 8:38pm

Gerry Collins
Doncaster

535 posts - View

Roger

My Powerpoint on setting up/use of Apidea has been sent to you by email. Enjoy !!

You can use any of my photos from this PPT on the Cushman site you now manage if you wish as long as source acknowledged

Last edited at 8:40pm on the 29th March by Gerry Collins

29th March 2013 at 9:04pm

Roger Patterson
-- MODERATOR --
Wisborough Green

3314 posts - View

Gerry,

Thanks for your kindness. This is one area where mini-nucs are very weak. There simply aren't good instructions.

Roger Patterson.
29th March 2013 at 10:21pm

Jon
Belfast

747 posts - View

Roger.

Take a look at this thread of apidea photos I started on the Sbai site.

You are welcome to use any of these on the Dave Cushman site and I can send you higher resolution originals if you need them.

I also have video clips showing stuff like a virgin queen flying from an apidea.

Last edited at 10:27pm on the 29th March by Jon

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