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Thread: Making Queens

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  1. #1
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    Very simply, how do beekeepers raise/make queens for increase?

  2. #2
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    I have made a few queens by putting one of the brood chambers (I use 3 medium supers) on top of a double screen board at the top of the hive. Then I provide an entrance on the opposite side from the normal entrance and allow the bees to create their own queens. This has worked well and this small nuc is ventilated by the beehive below.

  3. #3
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    I have only been keeping bees about 5 yrs. When I first started I read a few articles about raising queens and decided it was way over my head and ordered my queens from Weavers.

    NOW I think I might look into it. Reading all the free info I can get off the internet. Anyone have a favorite site on queen raising?

    (if I buy one more book my husband will divorce me so that is out )

    Whey

  4. #4
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    Hi Whey

    I don't know about directing you to another website on the subject, but I think you will find that many here reading and replying,would be willing to help you learn how to raise queens.

    All you have to do is ask questions and discuss what you wamt to do and how to proceed.

    Dee

  5. #5
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    First I would like to know if raising my own queens is cost effective. I only have 14 hives and it seems that a good bit of equipment will be needed.

    I also would like to know how many hive's I would have to devote to queen rearing. While I am rearing queens will the hive still be in honey production or will they be concentrating on raising and repairing comb and such.

    Thanks for the interest on this subject. I would love any comments.

    Whey

  6. #6
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    I have been reading about the Miller Method of Queen rearing. It sounds like the way I will go. Does not seem to require much skill or equipment! LOL

    I do have one question. How do I get the queen cell to stick to the comb when I transfere it to the nurse hive? Do I just squish the top of the queen cell into the wax?

    Here is a link to the Miller Method. If anyone is interested.
    http://www.gobeekeeping.com/Demo.htm

    Whey

  7. #7
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    Hi Whey

    While the Miller Method sounds great and requires little experience, the nuc box is not necessary unless you want to do so making it.

    You can get the same results putting a simple division board between the broodnest supers of a choosen colony and then picking cells you want and using them. When you use a division board the entrance hole from the board faces out the back of the colony.

    To put the queen cells raised into another colony you make an indentention with your finger and then gently push the queen cell into the hole. Attach it with a little wax scraping (burr comb) from the colony the cell is going into. Do not squeese the cell so much as to change its shape in any way. Attach around the top only.

    Dee

  8. #8
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    Whey wrote:

    First I would like to know if raising my own queens is cost effective. I only have 14 hives and it seems that a good bit of equipment will be needed.

    Reply:

    Queen rearing can be done with little equipment and simple division techniques,and yet acquire ample queen cells to requeen an operation such as yours

    Whey also wrote:

    I also would like to know how many hive's I would have to devote to queen rearing.

    Reply:

    In you case here probably only one.

    Whey further wrote:

    While I am rearing queens will the hive still be in honey production or will they be concentrating on raising and repairing comb and such.

    Reply:

    There will be a 2 week down time for the raising of queen cells. There will be no down time for repairing combs and such as I cannot vision any needing repair.

    Regards,

    Dee



  9. #9
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    This year I raised a couple of queens by doing a split and leaving them to raise emergency cells. I have two problems with this; firstly, emergency cells are not always raised from larvae of the right age, and secondly, I had a couple of weeks with nasty-tempered bees cruising about seeking whom they might devour. I was driven out of the garden repeatedly, and with kids and neighbours I don't want to do that again if I can help it.

    If I try raising brood above a couple of supers next year, that should hopefully result in cells. As the bees will presumably be getting some queen substance, will this be treated as a supersedure situation, and result in quality cells and better temper, or will I get the same problems?

    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com

  10. #10
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    Robert wrote:

    I have problems with this; firstly, emergency cells are not always raised from larvae of the right age, and secondly, I had a couple of weeks with nasty-tempered bees cruising about seeking whom they might devour.

    Reply:

    This is true Robert. A way to get around the early capped cells of the wrong age is to look into the colony 3 days later and look at the cells the bees are working upon, knowing that most cells are capped at the earliest on the 4-5th day.

    If you have any cells being capped or capped I would be inclined to knock them down saving others the bees are still working upon of the right age.

    For your second problem I assume you moved the other half of the colony a distance away with the old queen, which then created the situation of bees defending, since a queen had been lost unexpectedly, which in the wild would put the colony on alert. Most animals would do this, go on alert, with the loss of a highly visable member missing for no aparent reason.

    Further reply:

    You could do what you mention for next season, but technically the divide you performed this year was okay. You just needed to knock the early formed emergency cells and let the regular formed ones continue.

