View Full Version : Queen Rearing Books
which is the best Queen rearing book. if your favorite book isn't in my list , list it, this is just a few i found.I'm going to use either the Jenter or Nicot systems.
Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding (1997) by Harry LaidlawJr. and Robert Page Jr., Wicwas Press, Cheshire, Connecticut.
Successful Queen Rearing by Dr. Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter
Contemporary Queen Rearing (1979) by Harry Laidlaw Jr., Dadant and Sons, Hamilton, Illinois.
Breeding Queens (1997) by Gilles Fert, O.P.I.D.A., Argentan, France.
Rearing Queen Honey Bees by Roger Morse
12-19-2004, 09:52 AM
Better Queens, Jay Smith
Queen Rearing Simplified, Jay Smith
Scientific Queen-Rearing by G.M. Doolittle
Queen Rearing, L.E. Snelgrove
But none of them are in print.
So, in print:
Practical Queen Rearing, Charles & Pauline Dubion
David Eyre has a nice video on Queen Rearing that covers Nicot (Jenter etc.), grafting and just raising a few queens by doing splits.
I do have Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding by Laidlaw & Page. It's nice, but more detail than I really needed at the time.
It always seemed to me that most queen rearing books have TOO MUCH information. So distilled down to the essentialsmy favorite info on the subject would be here:
12-19-2004, 03:48 PM
Great Question. Michael if I want to do it like Ohio breeders what type of stuff should I buy? I don't plan to do the artificial insemination.
Looks like I need a queen excluder, plastic bottom board, Queen cages, a grafting tool, and a rack of plastic queen cells.
And I would like to buy only one book.
what am i missing?
12-20-2004, 09:50 AM
Equipment depends on how you want to transfer larvae and if you want to make it easier and less disruptive to convert from a cell starter to a cell builder/finisher.
Here my synopsis of my queen rearing plan:
Ive enjoyed the experiences Ive had rearing queens. I cant say Im an expert at it, especially since Ive only been doing it, other than the split method, for a couple of years, but Ive had enough problems that Ive learned what are the hard parts and what is not that critical.
The simplest way to rear a few queens is take a nice strong hive and pull a frame of open brood, the queen and a couple of frames of honey and pollen and put the queen in one box or better, in a five frame nuc. The parent hive is now queenless. In 24 hours they will have started some queen cells. In 9 days they will have sealed those cells. In 12 days you could cut those cells out or take the whole frame with the queen cell out, and put them in nucs to finish and mate, or if you want to requeen with them, kill the old queens and put the queen cell or the frame in the hive to be requeened. You can also do this when you find swarm cells. Just use each frame with queens on it and put it the hive you want to requeen. This is the method I used for years.
Another simple way to requeen your hives is do a cutdown split. I will try to do more detail on what this means elsewhere, but basically a couple of weeks before the honey flow, you split all of your hives, putting the queen and all but one frame of open brood in one hive and all of the emerging brood and all the bees, except enough to care for the brood in the original hive. That way you have a strong hive with no queen and one frame of brood to care for. By the time they raise a queen all of the brood has emerged and by the time shes mated and laying the main honey flow is in full swing if not over. The old hive now has a new queen and in the fall you can kill the old queen in the new hive and combine the two, or, if you need more hives, leave them for another year, or requeen the new hive now. The concept is to have the hive queenless at a time when brood rearing is not the most productive thing to do.
The Dolittle method is documented many places and involves grafting into cups on a bar.
The Hopkins method is simply taking a frame of recent brood and destroying every other row in both directions of cells on one side and suspending that frame with that side down. The bees build queen cells on the remaining eggs.
The Jenter system is a box with plugs in it and you put the queen in the box so you know the age of the larvae. Then you pull the plugs out and put them in cell cups and put them on a bar for the bees to build queen cells.
Basically in all of them the most difficulty Ive had is getting the bees to accept, build and feed that many queen cells. The main secret to that is a little queenlessness combined with a lot of nurse bees.
Here is my plan for raising bees that has worked for me:
Queen rearing plan:
Make sure you have a minimum four medium box strong colony or equivalent.
Make sure you have chosen a queen mother.
Make sure you have cell bars set up with cups etc.
Make sure you have a cell cup system of some kind. (Jenter, grafting, etc)
Make sure you have a "Floor without floor" box. Make one with a 3/4" by 3/4" piece of wood with a 3/8" x 3/8" groove in it. Hang it out 3/4" in front and put a piece across the front under the sides to make a landing board. Cut a piece of 3/16" laun to slide in for a removable bottom. Coat edges with Vaseline to keep the bees from connecting it.
http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/bush_bees.htm (I posted some pictures of a FWOF).
