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  1. #1
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    Default Any of these larvae young enough to make queens?

    Are any of these larvae young enough for possible queen production? I'm trying to get an idea of what size is "ok". This will be for one of the non-grafting type of queen production...even doing a simple split I want to be sure I've got the right age larvae to work with. Thanks, Ed


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Any of these larvae young enough to make queens?

    This photo by virginiawolf is pretty helpful:



    From this article on beginner queen rearing.

    But to answer your question - they look a little on the big side, but the bees might make cells out of them anyway. You want the youngest larva that are not still eggs that you can find, and they are often found right next to eggs that are about to hatch - like in the picture. The ones you want will look like a drop of milk, and you might not even be able to see the larva with naked eyes, but they are in there. They feed royal jelly to them as soon as they hatch, but not before.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Haslet, Tx
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    84

    Default Re: Any of these larvae young enough to make queens?

    Some of those on the bottom left corner look pretty good thoough.

  4. #4
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Any of these larvae young enough to make queens?

    johnth78,
    I was thinking similar thoughts. Some of those along the left edge of your photo, and especially in the bottom, left corner. They may be just a little older than I prefer, but I've sometimes used larvae of similar age (when it was hard to find younger) with good results.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Default Re: Any of these larvae young enough to make queens?

    I wonder sometimes if when you graft a small larva that is in the midst of some that are clearly older - like one in the lower left area of the picture - what is the chance that is really some kind of runt? I guess it is probably just an egg that got laid later for some reason, but still....

    Anyway, next season I intend to set up a breeder hive so that I can nearly always graft from a good frame with lots of larva the right age. Of course you know what they say about good intentions.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Lewistown,Pa,USA
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    178

    Default Re: Any of these larvae young enough to make queens?

    I look for a frame that is almost all eggs and then mark it. next day they will have hatched and you will be right on.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Any of these larvae young enough to make queens?

    Thanks everybody for the feedback! Very helpful. I'm beginning to visualize something somewhere between a "melted" egg look and a very milky looking "semi-c" shape.

    David, in my short stint as a beekeeper I have wondered the same thing about smaller/larger larvae interspersed with one another...are they younger or runts?? Maybe mark some cells somehow and remove the pupae a day or so before emerging to compare the sizes? Let me know what you find. It would be an interesting experiment, though.

    Beetrucker74, that sounds like a good method of insuring appropriately young larvae.

    My method of queen rearing will probably be simply creating nucs with frames with young enough larvae, I am not prepared for rearing numerous queens right now. If anything I may make one bar of grafts just to see if I can do it.

    Next time I go through the hives I'll take some pictures of younger larvae. Seems (as the newbee I am) that the "white" larvae tend to get my attention and draw the camera to it. My eyes aren't that good and I was barely even seeing the younger larvae and when I looked at the zoomed-in pictures I was actually surprised (happily) at all of the larvae. Even with the pictures I have yet to spot eggs in my hives...I guess the frames that I've photographed just happen not to be ones with eggs. I've already purchased an extra veil for my helmet...if I can find suitable clear plastic I'm going to cut the screen out and replace it with the plastic...hoping to get a better view. Anybody know where you can get clear replacement shields for hard hats?

    Thanks again for the comments!
    Ed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    975

    Default Re: Any of these larvae young enough to make queens?

    Ed - the trick Oldtimer uses is to isolate the breeder queen onto 3 combs by means of a hive divider made of queen excluder material for 80 to 84 hours. There will be lots of eggs that are too young, but the biggest larvae will be perfect. Just beginning to get bent, not yet making a full "C", less than 1.5x the length of an egg. Use a loupe.

    Those in the photo may work, but you'll get better queens if you use younger larvae. The older ones have probably already been fed at least some worker jelly, while the newer larvae are still on RJ. The goal is almost uninterrupted nurse bee attention with continuous Royal Jelly diet. Good luck.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-07-2012 at 05:04 PM.

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