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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Confining more than one queen to a frame for grafting.

    Has anyone tried to confine several queens (separate push in cages) to one frame and graft from multiple mothers? Queens have a tendency to be freed by the workers, so some risk may be involved, but I don't necessarily see any reason why several queens couldn't be confined to one frame, moved back to their colonies after 24 hours, and the eggs introduced to a ton of nurse bees as they hatch. The result should be larva of the right age for grafting, floating in jelly, from several queen mothers that would simplify the production process.
    Am I missing something?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,312

    Default Re: Confining more than one queen to a frame for grafting.

    Yes, you are missing an important something! You're missing the fact that the queens still have to be fed while in the laying process. This is done by workers from her own hive. While nurse bees are normally very adaptive, I don't think you're going to have good results with 2 or 3 or more active queens laying in a single hive. I assume you know that commercial queen breeders have been rearing queens for a long, long time now, and that they have the procedures pretty well down pat. So, why not just use the wheel that's already been invented instead of putting square corners on it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Confining more than one queen to a frame for grafting.

    I have been grafting for several years now following the Doolittle method and am not convinced that my idea wouldn't work. If you place more than one queen in an established colony there may be some problems, but a swarm box or a nuc moved to a different place in the yard to get rid of field bees may just work.
    If we all assumed everything has already been perfected we would no longer have new developments. It is probably a bad idea, like most ideas are, but having ideas is what makes life worth living. If I don't get a response from someone that has tried it, read about it, or has some unique expertise to suggest otherwise, I will probably try it and it will probably fail. Afterwards I will have learned about one more dumb thing not to do in the future. Can I set up several colonies and graft from several frames instead - sure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,709

    Default Re: Confining more than one queen to a frame for grafting.

    Hives will often accept a laying queen right away. Sometimes they don't. If you have a queen worth grafting from, why would you take a chance on the bees killing her?

    How exactly will it simplify anything to remove queens from their hive, allow them to lay while confined, and then reintroducing them into the hive you removed them from, hoping you returned the queens to the correct hive and risking another opportunity for the bees to kill a quality queen?

    The least expensive breeder queens I have seen advertised start out at $100 each. If you like gambling unnecessarily with $100 bills, that's your choice. Just ask yourself how much you will profit in savings by this technique, factoring in the occasional loss of $100+ breeder queens.

    If it isn't a $100+ quality breeder queen, why are you grafting from her? Why not just do all your grafting from one queen if you just want the grafting practice?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Confining more than one queen to a frame for grafting.

    I usually end up shaking swarm boxes and making colonies up with emerging brood anyway so why not test the hypothesis with free queens. The basic idea is not to get the best genetics from inbreeds but rather diversify the genetics with $15 dollar bees. If it works well with home grown queens then purchasing queens from several queen shops and repeating the process would only save some time. Once the queens have laid eggs for 24 hours they would be transfered to another queenless nuc full of young bees only and round two would begin. If I could do this for a straight week or two with several finishers handy, the resulting number of diverse queens could provide more diversity in which to choose from and possibly help to repopulate my area with multiple sex alleles. In a way, it is analogous to Latshaw's mixing of semen from multiple genetic lines, but relies more on multiple queens.

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