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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Default Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    My queen cell-builder/finisher is in a 5-frame deep nuc box, with a screened bottom and a queen excluder covering a front entrance hole. I keep four or five medium frames in this nuc, and use 1, 2, or 3 single cell bars, with as many as twelve cells per bar. I feed continuously with pollen substitute patties and feed a quart of syrup once a week. I like to keep the two outer combs almost solid with honey and pollen; the other two or three frames I maintain as combs of emerging worker brood, and frequently check for rogue queen cells (which I destroy and harvest the royal jelly for priming).

    Using this cell-builder I've produced many groups of nice looking queen cells and some very nice queens. This photo is a group of my usual sized cells.


    About a week ago I was between cell batches and had a comb of hatching eggs I needed to place temporarily, so I put it into the cell-builder, exchanging it with a nearly empty comb (one that was emerging brood). A day or two later I again swapped it with a fresh frame of sealed-emerging brood and placed a bar of fresh grafts. When I returned to harvest these finished cells, I noticed that all of them were uniformly large, larger than most of the cells I've ever grown.

    I use JZsBZs push-in queen cell protectors, and my usual cells will allow the protector to be pushed all the way down onto the base of the cell-cup. These larger cells will only permit the cell protectors to be pushed to where the protector just contacts the rim of the cell-cups, and the tip of the cells are already protruding from the end of the protectors. In a few days, when this next batch is ripe, I will take a photo of these larger cells.

    I am anxiously waiting to see how queens from these larger cells perform, and if they are actually larger, more fecund queens.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 08-18-2010 at 03:44 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,661

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Hi Joseph,
    So let me suppose here a bit,
    I'm supposing that these cells came out larger than you normally get right?
    I'm thinking here that the addition of emerging larva from eggs, inserted into the cell builder, acted as a trigger or primer to get the nurse bees in the cell builder to start producing increased amounts of royal jelly for feeding the increased amount of larva to be fed. Then pulling that frame back out 2 days later left your nurse bees overly producing the royal jelly, so they packed in more than usual to your cell bar cells they were also feeding at the time. Does this make sense? I'm interested to hear what you find on queen size and performance over time. Do you plan on keeping these for yourself for awhile for observing?
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,994

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Yes I'm with what RayMarler said, and I'm also thinking they will likely be good sized queens, so please update.

    However having said all that, big cells do not always equal big queens. In fact i've seen some pretty ratty queens emerge from what appeared very impressive cells. The main thing is to avoid any obviously undersized cells.

    Also, what is the photo. The cells in question, or a different batch?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Yes, these recent cells are much larger. They are about 3/8" longer, though they don't seem to be any noticeably larger in diameter. I too thought that having those nurse bees geared up to feeding all those newly hatched larva, then suddenly only having the queen cells to feed, may have been the trigger for these larger cells.

    I am continuing to prep the cell builder with a frame of hatching eggs, and getting the same results (larger cells). I am tracking these cells and the queens they produce. I will probably keep many of them, perhaps even requeening my production hives with these queens, then I can compare their performance with my usual queens.

    I've also thought of taking frames of hatching eggs, add them to the cell builder with their resident nurse bees (before this I only added frames of hatching eggs, without their own nurse bees), then leaving these additional nurse bees in the cell builder when I pull the frame of young larva. I wonder if there is a point where the cells produce optimal queens, and beyond this point (more royal jelly or larger cells) just goes to waste?
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
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    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Oldtimer,
    The photo in my initial post is a group of my usual sized cells.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    SOMERSET, ENGLAND
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    335

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Joseph,thank you for posting this,most interesting......look forward to your future updates.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,076

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    I have cell envy just from your normal sized cells.

    How long can you keep a cell builder like this productive by adding emerging brood?

    How do you keep it from getting too crowded?

    I recently just had my first success raising queens in a 5 frame nuc like this - but I only did one batch.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    <<How long can you keep a cell builder like this productive by adding emerging brood?>> I'm not sure ->I've been continuously using this same nuc as my primary cell builder starting in the Spring of 2009.

    <<How do you keep it from getting too crowded?>> I don't think that it would be possible for them to be "too crowded", the more the merrier.

    <<I recently just had my first success raising queens in a 5 frame nuc like this - but I only did one batch.>> I think raising queens is almost the most fun I've had while beekeeping.

    Initially this cell-builder nuc was in a normal 5-frame medium wooden nuc box. During the Winter of 2009-2010 I moved them into a nuc box built entirely of 1-1/4" thick styrofoam, without a completely screened bottom, just a few cracks near the bottom for ventilation and a slit at one end for the entrance. I'm amazed that they never developed a problem with laying workers -- perhaps because there are some cells of open brood on almost every frame of sealed/emerging brood added to the cell builder nuc.

    Now that they are four or five medium frames in a 5-frame deep nuc box, when undisturbed there are lots of bees clustering beneath the frames. During nectar flows I can add a foundationless frame, or plastic frame, every two days, and they will be built into combs.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Nice image!
    I read a report, many years ago, that stated that the age of the larvae at time of grafting determined the number of tubules per ovary in the queen.
    A well fed queen larvae will have excess royal jelly left in her cell after she emerges.
    Good Luck,
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,350

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    I was just thinking about the questions and answers in my last post.

