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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Very cool. I thought had read somewhere that the queen bank had to be otherwise queenless, and that all of the banked queens had to be of the same age and banked at the same time. But If I'm understanding correctly you don't seem to be indicating either of those things.

    I hope I am understanding correctly because this would make it far more simple if only banking a few at a time.

  2. #62
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Yes if you read up about queen banking there is a lot of conflicting info, plus it is often made to sound very complex. I'm wondering if this might be due to different areas and locations, but I don't know.

    I only have personal experience banking queens in one location and it was quite a bee friendly one. However for us anyway, we did it in queenright hives, which kept the hives going and provided fresh young nurse bees. The hives were kept strong and brood from other hives was added if need be. We wanted to see LOTS of attentive nurse bees around the cages. We added or removed queens as needed, no need to do "all or nothing".

    If doing queen banking, i'd recommend stay away from plastic cages, use wooden ones made from a softish non aromatic type timber. If no flow feed the bees and ensure adequate pollen, real not artificial substitute.

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    would also like to see pictures of how you mate your queens. What set-up do you use, ect.
    There's a pic of a nuc and a bit of info on page 5 post 42, but next week I'll be back at the site I'll get some better pics and post a bit more info about mating nucs.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,721

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Thanks Oldtimer.

    I noticed that your mating nucs are standard LL hives divided into three sections. I've seen plans where they are divided into four sections : http://www.tc.umn.edu/~reute001/Plan...ting%20nuc.pdf

    I'm in the process of making a few, and was wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are of having a 3 section, 3 frame each mating nuc as opposed to a 4 section, 2 frame each mating nuc. Any advice?

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,949

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Here's what I do for a queen bank. I make up a queenless nuc with a frame of brood from each of three or four different hives and tow or three frames of honey from one of those. I put them in an eight frame medium box (I run all mediums) and after a couple of hours, I collect the queens and put them in the frame to put in the bank. After a couple of hours of queenlessness they are happy to have some queens. Then I don't ever add new queens to that bank unless I remove all the queens and add a new batch. The reason is if I add new queens they seem to often kill some of the old ones. I think they like the pheromones better of a queen that was laying a few minutes ago to one that's been banked. They almost always raise a new queen from the brood I put in the box and this doesn't seem to interfere. They just have a laying queen and a bunch of banked queens, though I usually catch her when she's laying well and ship her out so the bank doesn't get too strong.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Thanks for that Michael.

    Re the nucs, 4 x's 2 framers in a box will work, just a little more management required. I've gone for 3 framers because in my location a 3 framer can get through the winter without too much help from me so it's a lazy way of doing it. And I can do late fall queens & have them ready for those guys who want them early spring.

    Commercial guys mostly use much smaller nucs and comb sizes for mating, I've just gone this way as I'm only doing a few queens and don't want shed loads of gear. So I keep everything standard, as I sell ready to go hives also, so everything is interchangeable. The other thing with a larger nuc is I can let the queen lay for a while & properly test brood pattern before selling it.

    There's some other guys on the forum who have pretty clever mating nucs maybe they can chip in also, share their wisdom, and some pics would be great!
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Dripping Springs, TX USA
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    296

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Oldtimer or others. Do you have any dimensions for the queen bank and it's individual cages that are shown here?

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Actually when I made those cages in the picture, I didn't even measure.

    The frame is built to fit in a standard lang with correct bee space (same as a normal frame but wider). 3 shelves works best for good cage size. The cages were made from 1 inch wide timber ripped into strips, other than that i didn't measure but just eyeballed them to fit into the shelves, with a gap above so they can be taken in or out.

    When I next go to where they are I'll measure them.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Dripping Springs, TX USA
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Awesome! I appreciate your efforts and I'm sure others will also!

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Wakefield, Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    awesome post Oldtimer. thanks for sharing so much great knowledge

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    935

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Thank you, honored Kiwi! You've probably inspired many a budding small-scale queen rearer. Could you divulge some of the methods you used in the full-time queen business? I'd love to see the NZ approach in full scale.

  11. #71
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Hmmm.... Well there's a bit more to that than I've got time to write in a post!!

