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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Sophia, NC, USA
    Posts
    2

    Post

    I have been keeping bees for about 4 years now and I am interested in raising my own queens. Any suggestions on how-to's, books, etc. on getting started?

    Thanks,
    Bryan.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,654

    Post

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/hayes/abjmay91.htm http://www.ohioqueenbreeders.com/queen_rearing.htm http://www.apis.demon.co.uk/beekeepi...#Queen-rearing http://outdoorplace.org/beekeeping/queens.htm http://queencalendar.markfarm.com/Default.aspx http://members.aol.com/queenb95/quee...l#anchor959974 http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cus...ueenraise.html http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum5/HTML/000115.html http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum5/HTML/000098.html

    Here's the latest revision of my plan that I followed this last time:

    Queen rearing plan:

    Make sure you have a minimum four medium box strong colony or equivalent.
    Make sure you have chosen a queen mother.
    Make sure you have cell bars set up with cups etc.
    Make sure you have a cell cup system of some kind. (Jenter, grafting, etc)
    Make sure you have a "Floor without floor" box. Make one with a 3/4" by 3/4" piece of wood with a 3/8" x 3/8" groove in it. Hang it out 3/4" in front and put a piece across the front under the sides to make a landing board. Cut a piece of 3/16" laun to slide in for a removable bottom. Coat edges with Vaseline to keep from connecting. Maybe make it with the landing board on both ends and make a 3/4” x 3/8” (7/156”?) x 15 ½” entrance block for one end. That way you can make it open either directions by just moving the entrance block.
    Make sure you have mating nucs. (two frame nucs with a top jar feeder and adequate ventilation to close them off would be nice) unless you want to introduce the queens to the hives as virgins.
    Another setup is to make a three box wide bottom board facing “normal” direction (the entrance is perpendicular to the frames) so that you have three medium boxes side by side with all the entrances for those facing the same direction. Have entrance blocks/reducers for the boxes. Put excluders/includers on the bottom of outside boxes. Arrange cell starter in middle and put two queenright colonies on the sides. Block entrances on sides to force bees into the middle box.. Or build a single “three box wide” box with queen excluder and solid dividers. This you can manipulate similarly to the FWOF by opening and closing entrances and adding a ¾” x ¾” block under the sides of the boxes to separate them when you need to.

    Days are counted from the day the egg is layed.

    This is all done in one strong hive that already has the breeder queen.

    Day Action
    -1 Set up top box with: Nectar- Brood- Brood- Pollen- Eggs- Cell Bar- Eggs- Pollen- Brood- Nectar. Put breeder queen in top box with Jenter box and cell cups brood, division board feeder, pollen and honey, over an excluder. Put all remaining brood and pollen in the bottom box. Put everything else in the middle. CONCEPT: This is so that we have some open brood and lot’s of food for the cell raisers in the top box. Also the cell cups and the Jenter box will get the smell of the hive and be polished by the bees.

    0 Close breeder queen in Jenter box. Feed. CONCEPT: This is so that the queen will lay in the cell cups and we will know the age of the eggs/larvae.

    1 Release queen from Jenter box. Feed CONCEPT: We are done with the queen laying and she is not excluded from the cell plugs in the box so that we know the age.

    2 Set up Cell Starter/Cell Builder: Take the queen out of the top box and cage her. Put the top box on top of the inner cover (with a screen over the hole). Shake all bees from all the other boxes into the top box. If you don’t think they will all fit, start with the brood frames and then add the rest until you can’t get the lid on for all the bees piled up on the box. Put bottom box (as set up above) on the bottom board and release the queen there. Add an excluder on top of this and the middle boxes on top of that. Add Floor Without Floor. Put top box (with all shaken bees) on top of the FWOF with the floor in and the inner cover on top of that. Feed. You could turn the Jenter box sideways so the cells face down so that the bees will start some queen cells here, although we are going to transfer them anyway. The field bees will fly out and return to the bottom part of the hive. The nurse bees will remain in the top, cell building box. CONCEPT: The object here is to make the top box into a queenless cell builder. Since they are queenless they will want to build queen cells. The bees are shaken into it to make both an overcrowded condition, which is a stimulus to swarm, and so that there will be an excess of nurse bees that can feed the queens. The FWOF and the excluder keeping the queen in the bottom box, is what is making this part queenless and we will be able to remove it without disturbing the bees much. This is the step that has failed most often for me. It is REALLY critical that the cell builder box be queenless AND overcrowded with nurse bees.