    But to get a gentler divide and less lifting in doing so (then stacking one upon the other for next year and having to shuffle supers/frames between the two to work) there are several tricks you could do.

    The bees were angry because they couldn't locate the queen and looked and looked for her and then defended what little they had left for fear it would be taken away also and disappear. Bees are animals you know and do think!

    What would you do with the disapearance of a loved one?

    Anyway. You could naturally divide and merely set the old queen off in a super with frames of sealed brood and some open frames within which to lay, and place directly behind the hive you have now, butting each other with entrances then facing in completely opposite directions.

    The old bees and field force would continue flying to where acclimatized, especially with the majority of the brood there and raise a new queen. But the bees wanting and needing the old queen would find her quickly and go to her rescue and be happy!

    At the very worst, a large amount of the bees would go to the rescue of the old queen, but not before good cells would be raised by a good field force within the new colony within 24/48 hours.

    The bees left in the divide would still care for the brood fine, and if supering is required then for the old queen, you simply give her another super.

    Bees divided this way seldom get angry or at least with my experience they seldom do, for they can find mamma!

    Dee

  11. #11
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    Hi,

    Robert wrote:

    This year I raised a couple of queens by doing a split and leaving them to raise emergency cells. I have two problems with this; firstly, emergency cells are not always raised from larvae of the right age,

    Reply:

    Why not cut all cells in about five days and add a frame of young larvae? Bees often will make good cells from proper age larvae then.


    and secondly, I had a couple of weeks with nasty-tempered bees cruising about seeking whom they might devour. I was driven out of the garden repeatedly, and with kids and neighbours I don't want to do that again if I can help it.

    reply:

    I make fall splits in this manner. I never see bees as aggressive as you are describing. Queens look well developed, only once in a while is their a very poor one. Could not something be disturbing the bees to make them mad?

    As I go to a natural way of beekeeping I am reconsidering the grafting technique. One can produce very good queens without it. I have done it time after time. There are certain times within the season these walk away split should be done. During swarm season! When bees are inclinded to make cells any ways working with what is natural timing for them. I have two of these times the last week of May and first week of August. This may allow you to use natural cells the bees are building anyways.

    Clay

  12. #12
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    Clay & Robert!

    Clay, you wrote a beautiful reply to Robert and I agree with natural timing for locally acclimitized stock.

    You wrote below:

    As I go to a natural way of beekeeping I am reconsidering the grafting technique. One can produce very good queens without it. I have done it time after time. There are certain times within the season these walk away split should be done. During swarm season! When bees are inclinded to make cells any ways working with what is natural timing for them. I have two of these times the last week of May and first week of August. This may allow you to use natural cells the bees are building anyways.

    Reply:

    I only have one consideration for you and Robert here.

    How would you two consider the climate and latitude of UK to New York State parallel for timing in natural matings?

    What do you think are the similarities and what are the differences to consider?

    Regards,

    Dee


  13. #13
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    Hi all,

    How would you two consider the climate and latitude of UK to New York State parallel for timing in natural matings?

    reply:

    Similar in latitude, yet I may be higher in elevation. Also I have Lake Champlain which gives a little more moderate climate than most NY'ers. Then again I'm up in the Adirondack mountains which makes winter a little more severe.

    Robert do you have two distinct swarm seasons( early and late) with the early being the strongest?

    What do you think are the similarities and what are the differences to consider?

    reply:

    What are your conditions in YOUR area Robert? Need to compare first.

    Clay


  14. #14
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    It's difficult to compare when I have no idea what the climate in NY State is like. Over here, the winter temperatures tend to be between 35 and 45, with some colder spells. It was down to 20 Fahrenheit for the odd night last winter, but that's most unusual. Summer temperatures tend to be aroung 65-75, with odd hotter spells. Annual rainfall about 40 inches or so, distributed over the whole year. We get unpredictable dry spells in summer. We've just had the wettest autumn and winter on record.

    There's only one swarm season, May-June. I was a bit surprised to hear you had two. There's an old rhyme, which goes back to the days of skeps, when people were largely dependent on swarms which would build up and give a crop in one season.

    A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay.
    A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon.
    But a swarm of bees in July - just let the buggers fly.

    A late swarm is most unlikely to build up and store enough to survive the winter here, which is doubtless why we don't get them. I saw some figures based on work done in NY State, suggesting that about 25% of swarms survived. If so, there may well be some similarities. Our climate isn't that conducive to swarm survival; if you get a wet summer, wet autumn and late spring, they won't have much chance at all.

