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Manfred

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Queens don't come back from mating flight. Since spring I have a 70% rate of queens not coming back from mating flights.

Sometimes I see them coming back from first flight then they dissapear on the next flight.

This goes on since spring. We are far away from traffic so I think they can't get killed by cars.

Any ideas?

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Manfred said:

Queens don't come back from mating flight. Since spring I have a 70% rate of queens not coming back from mating flights.

Sometimes I see them coming back from first flight then they dissapear on the next flight.

This goes on since spring. We are far away from traffic so I think they can't get killed by cars.

Any ideas?

 

 

I think it has to do with the weather conditions on their mating flights. Birds or other things may like them. I do not know.

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It only takes a squall or shower to come through.......I also think they get lost.  Our nucs / mating nucs are set-up with different colours and configurations to help with that.

 

Last season, I opened a hive on a site, and the bees were balling a VQ on the floor inside the entrance.  I had a good idea which hive she was from, and when I checked that hive there was no VQ, so I put her in there - the bees seemed happy enough, but at my next hive check there was no sign of a Q....

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Bad weather is the most obvious cause of Queen losses but location also has an impact and I know from years of record-keeping that some apiarys always have worse mating percentages compared to  other apiarys at the same time. The best sites can average pretty close to 90% and the worst around 50%.

I would love to know why some sites always have poor mating percentages. The most likely cause I can think of is that there is no drone congregation area nearby and that they have to fly a long way thus increasing the risk but that is only a guess. I did wonder in your case if it's because you are near the sea with a lot of sea breezes but then the one apiary I have by the sea had 100% mating last year.

I put some cells out this spring at my home site and the mating weather was fairly indifferent but eventually 14/15 were laying. I kept a fairly close eye on them and about a third laid when I expected them to with another third about a week later and the last of them a week after that.

You don't say how many hives you have and if you only have a few it might just be a really bad run of bad luck.

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2 hours ago, Manfred said:

Queens don't come back from mating flight. Since spring I have a 70% rate of queens not coming back from mating flights.

Sometimes I see them coming back from first flight then they dissapear on the next flight.

This goes on since spring. We are far away from traffic so I think they can't get killed by cars.

Any ideas?

 

 

if your still in the same house you have two roads within range. that distance is nothing for queens to travel.

however weather is the most common cause. but things like queen quality makes a big difference and also queen coming back to the wrong hive.

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I have my mating nucs on the front deck where we can watch them This year we watched sparrows line up at the side and occasionally dart across the front of the nucs, taking a tasty mouthful on the way.

The same was happening at the big hives too

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The wind will often come up in spring about 11am after a very calm morning , and it can be very strong .

If a queen has left early and gets caught out theres very little chance she will make it home .

Most of my sucessfull matings happen in an easterly , we are not so exposed to that direction.

There are only two other  permanent apiaries near me , each at least 5 klm away .

This spring I had two sucessful matings which surprised me .

I often loose queens in spring or end up with drone layers .

 

 

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I thought as well the weather but since the last 4 weeks weather up here was nice, a bit of a breeze from the ocean.

Very seldom Dragonflies around here.

I am running 3 nice drone hives and have commercial beek not that far from here so hopefully drones are not that problem.

What has changed here is the amount of Myna birds and Sparrows will take kare of this ones now will see if this makes a difference.

Thanks for the information.

 

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4 minutes ago, Manfred said:

I am running 3 nice drone hives and have commercial beek not that far from here so hopefully drones are not that problem.

your drone hives will be appreciated 😎. there is a megaton of hives around you, drones should not be a problem.  

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Are you in a valley with a stream running down it or are you in a relatively flat area and quite open? Flat open areas can be exposed to a lot of wind whereas gorges and valleys always seem to provide better options with shelter available somewhere and simpler navigation.

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First the queen cells must be big and fat. Small queen cells also get bad mating percentages.

 

But the biggest factor in my view is the site. I have used sites where 90% and better is the normal, and other sites that can run at around 30%. Even using the same batch of cells, and the nucs and whatever all seeming to be equal. So if i'm trialling a new site, if it gets bad percentages several times running i'll stop using it.

 

It is not even about how many bees are in the area either. I have a honey site surrounded by a large number of other apiaries, but for whatever reason that i don't know, if i try to mate queens there the percentages are terrible.

 

Having said that, I used to have a mating site that had very poor mating percentages early spring, that then became awesome mating percentages late spring once commercials had moved around 2,000 hives into a nearby forest.

 

I have tried to analyse using human logic why a site may be good or bad for mating, but it is complex, i have not really cracked it.

 

But basically, if you are getting lousy mating, move to another site.

Edited by Alastair
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I manage to get really nice fat queens, thats why it is so disappointing when they don't come back.

I really thing it's a bird issue as a flog of myna birds hanging around the mating yard. I have an other 60 to hatch next week until than I should have no Mynas anymore.Wonder if this makes a difference.

 

  

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3 hours ago, Manfred said:

I manage to get really nice fat queens, thats why it is so disappointing when they don't come back.

I really thing it's a bird issue as a flog of myna birds hanging around the mating yard. I have an other 60 to hatch next week until than I should have no Mynas anymore.Wonder if this makes a difference.

 

  

Did you mean to say 60 ?

17 hours ago, kaihoka said:

Did you mean to say 60 ?

Do you need all 60 queens or are you covering your self because you expect such big losses

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Yes

some like my queens and I am a bit in back lock. :>) Hope with the next lot my rate will be normal again.

 

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