Hair rollers

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Red Bee 

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Just a quick question to the Q rearing experts out there. Instead of taking the capped Q cells out of a Q+ rearing hive & placing them in mating nucs could you leave them to hatch out into hair rollers? Or would the hived Q see this as time to swarm? Or would the cells being in another brood chamber above be far enough away not to be noticed?

Hopefully that made sense thanks.
 

Finman 

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I have studied hair rollers and they are quite expencive option in queen job.
 

Chris B 

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I'm no expert but do have some experience.

For the last 2 years I've been using queenless cell builders. Prior to that I used the queenright method I think you're refering to. I ended up using rollers because there was often 1 cell that hatched early causing loads of aggro, killing her unborn sisters etc. But I never lost a prime swarm as a result so I don't think it makes a significant difference. I think the greater risk was a virgin squeezing through 2 queen excluders and killing the old queen, though thankfully this didn't happen either.

(Early hatches = probably me grafting older larvae)
 

Red Bee 

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Thanks for the reply, any tips for a first timer?
 

Chris B 

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My number 1 tip if using queenright bees: do it in May as after that the bees become gradually less inclined to make queen cells.
 

Red Bee 

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Cheers Chris. My next question is about mini nucs & the use of. I understand how they are used up to the end point. The Q is mated & mini frames of brood are present. So how do you get those mini frames into a standard hive?
 

Finman 

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I have 3-frame mating nucs with normal brood frames. They are flexible handle and I can put brood frames into normal hives.
 

RoofTops 

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You don't put the frames from normal mini-nucs like Apideas and Kielers into normal hives, although I have seen pictures of mini-nucs where the frames could be clipped together so they made a full width frame. These were all home made I think. Ron Brown's book (see below) has a picture of this system. The idea of mini nucs is to use them for raising queens and once they have mated they can be added to a full size nuc. This needs less bees and frames than trying to raise your queens in full size nucs when you will find a proportion do not mate and the bees in those nucs end up standing around doing nothing until they are either given another queen cell or are united with a nuc with a laying queen. However, there is a view full size nucs are more succesful and this has been my experience.

"Hair rollers" prevent the problems you get if a queen emerges too early which can happen if you graft with a larva which is too old. They are also useful if for some reason you can't get to the cell raising colony on the day the queens are due to emerge - or lose track of the days! However, you will find it easier to time things so you move a sealed queen cell into the nuc or mini-hive and thus hair rollers are not really required.

You can also use hair roller for "queen banking" where mated queens are kept in a hive until needed. If doing it this way cover one end of the roller with tape so the queen has somewhere to retreat otherwise the bees will chew her feet. Queens kept this way can be kept for up to about two months maximum.

If you search this forum you will find a number of recommendations on suitable books. If you want an advanced one try David Woodward's book, otherwise Vince Cook does an easy to understand one although it doesn't cover mini-nucs. Ron Brown's Seasonal Guide covers mini nucs but is now out of print but your association may have a copy you can borrow - or try your local library. They should be able to source a copy.

And a bit of Googling will get you lots of description on using mini-nucs.
 
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Red Bee 

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Thanks Rooftops. What happens to the bees that are in the mini nuc? Can they unite to the larger nuc with the Q?
 

RoofTops 

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It is possible to unite mini-nucs. Some like the Apidea and larger mini-hives have a removable floor so you can either stack them one on top of the other, and like that they would have a better chance of surviving the winter. Alternatively, you could make up a ply adapter and unite the mini-nuc with a full sized colony but I really can't see much point. I must confess I normally just shake the bees onto the ground in the apiary and let them take their chances.
 

RoofTops 

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If you haven't seen a mini-hive they look like this. You can also get full width feeders which sit on the top and of course you can stack the bodies like a conventional hive.
 

Poly Hive 

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The book you want is Mating in Miniature by B. Mobus. BIBBA sell it.

Bernard made up a piece of kit that held the individual frames and he used that to boost a weak colony for winter with the mini frames, which from memory held 16.

I knew Bernard you see. ;)

PH
 

Red Bee 

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Ideal thanks I'll have a look on the bibba site. I have found the Ron Brown book, it's on the Northen bee books website, £1.50 not bad. Or part of the book £1.50 seems cheap.
 
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RoofTops 

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It's got a German name I can never remember and its too cold to go out to the shed to check! They will be available in the UK fairly soon but you can also buy them from both Swienty and Bienen-Voight & Warnholz, both of whom will be at Stoneleigh this year.
 

Poly Hive 

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What dimensions are they Rooftops? I have a good reason for asking.

PH
 

RoofTops 

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Still too cold go out (I was brought up in Carlisle but have now become a softy southerner) but I call them in my head "Quarter Dadant". I am not sure this is an accepted term but they are the same depth as Shallow Dadant (6.25") and if you cut the lugs off one end and butted them up together the result would be the same width as a Dadant/Langstroth.
 

Red Bee 

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Will you be selling them Rooftops? Bet they take two cup fulls of bees!
 

Hebeegeebee 

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Red Bee,
I have some home-made mini-nucs (plywood) and for one, after the queen had been nicked for another hive I put it over a brood chamber with a queen excluder (newspaper first) so that all those useful bees in the comb emerged to be part of the main colony. I felt that a few frames of bees might as well be used rather than allowed to die with no benefit. What then happened (by accident rather than design!) was that the mini-nuc was used as a super by the bees and the frames have been filled with honey so I have capped stores for use in the mini-nucs for next year.

Adam
 

Red Bee 

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Sounds like a win win situation Hebeegeebee. I'm thinking about making my own mini-nucs too. You've inspired me to do it now.
 

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