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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,228

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    I was reading through several of the older threads and saw a few discussing problems particularly at the stage where the cell bars with eggs/larvae are given to the cellbuilder. Here are a few thoughts on how to minimize this problem. Other comments are welcome.

    The key to getting good acceptance of eggs and/or larvae is to get the cellbuilder colony up to almost swarming strength. Feeding with dilute syrup or honey for at least 2 weeks is one way to achieve this. you can also transfer appropriate age brood from another hive a week or two before cellbuilding begins or combine two colonies if that is appropriate.

    The cell bar and cups should be assembled and given to the bees for 24 hours to polish and clean. If this stage is omitted, acceptance will be minimal. Once clean, remove the frame and use it within 24 hours.

    Its best if the cellbuilder is queenless for at least 12 hours before cells are given. I usually manipulate the colony to queenlessness the night before and then about 16 hours later add the cells.

    One of the most important things is to put the cells cups in with minimal disruption particularly don't use much smoke. I leave an empty frame slot next to the wall when making up the cellbuilder then on the day the cells are added, I very gently lift the lid using one or at most 2 puffs of smoke. I then slide the frames apart in the middle and add the cell frame.

    Anyone else have good tips on raising queens?

    Fusion

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Huntington, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    438

    Post

    Those are all good ideas, Fusion. Dr. Cobey says she likes to see so many nurse bees in the cell builder that they festoon down when you open the lid. She also puts a pollen patty down to help them make big well-fed queens. Thanks for getting this discussion started.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    Getting them to build the cells was the hard part for me. I went with the ohio queen breeders method of setting up the box. But mostly I like to have some open brood on each side of the queen cell bar and plenty of honey and pollen and LOTS of bees.

    I can get by with an eight frame medium box if it's overflowing with bees. But usually I'm using a 10 frame medium box.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Hi All. How important do you believe it is for the hive to be queenless? What about just excluding the queen to the bottom box?

    david

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    I had difficulty at first even WITH them queenless. I suppose if they are crowded enough and there are nurse bees handy it might be possible you can get them to build cells.

    The main issue of not having emergency cells for new queens is the known age of the larvae. Sometimes the bees start with one a bit old. If you handle that they should be well fed and well developed.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    Out west, dryness is a big problem. When it's 90 degrees and 15% humidity, grafted larva will dry out before the bees can re-establish and care for newly grafted larva. It only takes a dozen minutes, so a beekeeper needs keep the larva wrapped with wet towels, the cell bars/frames at hive temperature for fast acceptance, and work the hives with minimal disruption.

    Mid-day is a bad time to graft under such conditions.

    I've found it's quite necessary to have a starter full of young nurse bees. There are lots of ways to get them and I prefer shaking or adding frames of hatching brood so that almost all of the bees are of the right age.

    A big hive, with lots of bees of all ages, is harder to work. If the weather has curtailed brood rearing and many of the worker bees are older than 10 days, they can actually hinder queen rearing. A single, with 6 to 8 frames of young bees and no open brood, can raise the same amount of queen cells as a big, three story hive. When problems occur, like a honey flow, the smaller hive will keep rearing cells, whereas the larger hive will forget the cells and go to work making honey, swarming, etc.

    Regards
    Dennis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi David,

    >Hi All. How important do you believe it is for the hive to be queenless? What about just excluding the queen to the bottom box?

    Having brood frames without queen substance on them is essential. Most systems that use a queen right starter, have three story hives with large bee populations. They start cells with one box between the queen and the grafted larva. It takes a very large bee population for this system to work.

    If frames are properly rotated, so that very littl e queen substance is on the frames, queens can be confined and cells reared even in the same box. I've confined the queen to three frames along one side and reared cells on the far side of the same box. But frames with eggs and larva had to be transferred into a support hive, above an excluder , and then, when sealed, transfered back into the queenright starter/finisher.

    There's a nifty commercial system that used this approach. Three hives form a unit. The central hive, which is the support/breeder, raises and seals brood from the other two hives which are queenright starter/finishers. I used this system, commercially, and liked it alot. When it worked, it worked great. There were always plenty of properly aged larva for grafting as well. But if problems developed in the support/breeder, three hives would be taken out of production as compared to only one with a queenless starter/finisher.

    The bees sense/smell of the queen is very important. I've tried a Cloake type approach with the queen restricted to the top box. Enoungh queen substance found it's way into the lower box to inhibit acceptable cell production. I think that because the bees ventilate from the top downward, the Cloake approach works much better with the grafts on top.

    Regards
    Dennis

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Thanks Dennis. This Queen raising has really perked my interest. Keeping my mind warm during this Blizzard! So many systems, so much to learn, so little time! Lots of great ideas here.

    david

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    Our state inspector, Ed Levi, told me that he always raises queens with a queenright hive. He just packs a 3 deep hive with bees, and excludes the queen on the bottom while the queen cells are reared on the top. I tried it this last year and had real good success with it. This works best during natural swarming times.

    I normally use the ohio queenbreeders method... with one exception- I have had better luck with 4 day old larva, not 3. I mean 4 days from when the egg was actually laid... some people probably count from when they first see the eggs, which might account for the extra day.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
    Posts
    399

    Post

    Failure points when raising queens

    Nobody has mentioned cutting out queen cells or the havoc that virgin queens can do while raising queen cells.
    If a job is worth doing - Then do it well

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