    But a few things -

    The basic principles are the same, but grafting is the method of choice for nearly all commercial producers as it's efficient and fast. Just a tip about grafting from a comb prepared as per post 1 of this thread, scrape off the cell walls first with a knife, just leaving the foundation with the grubs on it. Much easier to graft from & speeds things up no end.

    More bees in the swarm box and start perhaps 80 or so cells per box.

    Cell finishing is usually done in a hive that is not made queenless at any stage (unlike what I described here), and will finish a new batch of maybe 30 ish cells every few days. The finisher hives are "rested" for a while if cell quality drops.

    Smaller mating nucs than described in this thread.

    And there's a lot more but it like any other trade, the finer points of beekeeping & queen raising takes years of hands on to learn. Also everybody has their own methods and will agree, or disagree, with much that I've written.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    935

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Big THANK YOU on the reply...sounds like in your commercial operation the starter was a swarm box ~ 80 cells (2 queen cell frames?), finisher were above the excluders of strong, queenright colonies ~30 cells each and add capped brood is routinely added above the excluder? Mating boxes are numerous small mini-frame hives, and you'd re-queen in the fall? I'd love to see a picture of scraping the cell walls off the foundation leaving the grubs to graft. Does the knife go under them and the grubs fall through when the hexagons are lifted away? Is this done on day 1,2,3, or 4? Do they stay right side up? Again praises and thanks to you! Go Allblacks!

  13. #73
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Go Allblacks!
    I like you already!

    Yes the swarm box had 2 frames of 3 x's 16 cell bars, or max of 96 cells to start, there were 3 food frames so a total of 5 frames in the box. 24 hours later they were rearranged to two bar frames (32 cells max), and would go above the excluder in the finishing hive, one frame per hive. But a few days later another frame could be added. We didn't often add capped brood, but if need be we would add unsealed brood to keep nurse bees around the cells. But mostly the finishers were fairly self sustaining.

    I don't have a pick of the actual scraping away of the cell walls, but here's a pic after the cell walls have been scraped away in a section. Not my grubby fingers in the pic either BTW LOL! That was taken at a course I took.

    Remember the comb is very new, if you hold a knife parallel to the comb you can scrape the cell walls away easily, the larvae are tiny and in the "dip" at the bottom of the cell they are not affected. It's done on day 4 so there are very young larvae, and still some eggs. Also, the grafting brush is much finer than it looks in the pic because the actual tip is white & doesn't show in the pic.

    Most guys use mini nucs however we used nucs with a frame size 3/4 deep and 3/4 long. The nucs could hold 4 frames but we ran them with 3.

    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
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    784

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    I've seen a few people take a hot decapper knife. They cut the cells down to half height or more.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-17-2011 at 08:05 AM.

  15. #75
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    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    I've never seen that before, but it does sound like it would be easier than reaching down through the cell.

  16. #76

    Thumbs Up Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    oldtimer
    you sure got good eyes to use new foundation we use the dark ones little better to see with these old eyes.
    Don

  17. #77
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Sounds like a good idea, although I'm only doing cut cell method now anyway.

    When i started out as young guy I could see them easy as, my boss couldn't though so I did all the grafting. I remember thinking Wow he must have bad eyesight!. Oh well, that's me now, I can't graft anymore, although off a black comb, maybe?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,263

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    If you use a black Pierco foundation that has new comb that has never gone through a brood cycle, the wax pulls away from the plastic and leaves the larvae floating in the cell bottoms. Because there are no cocoons the larvae are not distrubed. They are easy to lift because they stand out against the black plastic and an artist brush or a plastic grafting tool slides easily slides under them. When you place the comb back in a colony the bees repair the comb overnight. To reuse the comb wash the larvae out and store it away.

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Nacogdoches,TX,USA
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    77

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Thank you !!!!!
    Great thread

    Dave

  20. #80
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Deposit,NY
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting

    Old timer - thanks a heap for the instructional posting. Just what i needed for the up coming Spring

    And thanks Barry for the permanent placement so we won't loose this valuable information.
    Cheers,
    Paul VanSlyke

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