View Full Version : swarm cell collection and such.
02-20-2005, 10:00 AM
I am almost always in an apiary without extra equipment on hand. And many times I find swarm cells in one of my hives. Instead of running back and forth, or keeping boxes in the truck with comb and foundation that always gets messed up with time. I was thinking of just cutting some of the cells out. Not to stop swarming, thats another topic, but to harvest some of the queens and do nuc splits at my home apiary, where I like to have them anyways.
Is it possible to cut capped queen cells out, transport them back home, say 2-3 hours time, and successfully put then into nucs that are made on the spot. I am thinking that once they are cut out, placing them in one of those roller type queen holders. In case they pop out.
I am trying to limit frame and equipment from being swapped from one apiary to the next.
Are there any tricks of the trade. What about keeping warm, in what? At what age can a queen cell be moved and handled without damage to the queen inside the cell? Any comments? Thank you.
02-20-2005, 11:40 AM
In the book Breeding Queens (Gilles Fert) he says that the ripe cells (10 to 11 days old, depending on the grafting) should be transported very carefully in a box spacially designed for this purpose, and should be covered with a damp cloth if the ambient humidity is too low. You can also transport these in a carrier box containing young workers. these will maintain the ambient teperature.
The transporting box pictured is a shallow box with a piece of styrofoam filling the box and holes drilled in the foam slightly larger than a Queen cell. Cells are arranged in rows and covered with a damp cloth. hope this helps.
Queen cells are very delicate. I start mine in a starter box, and transfer them successfully into an incubator at home, but it is not 2-3 hours. My time frame is about 15 minutes, and driving very slowly. If they become unattached to the upper portion of the cell, they will die.
But then again, it is your experiment, and you are not really losing anything, except a swarm. So, I don't think it will work personally, but give it a shot. Maybe, if they are very close to emergence, you might get away with it.
02-20-2005, 03:32 PM
Miksa Honey Farms in Groveland, FL ships queen cells in bulk through UPS. They advertise in Bee Culture, pg. 8 of the 2/2005 issue, and would probably be worth getting ahold of. They sold me the very first bees I ever owned:)
02-20-2005, 04:49 PM
I usually just move the entire frame when making a swarm cell split- with its bees to keep them warm. However, I make my own queen cells and have successfully transferred them around without any trouble. If I were to move them a short distance (under 30 minutes), I wouldn't worry about keeping them warm provided its not cold out. 2-3 hours however, I would add nurse bees, who will surround the cells to keep them warm. I just stick the plastic cup end in some foam, leaving the wax visible so the bees will cover. I would like to cut them out like your idea, but I use all plastic frames, so I can't. There is one queen rearing method (Hopkins?) where you put a frame of eggs laid down on its side with like an inch of space to make queens. Then, you cut the queen cells out of this frame. Similar idea, just not with swarm cells.
02-20-2005, 05:11 PM
I can see you're idea and it's a nice idea. Since I don't know how to do it well, IMO I'd just put the whole frame in a two frame nuc box or larger with some more frames and make a small split. You can come back and get the queen after she's mated and not so fragile.