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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    Hi all,
    I don't say much but I've been following along. I have 8 hives which I intend to increase to 20 this spring. (My tongue is hanging out listening to you guys from the south talking about full frames of brood, etc.) I'm in Ct and biting nails on how many are going to make it. It's 20F tonight.
    My question is... with all the work you people are doing... why hasn't anyone mentioned the kits. I.E. the one from Mann Lake. It's $65. Wouldn't this approach remove the dangers etc, of grafting. Seems to me it's closer to natural and would eliminate problems about getting brood the right age. Where am I wrong?

    Dickm

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi DickM,

    The queen rearing kits are far from fool-proof. The queen must be caught and confined to a small area. This often causes the queen to stop laying or to lay irregularly. It's not an easy solution for a beginner.

    Grafting on the other hand is quite a simple process especially for the small producer. Finding enough right age larva for a couple of rounds of grafting is easy if the hives are producing drones. The queen is not disturbed and no special methods are needed.

    With a Chinese grafting tool, a headband magnifier, some plastic queen cups and ten minutes worth of some basic bee biology anyone can easily raise a few excellent queens with very little effort.

    Grafting frames, restricted breeders, incubators, complex schedules, and most of the queen rearing books are for commercial queen producers. It's not easy to produce hundreds or thousands of queens per day, month after month.

    The small guy definately has the advantage.

    The moderator of this site has asked me to post an article describing some of these methods. I had planned to wait until I could take some photos to document the methods. That would be about June in my location. Maybe I should write the article sooner and add the photos later.

    Some Thoughts
    Dennis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,420

    Wink

    >Maybe I should write the article sooner and add the photos later.

    I like that idea!

    -Barry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,109

    Post

    I have purchased a Jenter system but haven't used it yet. I was trying to avoid the grafting. Then I ran into several queen rearing system such as this one(that happens to be on this site): http://www.beesource.com/pov/hayes/abjmay91.htm
    that do not involve grafting or confining the queen. There are some variations on this on like cutting a jagged edge on the bottom of some new layed brood etc. But this sounds practicle for the little guys like us who don't have good enough coordination or eyesight to graft and don't want to spend a fortune on kits.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Hi all

    Dennis wrote:
    The moderator of this site has asked me to post an article describing some of these methods. I had planned to wait until I could take some photos to document the methods. That would be about June in my location. Maybe I should write the article sooner and add the photos later.


    Reply:
    This sounds great and I sure you will do it well. The only thing I myself don't beleive in here is plastic queen cell cups instead of real beeswax ones. But this is trival. I cannot wait to see the pictures and commentary.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drums, PA, USA
    Posts
    331

    Post

    Grafting is not really all that hard, but getting them accepted is. The last batch I did last year, I had about 75% acceptance. Before that, 30%. Its a matter of practice, thats all. I use a queenless nuc to start them, that is packed with bees. The more the better, because you want to simulate an overcrowding situation, so they want to swarm. That makes the whole process much easier. Well. I am not going to write the article for someone else. Just a tidbit of info.............


    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    Thanks all for the feedback. Michael, I read the article you pointed me to.It seems like simplicity itself (and they had it in 1937). I like it and will probably try it.
    Two questions.
    1. Is the empty comb the bees are given, drawn comb?
    2. in the use of the kit, why is it neccessary to confine the queen? I thought you'd just put the frame with the queen cells into the hive and remove it when it had eggs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,109

    Post

    Just to set the record straight.

    I have never rasied queens. Anyone with actual experience, feel free to correct me.

    My only queen raising method until now has been to just put some emerging brood, some freshly laid eggs and a couple of frames of honey in a nuc and let the bees do what they do. Of course this disrupts the hive, stresses the now queenless bees and only results in one queen.

    I think the object of queen rearing techniques is to get more queens with less stress on less bees.