    3 Transfer larvae from Jenter to cell cups with preference to those that are already started as queen cells and replace in Cell starter. Feed nuc and cell starter. CONCEPT: The larvae are now the right age to transfer and the bees are now queenless enough to raise queens. We put them in the cups to convert them to queen cells. We feed so that the queens will be fed well.

    5 See if queen cups are started. Remove Floor from FWOF to establish queen right cell finisher. Feed. CONCEPT: By now the bees should have started all of the cells they intend to. We remove the FWOF to make the hive queenright again. The theory is that a queenright colony does a better job raising queens than when they are raising emergency queens.

    6-8 Feed

    8 Cells capped. Check to make sure they didn't start other queen cells on the brood frames that might emerge sooner than yours. You can put these frames in another box with some bees or you can destroy it so the queen won't kill your other queens.

    9 Start another batch of queen cells in this box if you want.

    12 Make a shaken swarm box from other hives from brood comb (nurse bees) and divvy out bees to mating nucs and close up in the shade for the night. (Maybe use some QMP to hold them). Feed mating nucs. Start with a frame of pollen and honey and an empty frame. Fill a frame of PermaComb for each. Pollen on one side, honey on the other. CONCEPT: We need some queenless bees to accept the queen cells, and care for the virgin queen while she mates and starts to lay. We want to mix up a lot of bees and then redivide them to make them more accepting of each other and of he queen. We have pollen and honey so they can feed the queen and any brood she lays.

    13 Transfer the queen cells with protectors to the mating nucs. Open up the entrances for the nucs. CONCEPT: The bees in the nucs have had time to organize and hopefully they won’t all drift back to their old hive. But they need to fly and the queen needs to be able to mate, so we open up the nucs. The protectors are so that the bees don’t tear down the queen cells. They cover all but the bottom end of the cell where the queen will emerge.

    15-16 Queens emerge. Note: small cell queens may emerge earlier or not. “Enlarged” queens may be on time or a day or two late.

    22 First possible day to fly

    25 First possible day to mate

    27 Still mating

    28 First day we may find eggs. Look for eggs. Don’t panic if there aren’t any. Weather can set things back. Check again every couple of days. Also don’t panic if there are two eggs in a cell for a couple of days. It should straighten out after a couple of days. If it doesn’t then you can panic.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
    Posts
    399

    Post

    Well done Mike.

    ------------------
    If a job is worth doing - Then do it well

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Sophia, NC, USA
    Posts
    2

    Post

    Michael,

    Thanks for all the info....

    Bryan.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Wakefield, MA, USA
    Posts
    224

    Post

    Choose a strong colony with desirable traits. Remove the queen and a few frames capped brood and a couple food combs to a nuc box or new hive. (This becomes a new colony.) Install a feeder in/on the old hive and leave them alone.

    In 9-10 days you will have several combs in the old colony with capped queen cells. Distribute these combs along to nuclei or splits. Don't wait too long after 10 days or one of the virgins may hatch and your other cells will be ruined.

    This is a simple method which works reliably.
    It doesn't matter if the combs you distribute have more than one queen cell. If any look particularly runty you can remove them in the process. Don't forget to leave at least one good queen cell in the queen-rearing colony, to replace the queen you originally removed.

    The drawback to this method is that you can't isolate an individual queen cell and remove it, but you can cut around the cell with a pen knife and remove the section of comb from which it is built, and move that, if you really want to (provided it is wax or duragilt foundation underneath).

    For easier queen cell removal and transfer you can use the Miller method (also fairly easy) or if you want something slightly more complicated, graft a couple bars of queen cups and put them in the queenless colony.

    You basically let the bees choose the larvae from which they rear the new queens. Some may claim that the queens produced are "emergency" queens and so not of the best quality, but in my experience they have been as good as any I have purchased, and the resulting colonies every bit as productive. And besides, the price is right.