Make sure you have mating nucs. (two frame nucs with a frame of honey and a frame with some open brood would be nice) unless you want to introduce the queens to the hives as virgins. (pictures of 2 frame nucs on my site also)
Another setup is to make a three box wide bottom board facing normal direction (the entrance is perpendicular to the frames) so that you have three medium boxes side by side with all the entrances for those facing the same direction. Have entrance blocks/reducers for the boxes. Put excluders/includers on the bottom of outside boxes. Arrange cell starter in middle and put two queenright colonies on the sides. Block entrances on sides to force bees into the middle box.. Or build a single three box wide box with queen excluder and solid dividers. This you can manipulate similarly to the FWOF by opening and closing entrances and adding a ¾ x ¾ block under the sides of the boxes to separate them when you need to.
Days are counted from the day the egg is layed.
This is all done in one strong hive that already has the breeder queen.
-1 Set up top box with: Nectar- Brood- Brood- Pollen- Eggs- Cell Bar- Eggs- Pollen- Brood- Nectar. Put breeder queen in top box with Jenter box and cell cups brood, division board feeder, pollen and honey, over an excluder. Put all remaining brood and pollen in the bottom box. Put everything else in the middle. CONCEPT: This is so that we have some open brood and lots of food for the cell raisers in the top box. Also the cell cups and the Jenter box will get the smell of the hive and be polished by the bees.
0 Close breeder queen in Jenter box. Feed. CONCEPT: This is so that the queen will lay in the cell cups and we will know the age of the eggs/larvae.
1 Release queen from Jenter box. Feed CONCEPT: We are done with the queen laying and she is not excluded from the cell plugs in the box so that we know the age.
3 Set up Cell Starter/Cell Builder: Take the queen out of the top box and cage her. Put the top box on top of the inner cover (with a screen over the hole). Shake all bees from all the other boxes into the top box. If you dont think they will all fit, start with the brood frames and then add the rest until you cant get the lid on for all the bees piled up on the box. Put bottom box (as set up above) on the bottom board and release the queen there. Add an excluder on top of this and the middle boxes on top of that. Add Floor Without Floor. Put top box (with all shaken bees) on top of the FWOF with the floor in and the inner cover on top of that. Feed. You could turn the Jenter box sideways so the cells face down so that the bees will start some queen cells here, although we are going to transfer them anyway. The field bees will fly out and return to the bottom part of the hive. The nurse bees will remain in the top, cell building box. CONCEPT: The object here is to make the top box into a queenless cell builder. Since they are queenless they will want to build queen cells. The bees are shaken into it to make both an overcrowded condition, which is a stimulus to swarm, and so that there will be an excess of nurse bees that can feed the queens. The FWOF and the excluder keeping the queen in the bottom box, is what is making this part queenless and we will be able to remove it without disturbing the bees much. This is the step that has failed most often for me. It is REALLY critical that the cell builder box be queenless AND overcrowded with nurse bees.
4 Transfer larvae from Jenter to cell cups with preference to those that are already started as queen cells and replace in Cell starter. Feed nuc and cell starter. CONCEPT: The larvae are now the right age to transfer and the bees are now queenless enough to raise queens. We put them in the cups to convert them to queen cells. We feed so that the queens will be fed well.
6 See if queen cups are started. Remove Floor from FWOF to establish queen right cell finisher. Feed. CONCEPT: By now the bees should have started all of the cells they intend to. We remove the FWOF to make the hive queenright again. The theory is that a queenright colony does a better job raising queens than when they are raising emergency queens.
8 Cells capped. Check to make sure they didn't start other queen cells on the brood frames that might emerge sooner than yours. You can put these frames in another box with some bees or you can destroy it so the queen won't kill your other queens.
9 Start another batch of queen cells in this box if you want.
12 Make a shaken swarm box from other hives from brood comb (nurse bees) and divvy out bees to mating nucs and close up in the shade for the night. (Maybe use some QMP to hold them). Feed mating nucs. Start with a frame of pollen and honey and an empty frame. Fill a frame of PermaComb for each. Pollen on one side, honey on the other. CONCEPT: We need some queenless bees to accept the queen cells, and care for the virgin queen while she mates and starts to lay. We want to mix up a lot of bees and then redivide them to make them more accepting of each other and of he queen. We have pollen and honey so they can feed the queen and any brood she lays.
13 Transfer the queen cells with protectors to the mating nucs. Open up the entrances for the nucs. CONCEPT: The bees in the nucs have had time to organize and hopefully they wont all drift back to their old hive. But they need to fly and the queen needs to be able to mate, so we open up the nucs. The protectors are so that the bees dont tear down the queen cells. They cover all but the bottom end of the cell where the queen will emerge.
15-16 Queens emerge. Note: small cell queens may emerge earlier or not. Enlarged queens may be on time or a day or two late.