    I have requeened by killing the old queen on rare occasions, but the bees can get viscious if they don't have a queen and it seems to take them a while to settle back down even after the new queen is in place. This leads me to believe that being queenless, even for a short time, is very difficult for the bees to deal with. Finding themselves queenless with a queen cell ready to hatch is less so.

    I pointed out the above article because I am looking for a simple way to raise queens myself and that was one of the simpler methods. I could send you some links to other variations of the same, but I thought that one was about as simple as any. I have already purchased a Jenter system, but I think I'm going to try the method in the article first. It sounds easier.

    I have the Jenter system and a book on how to use it and as understand from the book (and not from any actual experience) you confine the queen to the area you want the eggs in so they will all get layed in a short time period so they are all young and they are all of the same known age. The method in the above link does not confine the queen. The assumtion is that she will lay the new brood in the new comb at about the same time. The other thing with the Jenter system instructions is that you let the workers draw the comb and fill it with honey, then when you confine the queen the workers sense that she has no where to lay so they empty the honey out of the cells so she can lay them.

    The article didn't say, but I would assume that drawn comb would be better because the queen would quite quickly lay them all instead of waiting for the workers to draw it.

    If you watch a queen in a brood nest (and I have an observation hive and have watched) With new foundation the workers will start drawing it at the top. When some of the cells have walls about 1/4" deep or so the queen will lay in them. The bees will start feeding the eggs and continue to draw those combs until they are fully drawn. Meanwhile the queen is waiting for more comb to get drawn. It depends on how many bees, how much nectar is coming in etc. how fast the frame would get drawn and layed.

    If you put a drawn one in she will nail every cell as fast as she can before they get honey in them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drums, PA, USA
    Posts
    331

    Post

    The Jenter and Mann Lake systems are alike. You confine the queen in a cage, with removeable cell cups. After she lays eggs in them, you wait 4 days, and they hatch. Once hatched, you move them to a starter colony, and mount the cups on holders and put them on a cell bar. Then the bees do their thing. Its up to you, I feed them before, during and after the the process. You need honey and pollen to produce the "right" royal jelly for the queen to develop.
    The reasoning of those systems is:
    1. Larvae age. I understand many graft larvae that is too old. I only graft the "ones you can't see"!
    2. You need not learn how to graft.
    3. Since you did not graft, and the egg hatches in the cell, there is less chance for injury.
    4. Acceptance rate higher?

    Why I graft:

    1. I have heard that the bees remove the larvae fron those cups for one reason or another.
    2. Another piece of equipment to get broken.
    3. I can make a grafting needle from a tooth pick, paint brush, of paperclip. for less than one buck.
    4. If the things I made don't work to my liking, I make another. If the queen box does not work to my liking, I'm out $60.
    5. Grafting is not that hard.
    6. The little larvaes become your kids for the next 12 days!
    7. I graft 20 at a time.

    Either way, you need some type of starter colony. I use a nuc with lots of bees to produce swarming conditions. This tricks them into "wanting" to make queens. I plan on using an incubator that I built to finish them. That is a time management idea that I have,(long story).

    Either way, I guess you can rear queens either way.


    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,109

    Post

    I'm sure grafting is easy when you get the hang of it. Playing the guitar is something I think is easy, but it wasn't until I got the hang of it.

    The method I was refering to above at this link: http://www.beesource.com/pov/hayes/abjmay91.htm
    uses a frame of recently layed eggs with every other row of cells removed turned sidways over some queenless bees who then build the queen cells hanging down from many of the perpendicular cells. Lots of queen cells. No grafting. No queen kit. No expense. I haven't used it, but it seems to be a time proven method.

    I like your idea of an overcrowded nuc for cell builders instead of a queenless nuc. It has the advantage of a normal good stress on a hive instead of the difficult stress of being queenless.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drums, PA, USA
    Posts
    331

    Post

    I actually do remove the queen, about 8 hrs before I introduce the grafts. The bees do seem to remember that you took "momma" away though!

    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

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