    This basic method is an easy and effective way to get started. It is always important to feed a colony in which you are rearing queens, so keep the feeder well supplied during the process. Best of luck to you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
    Posts
    814

    Cool

    If you just want queens then what I would do is screen in the hole in the middle of the inner cover so that you now can just take a frame of young brood, 2-3 frames of sealed brood, 2 frames of honey and pollen. Now find the old queen, leave her in the lower box, remove and shake all the other bees into the upper box, now put all the frames back into the old hive. Place the screened inner cover on top of this old hive
    you can make the notch bigger say 1 inch wide, and now put on the supper with all the bees and pollen, honey, and brood back on top. This will produce several queens for you and all you have to do is remove the ripe queen cells and place them into the nucs you have made the day before. This can also be found in Ohio Queen Breeders webb site. If you want you can also in 3 days remove the inner cover and replace that with a queen excluder and what you have now is a queen right coloney that has lost no bees and will really feed the queen larva lots of royal jelly. You can repeat this as many times as you want.
    Good luck.
    Dan

  7. #7

    Post

    Bryan
    If you want to learn come to ga. I have several people I am teaching. you work in bees free for the learning how to's and all methods of natural treating of bees without chemicals.
    Don

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Belleville, Illinois, U.S.A.
    Posts
    76

    Post

    I had a hive that early in June pulled three supers off of, I went back and found that they had no queen. I always keep nuc or two around and I put them in a deep a combined them using newspaper and glade. Well, to my surprise they killed the queen and produced all these queen cells, why!

    I just wanted to say thanks to Mike B. for the queen calendar. I know that around July 24 I should have a laying queen, great little tool. I was going to try combining another nuc, but I figured it's getting late, so I will let them decide.

    As far as taking a vacation and heading south to learn about producing my own queens, I am really considering it for next year. Heck, maybe I will quit engineering, HA, HA!

    Thanks Again Mike

    Tony

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Bartonville, TX USA
    Posts
    456

    Post

    While I am not raising queens, I found Laidlaw's book on Queen Rearing to be excellent. I had to read it cover to cover three times to understand it but it is very informative.

    I have raised a few queens using walkaway split method but my local bees are mean as snakes. I have even had to kill off feral hives on my farm to stop them from robbing my hives out and attacking me when I run the tractor.

    My question is how many hives do I need to build up in the area to have a reasonable chance of 'drone flooding' the area?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,654

    Post

    If they are AHB or even feral bees they usually are smaller bees on natural sized comb. Their drones have an advantage of speed and agility in catching queens. The only way to really compete is to go to small cell bees so your drones are as small and fast as theirs. It's not the genetics with just the largest number of drones that wins, it's the one with the fastest drones.

    But, the queen tends to fly further than the drones to find a drone from different hives, so odds are YOUR drones WON'T mate with your queen UNLESS you flood the area for about 10 miles around you with drones. But the good side of you having small cell bees is the fast drones from them will mate with the feral bees and that may calm them down.

    If the area is full of AHB and you are not fond of dealing with hot hives from time to time, you might be better off to just buy queens from somewhere there aren't any AHB.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Bartonville, TX USA
    Posts
    456

    Post

    the question of AHB is an open one. I am one county north of the line, but there is a significant difference in winter weather here than the next county south. I am in zone 7, and the quaranteen line meanders along the climate zone 7 and zone 8 boundary. This doesn't mean we won't get them but it does make it harder for them to survive the winters. Given an AHB swarm can travel up to 60 miles it could happen.

    I plan to place expand in the 10 mile circle anyway, maybe after that I will reattempt queen rearing. I may do a couple of walkaway splits this month just to check the results, easy enough to requeen if I don't wait until the suppliers are all sold out. Last year I waited too late and had to live with a hot hive until april.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    <Heck, maybe I will quit engineering, HA, HA!
    Thanks Again Mike
    Tony

    Topbee... I beat you to it. I quit engineering last year and am loving it (thanks to my wifes small business). I am building up hives to be a sideliner/commercial beekeeper. Sure enjoy the outdoors and running my own business vs. being the kicking dog of supervisors, boss, operators, etc.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Belleville, Illinois, U.S.A.
    Posts
    76

    Post

    Good Luck to you Curry. I have approximately 60 hives and it takes up a lot of my time now. I have considered changing careers, just to get out of the hustle and bustle of bosses and contractors and city meetings.

    God speed!

    Tony

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    933

    Post

    I'm jealous. I'd like to quit engineering too. Not that it's bad, but bees are better.

    Fat/Beeman -- How close are you to Macon? I'd like to know more about your "classes".

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