22 First possible day to fly
25 First possible day to mate
27 Still mating
28 First day we may find eggs. Look for eggs. Dont panic if there arent any. Weather can set things back. Check again every couple of days. Also dont panic if there are two eggs in a cell for a couple of days. It should straighten out after a couple of days. If it doesnt then you can panic.
thanks for the info Michael, tell me one thing please , where can you get the baby mating nuc's , i have looked all over and haven't seen any.
12-21-2004, 04:20 AM
I built my own two frame nucs that take two standard medium depth Lansgsroth frames. It's easy to make up the nucs with a frame of open brood, a frame of open brood shaken in and a frame of honey. I don't even confine them. After the queen was laying and has been shipped or put in a hive then I can just put the frames of brood and bees in with any other hive or combine several to make a stronger hive. Betterbee makes them for deeps: http://www.betterbee.com/departments2.asp?dept=1505&top=73&bottom=83&title=HIVE+ESSENTIALS
But if you really want the baby nucs:
http://www.beeworks.com/uspage3.asp http://www.mannlakeltd.com/catalog/page21.htm http://www.swienty.com/engelsk/queen-matinghives2.htm
12-21-2004, 08:45 AM
Thanks Michael. I still have lots of questions, but you have helped immensely.
Put bottom box (as set up above) on the bottom board and release the queen there. Add an excluder on top of this and the middle boxes on top of that. Add Floor Without Floor. Put top box (with all shaken bees) on top of the FWOF with the floor in and the inner cover on top of that.
? If the inner cover is on top of the FWOF, how will the bees get out?
12-21-2004, 09:26 AM
If you look at the picture you'll see that there is nothing blocking the front of the FWOF. There is a 3/8" entrance all the way across. This is the entrance for the top box. It should face the opposite direction from the main entrance of the hive so the field bees will drift back to the bottom and the nurse bees will stay in the top.
12-21-2004, 09:55 AM
I should point out that the FWOF is just a convenience. You could put a lid on the bottom part of the hive and a bottom board on for the top box (cell starter) and when you want to recombine, just remove the lid and the bottom board, but the FWOF allows you to disrupt the hive less and just pull out the divider instead. The Ohio Queen Breeders method is using a plastic bottom board that allows a similar use to the FWOF, but I don't know where to buy one, so I just built the FWOF instead.
12-21-2004, 12:46 PM
T W T
stop in I have baby nuc's I'll sell you one
hey FB im planing on making a visit this coming season. i'll get with you on the direction.
12-21-2004, 06:38 PM
When I first started raising queens I used a blunt pencil dipped in water then wax to make the wax cells which I attach to the botton of a med. frame.I use a piece of 12gauge copper Elect. wire to make a grafting tool, just hammer one end alittle.I like to graft from brood on new wax foundation and just shave the wax down with the grafting tool.Just divide a double deep hive and place the one with the queen a few yards away ...make sure the queenless box has alot of young brood and feed heavy.After a couple days put the started cells in a queenrite hive above a excluder.
is it ok to put the queen cells in a cell cage's once they are sealed and let them hatch above the excluder then put the virgin queen's in queen cages and then in nuc's so you can use some bees and frames from other hives? or would this be to much work? would be as good as a incubator.
[This message has been edited by TwT (edited December 22, 2004).]
12-22-2004, 05:47 AM
>is it ok to put the queen cells in a cell cage's once they are sealed
I assume you mean hair curler cages?
> and let them hatch above the excluder
I've done this. The queens come out starving for food. I tried to put one drop of honey in the bottom of the hair curler cage but still a lot of queens drowned in the honey. I wanted some crystalized honey, but I had just liquified what I had when I did it. Next time I'll put a little bit (a very little bit) of crystalized honey in the bottom. If it's liquid the queend bury their heads in it and drown.
> then put the virgin queen's in queen cages and then in nuc's
Some introduce them to hives (not nucs) as virgins. Some don't even remove the old queen. But Dee is the only one who claims a high rate of success at it and then only if she hatches them in a incubator and no worker bee has touched them to give them any smell from another hive.
> so you can use some bees and frames from other hives?
I'm not sure I understand this question? Use some bees and frames from other hives for what? I set up mating nucs with bees and frames from other hives and put the queen cells in there to emerge. I've never had any acceptance problems.
> or would this be to much work? would be as good as a incubator.
It would be as good as an incubator except that the smell of other worker bees will get on the queen and may be a detriment to acceptance if you want to use the "run the virtin in the hive" technique. If you want to actually remove the old queen, wait 8 hours or so and introduce the new virgin in a cage then it will probably work as well as an incubator.
thanks michael, you answered my question. and i understand the answers you gave me to http://www.beesource.com/ubb/wink.gif , how many queens do you try to raise at one time?
