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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Seattle, Washington State
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    I was wondering on the advatages of a queen incubator.

    Do you let the queen hatch in the incubator? Than do you place the virgin queen in a queenless nuc after she hatches in the incubator?

    So let me get this straight... if on day 8, the queen cells are capped, you would place them in the incubator until what day? Day 14 and than make up the nucs, place the virgin queen in the nucs and let her be?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  2. #2

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    Cells are installed in incubator from "finishing" hive after they have been capped and are hatched out inside incubator. Since queens cells cages are still placed on queens cells to keep first hatch from tearing down other cells this requires cells to be checked often on the day of hatch. There is always the chance queen may re-enter cell head first and be unable to get back out if left in cage to long. Incubators make this much easier than if left in "finishing" hive. It also lets you begin new cells in the "finishing" hive as you will be able to install cells from the "finishing" hive into incubator just after cells are capped thereby freeing up "finishing" hive sooner. After they hatch in incubator virgins are then introduced into mating nucs which are gen smaller than a split nuc and is usually made up of only 2-3 "cups" worth of bees if queens are to be sold since they will be recaged and shipped out after mating. This also insures your installing a laying queen before going to all the trouble of installing in a full split just to find out later mating didn't take.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
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    how long can the virgin queen stay in the incubator? At this early state, can she feed herself if we put a drop of honey on the cage? Do you need to have the mating nucs ready to go prior to the hatch date?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  4. #4

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    Before placeing caged cell in incubator dip the end of cage in crystilized honey for her to eat. I usually have everything preped so installs can be done by the end of next day but mother nature doesn't always see eye to eye. For a good video link try http://mkat.iwf.de/ on search line type in "queen rearing" and choose the viewer file to right side of page. Its about 63 minutes long but worth it. If you have quicktime viewer you can right click the quicktime file and choose "save target as" and send it to a file on your hard drive to view later as this is a large file and takes a while to download. Normally the file is sent to your "temp" folder and is made unavailabe after viewing unless your a techy. "disclaimer": you will need to eraise this file after you view as to avoid any possable copyright infringments. OK? ok....everybody saw this disclaimer right? right..ok. Anyhow this doesn't work with the "windows media player" format as it will only save the pointer file and not the actual video. Hope this helps and good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Seattle, Washington State
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    so what do you do when mother nature doesnt agree with you?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  6. #6

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    Rain, and sometimes cold front if early enough in spring.

  7. #7

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    As long as you make crystalized honey avaiable for food they'll keep a few days if need be.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    721

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    An incubator gives me more flexibility and helps minimize risk of loosing a batch of queens due to weather delays or simply missing a queen cell elsewhere in the hive (subsequently having it hatch an tear down all the queen cells I intended to raise).

    Typically I'll pull the frame of cells out of the hive the first good day after they are capped and put it in the incubator (being very gentle, they are fragile at this stage). Then they day before they are to hatch I either place them in mating nucs (if the weather permit and I have nucs ready), or I place the cells in a nursery bar where each cell is in it's own cage (See http://honeyrunapiaries.com/store/nu...rame-p-66.html )

    In the nursery bar they can hatch in the incubator or can be banked in the hive. They will sometimes crawl back up into the cell but I've rarely had problems with them dying, though it does help if you scrap off the cell from the cell cup (I use the plastic jzbz ones). Newly hatched queens can be introduced directly into mating nucs but if they are more than 12 hours or so they should be introduced in a queen cage with a little bit of candy. With feeding (honey/queen candy) they can be held in the incubator for several days, though I prefer to get them into nucs as soon as possible or at least bank them in a hive.

    -Tim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Seattle, Washington State
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    with the nursery frame, can you take out the cages and use them to introduce the queen inside the mating nuc or do you have to trasfer her to another cage to do so?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,797

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    You will have the best luck putting the cells in mating nucs on day 13 or 14. I have tried putting the hair curler cages on and the queens sometimes do ok and sometimes crawl back in the cell to die. I always put some crystalized honey on the cap of the curler cage and the queens will rush out and eat it. When I was foolish enough to put a drop of regular honey the queens would bury their heads in the honey and some didn't survive that.

    But if you have no mating nucs ready and you need to buy a day or two to get it done the hair curler cages, or the incubator or the nursery cage can buy you a day only lose a few queens instead of losing them all.

    Here's a picture of one where I missed a queen cell the bees in the finisher built. But if you wait one day too long it's the same result:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/MissedQueenCell.JPG

    Every cell torn down and every queen dead except the first one.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    721

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    The nusery cages are all one piece so they do have to be transferred to another cage. I have seen the hair roller type cages Bush is talking about used as well. The queen cell can be attached to the cap of the hair roller cage then simply be replaced with a cap with a hole full of candy for introduction into the nuc if necessary.

    Nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when you pull out a frame of queen cells and see chewed out queen cells (like the picture Mr. Bush posted above). Timing is everything.

    -Tim

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    Cells, if handled carefully, can be harvested just about anytime after the pre-pupa stage. That gives lots of latitude for weather, etc.

    An incubator allows a queen rearer to work a hive group on a weekly schedule. That is, a hive group will always have the same thing done to it, on the same day everyweek. And a day of the week can be left open for a little rest and relaxation

    If cells are harvested on day 11, newly grafted cells can be inserted at the same time. This maximizes the use of a finisher which would be idyling along incubating sealed cells for another 5 days, when it could be raising more cells.

    I've used a large refigerator sized incubator, successfully, for 10's of thousands of queen cells, when I reared them commercially. And I continued to use a smaller version, for awhile. But no longer use any. For a few hundred cells, they are just not worth the hassle.

    And, although, acceptable queens can be raised this way, I think the bees, when left to do it themselves, will raise the best queens possible. There's probably lots of stuff that we just don't understand about the hive environment and could never replacate in an artificial one like an incubator. In this regard, the small scale beekeeper has quite an advantage over the commercial guy.

    Regards
    Dennis

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