Greetings . . .
A ripe queen cell can be used to prepare a split or when requeening. Next summer my 2-yr old, single hive will probably need both.
How do you prepare a "ripe queen cell"?
Dave W . . .
A NewBEE with 1 hive.
First package installed
How do you prepare one or how do you get one? If you use a queen rearing setup like a Dolittle or a Jenter you end up with cells on a top bar that can be removed individually. If you just make a nuc queenless they will make some queen cells, and if you have wax foundation you can cut one out. Take enough of the surrounding wax so as not to break the cell. Use a knife you dip in boiling water to cut it really easily or just a nice sharp one.
If the nuc or hive has been queenless for 12 or 24 hours it will be ready to accept a cell. Usually they are placed between two frames. My jenter system ones have a base that is big enough, but I also have protectors that have a spur on each side so you can put the protector over the cell and pin it between two frames. The spurs dig into the combs on each side and hold it up and the protector keeps them from tearing up the cell. The opening on the end lets the queen out. I had problems getting them to fit, so I just wrapped them in Aluminum foil and pinned it between the frames. I'd do it two to four days before you expect emergence.
>if you have wax foundation you can cut one out . . .
When (days old?), how do you know age?
>cut out w/ knife . . .
Just the cell? or cell w/ comb - how much comb?
>pin it between two frames . . .
Pin (only w/ jenter stym???) to face of comb?
>had problems getting them to fit . . .
Cells or protector?
Here is a method from PRACTICAL BEEKEEPING by Enoch Thompkins, p137 (May be from USDA Handbook #335???)
. . . Used to rear less than 20 queen cells at one time and not more than 50 queens per
year. . .
Remove queen w/ 1 frame of brood and 2 frames of honey w/ adhering bees to a hive (or nuc) in another location. Queenless colony will start a dozen or more queen cells within 24 hrs. These will be produced throughout brood nest. Cut out (when??? how???) and save largest and most uniform cell. Be sure selected cell is not damaged (signs???). Destroy all unused cells. Return
queen and three frames to center of brood nest of parent hive. If bees are not robbing, there will be little chance of losing queen by this method. Make up an additional colony or nucleus by removing from another colony, 3 frames of brood, honey, and adhering bees. Gouge a cavity near top of center frame about 3/4" wide and 1-1/2" long (from top to bottom???). Gently press (attach how???) ripe queen cell into cavity so queen will have room to emerge from cell tip. Replace the frame and leave new hive (or nuc) closed for 2 weeks. Repeat process for each queen desired.
>>if you have wax foundation you can cut one out . . .
>When (days old?), how do you know age?
That depends on what you know. If you are rasing the queen on purpose then you should be counting. A queen takes 14 days. So somewhere between 11 days after the egg was layed and 14 days you would need to put it in the hive you want her to be the queen of. If you don't know when it was started, but checked every day after you saw a cell started you can figure it gets capped 7 days after the egg was layed, so you now know the age of the cell. If it's already capped, then you look at the tip. When the queen is close to emerging the tip gets brittle, brown and shinier.
>>cut out w/ knife . . .
>Just the cell? or cell w/ comb - how much comb?
Just enough comb to not risk breaking the queen cell.
>>pin it between two frames . . .
>Pin (only w/ jenter stym???) to face of comb?
Depends on what system. If you have cell cups probably the base is big enough to just put it between two frames and push the frames together to hold it (pin). If you have a cell protector with the spurs on it you can embed them in the comb walls on each side and press them together. If you have a cell you cut out of the comb, you can see how it fits and what it takes to hold it there, but if you wrap aluminum foil around it as a protector anyway, you can leave some excess at the top and flare it to hold it in place. If it's a swarm cell on the bottom of a frame you may have to just put the whole frame in.
>>had problems getting them to fit . . .
>Cells or protector?
Getting the cells in the protectors. I haven't tried it but some have suggested using a hot knife to cut some of the "peanut" excess off the outside to get it to fit.
>Here is a method from PRACTICAL BEEKEEPING by Enoch Thompkins, p137 (May be from USDA Handbook #335???)
>Queenless colony will start a dozen or more queen cells within 24 hrs. These will be produced throughout brood nest. Cut out (when??? how???)
I'd go about 12 days later.
>and save largest and most uniform cell. Be sure selected cell is not damaged (signs???).
They are fragile and often just break up completely, but look for any evidence that the cell is in any way bent, cracked etc.
>Gouge a cavity near top of center frame about 3/4" wide and 1-1/2" long (from top to bottom???).
You are just trying to cut an opening shaped like the piece you cut out with the queen.
>Gently press (attach how???)
Beeswax, especialy in the thicknesses you find on a comb, are quite mallable and sticky. Just press around the edges of that on the edges of the hole. It will stick quite well and the bees will shore it up shortly.
It should work fine. The only other thing I would suggest is pick a hive that is booming and has lots of bees to do this. They will raise a lot of queen cells and will have the "bee power" to feed and care for them. Also your booming hive is probably your best genetics. When you have a frame that only has one queen cell, just take the whole frame instead of cutting the cell out. Also, to entice them to make more, you can pick some just hatched larvae (liquid in the bottom and almost invisible larvae because of size and liquid) or eggs and remove the bottom wall of the cell for about 3/4" below. Anywhere you do this you will probably get a queen cell. That way you can entice them to make more of them or make them where you want them. This method is also simpler if there isn't wire in the comb. Obviously it WON'T work on plastic foundation.