[This message has been edited by TwT (edited December 22, 2004).]
12-22-2004, 08:11 AM
I would add to the list my favorite book, "Breeding Super Bees" by Steve Taber.
Jay Smith wrote another book called "Better Queens" (1949) in which he openly corrects earlier statements and conclusions he made in earlier editions of his work.
And I would ditto the Snelgrove book, and ditto the comments on the Laidlaw book. One need not graft to raise queens, and it's not near as difficult as we think. After all, if you don't graft the bees will do the work for you.
12-22-2004, 08:47 AM
If you look at the picture you'll see that there is nothing blocking the front of the FWOF.
OK, what I thought you were saying was that the inner cover went over the FWOF. But after rereading it it appears that you put the top super full of bees on the FWOF and the inner cover on top of that. What is the purpose of the screen over the inner cover hole?
12-22-2004, 01:03 PM
I read many of those books and found the one by Morse to be the most helpful. Snelgrove's book was a close second. Best of all was going to Dr. Sue Cobey's class on Queen Rearing at Ohio State University last year. Fantastic! Good luck...
12-22-2004, 02:37 PM
>What is the purpose of the screen over the inner cover hole?
I'm not sure where you got the screen over the inner cover hole. I have a lot of inner covers set up that way to use with vent boxes on top. The vent box is like an attic, but I can't let the bees get into it or they will build comb in it. The vent is to let the hot air go into the attic, and the vent box has vents on the side to let the hot air out. It is irelevant to this discussion of queen rearing though. Any lid will do, with or without an inner cover/vent box etc.
12-22-2004, 03:20 PM
Ive usually just made up 2 frame nucs for queen breeding.If Ive got say 50-60 queens cells and Im short frames of brood I'll divide frames of brood into quarters and stick the quarters into a frame of just foundation and place these frames above an excluder over a healthy hive so the bees will attach it to the foundation and cover the frame.And they are ready to use in a nuc.
has anyone ever read this book ,if so what did you think about it
[This message has been edited by TwT (edited January 03, 2005).]
01-03-2005, 09:24 AM
I own it. I've read it. It's excellent.
01-08-2005, 11:08 AM
"Breeding Super Bees" by Steve Taber, A.I.Root Company is another good book. There are some interesting ideas in this book that aren't found in any other. Mine is copyrighted in 1987. I'm not sure if more recent editions are available.
01-09-2005, 01:34 AM
If any of you are interested in breeding as well as queen raising (I don't think they're the same thing, but they're obviously complementary) then the best book I've come across is 'Background to Bee Breeding' by John Atkinson, published by Nothern Bee Books ( web page (http://www.beedata.com/beebooks.htm) ).
01-14-2005, 01:20 AM
I've read just about every queen rearing book available over the last several years. Steve Taber's method is acceptable if you want to produce lots of queens in a small amount of time and NOT produce honey.
Brother Adam's method is more specific to producing the highest quality queens but is adapted to producing a large number of queens at one time and just about requires a nuc yard to maintain the queens.
The best for the small time beekeeper is a little known method from New Zealand by a gentleman named Cloake. His method was the first I have found published that used the "floor without a floor" board above. Its commonly described as a Cloake board but incorporates a queen excluder in the original version. This method was published in Gleanings in Bee Culture about 10 years ago though I had read of it some 10 years before that.
Here is a synopsis done from memory so forgive any lapses.
Install the Cloake board between two brood chambers without the divider panel and get the bees used to using it as the sole entrance (takes about a week). This requires the bottom entrance to be turned to the rear and closed.
Day 1 - Rotate all of the open brood above the excluder. Queen is left in the bottom chamber.
Day 2 - install the divider board so that the top hive body is completely separate from the queen in the bottom body. Open the bottom entrance so the bees can fly freely but most of them will return to the upper hive body. The top hive body is now queenless.
Day 3 - graft queen cells and insert them into an empty frame space in the upper hive body. The queenless bees will accept most of them readily. I recommend that at most 20 cells be started in one hive.
Day 4 - remove the divider board and close the bottom entrance.
Day 10 or 11 - check carefully for queen cells on the frames and destroy them. Leave the grafted cells alone. The grafted cells MUST be sealed before you do this step.
Day 13 or 14 move the queen cells to nucs for mating.
You must know exactly how old the larvae was so you can get them into nucs at the proper time. If a larvae was 12 hrs old at grafting, then the queens will hatch 12 to 13 days afterward. Note that Africanized queens may emerge a day or two earlier.
I can't guarantee that the above is 100% accurate but it will be pretty close to the original.
01-30-2005, 07:10 PM
go to amazon.com they have everything