    You'd think that in my cell-builder nuc, by now there would be ten or twenty phoretic mites on each bee. I just keep adding sealed brood and grafted cell cups.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
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    1,037

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Joseph,
    Have you ever done a write up on your queen rearing methods, I have gotten bits and pieces from some of your post, but think it would be great to read a full explaination. You always have great looking cells.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    . . .the age of the larvae at time of grafting determined the number of tubules per ovary in the queen.
    Considering that the age of the larva at grafting is the main determining factor in future queen health and fecundity -- larger queen cells may contain a larger reserve of excess royal jelly, but probably aren't indicative of a better developed queen. The larger cells may just be an indicator of better fed queen larva.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    brac,
    I had not yet thought about writing up my queen rearing experiences.

    I can't really say that any of what I do in my queen rearing is unique. I read several books about queen rearing, some recently and some several decades ago. I tried to incorporate those ideas that sounded good to me. After trying them, I kept those I liked and dropped those that didn't work for me.

    I see what you mean - if I get a chance I'll write it up and post it at one of my web sites.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 08-19-2010 at 04:15 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    How about some links to your websites? The information that you have given here - that you can use a nuc as a (high quality) cell builder/finisher for a long period of time by adding emerging brood - is very useful. Especially since it is very much like the method that I'm trying to learn as a hobbyist.

    I was under the impression that the queenless CB hive would "burn out" or somehow stop performing after just a few batches. It's very useful to hear that is not the case - greatly simplifies the process for someone like me that would like to raise queens all season long, but not keep hundreds of mating nucs or make it a full time job.

    A simple "This is how I raise Queens" post would be great. That what you are doing isn't unique is eclipsed by the fact that you are currently successfully doing it and are willing to share. There is lots of information that is basically "You could do this" but IMO what is golden is "This is what I do, and it works." With pictures

    Thanks.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 08-19-2010 at 07:05 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Here's is an interesting URL about queen quality:

    David C. Gilley · David R. Tarpy · Benjamin B. Land
    Effect of queen quality on interactions between workers
    and dueling queens in honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies
    http://www.culturaapicola.com.ar/apu...cto_obrras.pdf
    Selection of high-quality queens by the workers during
    queen development has been demonstrated by Hatch et al.
    (1999), who found that during emergency queen rearing
    (the process by which workers rear queens from worker
    larvae to replace a queen that has died unexpectedly)
    workers preferentially destroyed queen cells built from
    older worker larvae. Despite selective behavior by the
    workers during queen rearing, considerable variation in
    quality exists among newly emerged adult queens (Eckert
    1934; Clarke 1989; Fischer and Maul 1991). This
    variation in quality among queens gives workers the
    opportunity to benefit by selecting high quality queens
    that are fully developed, when the decision will be most
    accurate.
    Ernie
    Last edited by BEES4U; 08-19-2010 at 08:34 AM. Reason: added verbage
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,350

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Until now all my queens were produced in, what I consider, normal sized queen cells. I decided to check them out and see how well these queens were doing.

    There seems to be a light honey flow happening right now. Just yesterday I was going in to some of my production hives to feed them pollen substitute patties and discovered that several foundationless frames, which I had given them earlier in the season, but they hadn't been completely drawn, were now completed and full of hatching eggs and young larva.

    Since almost all fifteen of my production hives are headed by queens I raised in February or March 2010 (one or two are later replacements). I was carefully checking to get an idea as to their fecundity and laying patterns. They have all continued producing nice, solid patterns. They also have been keeping, what I consider, nice large brood nests.

    Whenever I harvested a comb of sealed brood to use in the cell-builder or to boost a queenless nuc, I would replace it with an empty or brood-less comb. Almost without exception that replacement comb would be layed-up within two or three days. All these hives have remained strong, despite my frequently stealing combs of sealed brood, and their being an almost month-long dearth between the early Spring/Summer honey flow and now a late Summer flow. The only sugar syrup I've been feeding was to my queen cell building nuc.

    So, all things considered, it appears that very nice queens can emerge from normal-sized queen cells.

    I am yet awaiting the newest queens and observing how they do.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Ozark, Ar
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    brac,
    I had not yet thought about writing up my queen rearing experiences.

    I can't really say that any of what I do in my queen rearing is unique. I read several books about queen rearing, some recently and some several decades ago. I tried to incorporate those ideas that sounded good to me. After trying them, I kept those I liked and dropped those that didn't work for me.

    I see what you mean - if I get a chance I'll write it up and post it at one of my web sites.
    Hi Joseph
    Which web sites, do you write Blogs for ?
    David

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,350

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Most of my writings about beekeeping for the past several years have been here to the Beesource forums.

    One domain I've had for many years, is "cordovan-honeybee.com", but I haven't been updating it since the laptop I configured to work that domain went down because of a simple power supply issue. I now intend to get my butt in gear and repair that laptop, get back to developing that domain to expound on what I have been doing in my beekeeping.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    Several of those queens from the large cells have emerged, and as predicted by historical observation and research -- queens raised in those larger queen cells were the same size as queens raised in cells of more usual size. Since they are still virgins, they may appear different once mated and laying. I will follow them for awhile to see if they do well.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Green Lane, PA
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    839

    Default Re: Larger queen cells - do they produce larger queens?

    delete double post
    Last edited by Yuleluder; 08-23-2010 at 04:21 PM. Reason: double post

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