    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com

  15. #15
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    Hi,

    It's difficult to compare when I have no idea what the climate in NY State is like. Over here, the winter temperatures tend to be between 35 and 45, with some colder spells. It was down to 20 Fahrenheit for the odd night last winter, but that's most unusual. Summer temperatures tend to be aroung 65-75, with odd hotter spells. Annual rainfall about 40 inches or so, distributed over the whole year. We get unpredictable dry spells in summer. We've just had the wettest autumn and winter on record.

    Reply:

    Very similar. Just 5-10 degrees cooler and the same warmer. Rain varies alot, bet we get a good bit.


    There's only one swarm season, May-June. I was a bit surprised to hear you had two. There's an old rhyme, which goes back to the days of skeps, when people were largely dependent on swarms which would build up and give a crop in one season.

    reply:

    Swarms are almost always around June 1st to July 15th(mostly the earlier). The old rhyme is mostly for the south of the US.

    A late swarm is most unlikely to build up and store enough to survive the winter here, which is doubtless why we don't get them. I saw some figures based on work done in NY State, suggesting that about 25% of swarms survived. If so, there may well be some similarities. Our climate isn't that conducive to swarm survival; if you get a wet summer, wet autumn and late spring, they won't have much chance at all.

    reply:

    Hmmmm. These late swarms will survive if helped by beekeeper. Yet if not captured they run about 25% chance of survival. I have caught swarms around 1-5th of August and hade them winter well starting from foundations. We have two flows here. Summer and fall which are separated by 2-3 weeks of el zippo(swarm time). Our fall flow of goldenrod and asters can be very good. Giving surplus of 30- 80 pounds of honey. With the higher figure a colony could squeeze through winter it left to its own devices. Your active season must start 2-3 weeks ahead of mine and ours runs 2-3 weeks longer than yours(???).

    ; if you get a wet summer, wet autumn and late spring, they won't have much chance at all.

    reply:

    Same here.

    regards,

    Clay

  16. #16
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    Hi Clay.

    The season usually starts in March here, with quite wide variations due to the weather; it was April this year. Things come to an end in October, again with seasonal variations. Splitting time is around the beginning of May, but this year I wasn't able to do it till the 13th. Judging by what I've heard from other people I was probably lucky to raise two queens out of three successfully.

    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com

  17. #17
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    on raising queens: check www.beedata.com. "Mininucs - their Management and Maintenance" by Brian Palmer. eight pages of good info.

  18. #18
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    Mount Olive, NC
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    Big Grin

    Dee, I have been interested in reading how you raise queens -finishing them in a chicken incubator and -releasing virgins into the hive. I have a few questions:

    1> can you mark the virgin queen prior to her release, or will that decrease acceptance by the recipient hive?

    2> can you requeen with queen cells rather than with virgins and not look for the old queen

    3> do you think that it would be feasible to wedge a few queen cell cups into the wax of a brood comb and graft into the cup. Wait until the queen cell is capped and then transfer the queen cell into another hive for requeening? Could you leave it in the hive so that the old queen is superceded?

    4> As a matter of interest, I know that there are africanized bees in Arizona. Can these bees be requeened with virgins from domesticated strains thereby changing the hive into domestic bees??

    What are your thoughts?

  19. #19
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    Hi Steve.

    You wrote:
    Dee, I have been interested in reading how you raise queens -finishing them in a chicken incubator and -releasing virgins into the hive. I have a few questions:

    1> can you mark the virgin queen prior to her release, or will that decrease acceptance by the recipient hive?

    Reply:
    You do not want to mark or scent the queen in any way prior to placing into managed colonies in hives.

    Steve wrote:
    2> can you requeen with queen cells rather than with virgins and not look for the old queen.

    Reply:
    Yes you can, although the chance of queen cells being torn down is much greater.

    Steve wrote:
    3> do you think that it would be feasible to wedge a few queen cell cups into the wax of a brood comb and graft into the cup. Wait until the queen cell is capped and then transfer the queen cell into another hive for requeening? Could you leave it in the hive so that the old queen is superceded?

    Reply:
    No, not really as described above. The old queen would not allow the cell to be drawn.

    Now take away the old queen and do it with the hive queenless and you would have a better chance. It would be similar to grafting into a grafting frame of mounted queen cell cups. Then transfer the queen cells to your other hives when ready.

    Steve wrote:
    4> As a matter of interest, I know that there are africanized bees in Arizona. Can these bees be requeened with virgins from domesticated strains thereby changing the hive into domestic bees??

    Reply:
    Sure. Done every year by many beekeepers here.

    However, the big question is how many africanized honeybees are there actually in Arizona to begin with and of what African heritage?

    Until good mtDNA testing is done with backup testing for good verification, I don't think we will actually know these answers, as no full state surveys have been done, for either the feral or the domesticated honeybee populations in Arizona.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby


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