I have just started rearing queens hoping to eventually instrumental inseminate them. I am using the Jenter system, and it worked great w/ about 90% of the cells that were introduced into the queenless hive being drawn. Nineteen cells were subsequently placed in seperate nucs (for open mating) and 15 were placed in an incubator (w/ hair curler type cages) for future insemination.
I have not checked the nucs to see if the cells have hatched.
My problem is, the cells confined in the cages, seemed to try to regress back to the cell after they hatched. If I am not there remove the old queen cell the queens will die (8 of 15 were found dead). What am I doing wrong??? The Queens that I am rearing are Carnolian.
Try to time it so you can allow the queens to hatch into nucs. I know you're more interested in hatching them into incubators, but this seems to be the only way to keep the queens from entering back into the queen cells. I helped another beekeeper yesterday and we found six or eight virgin queens "stuck" in their cells.
For I.I. queens, make sure you have an excluder over the entrance to prevent her from leaving the nuc. Go back after the anticipated hatch date and retrieve queens to place into your incubators until you're ready for insemination.
My first question, is what temp is your incubator set at? Next question, how are heating it, and what are you using for humidity?
These are critical things. I have an incubator too, and hatched out many queens in it. Make sure max temp is 96 degrees, and don't go lower than 92 degrees. I use 60 watt light bulbs, and they tend to dry out the cells. I use a jar with water, and a sponge for humidity.
Are you feeding the queens in the curlers? The queens first instinct after emergence is to gorge herself. I use a drop oh honey in mine. I also get them into a nuc as soon as posible. I built the incubator for time management, but we must always remember the basics as well.
I raise carnolians and SMRs, but bees are bees!
[This message has been edited by Hook (edited August 18, 2003).]