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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Todd County, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Six queens in one hive!

    A crazy thing happened today in the bee yard-

    I mentioned in another post that I had purchased a Mann Lake/Nicot queen rearing kit to use in our club's demonstration apiary. Along with using the kit for the first time, I am also trying John Harding's Queen Rearing System.

    According to my calendar, the queens were due to hatch this coming Sunday afternoon. We had really hot weather here last week and I expected that they might hatch a little early. Late yesterday (Thurs) afternoon I went out and set up my mating nucs and planned to install queen cells today. When I got out to the bee yard this afternoon (Fri) and opened my cell builder I discovered that 4 of the queens had already hatched. Yikes! But, no worries, I started looking through the frames and found one queen right away. I grabbed her, and walked over to a nuc, installed her in it, and walked back the the cell builder. I found queens 2 and 3 and repeated the process. By the time I got back to the cell builder another queen had hatched. I got #4 moved, and when I got back to the CB again, a SIXTH queen had hatched. At that point I grabbed some hair roller cages to put over the remaining cells. When that was done I got #'s 5 and 6 moved to their nucs. It was so awesome to see so many freshly hatched queens at one time, and to be able to place them right into the nucs and watch the bees accept them right away. Normally I place the ripe cells into the nucs and then wait a week or ten days before checking on them. A few times I have heard the queens piping, and I have watched them open the cells and emerge, but never so many at once. I was soooooo lucky that I got out there when I did, before any of the queens started killing the others and/or tearing down the other cells.

    I am extremely happy with the results of my trial.

    I placed 20 cups on my cell bar, of which 19 cells were started. Of the 19 cells, 17 were completed. Of the 17, 2 were covered with comb leaving 15 viable cells. I moved 6 queens today and left 9 cells in the hive and expect that they will have all hatched by morning. Too soon to tell how many good, mated queens this batch will yield, but things are looking good so far. I have to say, for someone wanting to raise just a few queens, the Harding System looks very easy to me. It was really, really nice to only have to look through 5 frames for the early hatched queens, rather than 2 or 3 deeps worth of frames. Of course, next time I will plan on moving the ripe cells a bit earlier

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: Six queens in one hive!

    Did you use the two towers made of 5 frame nucs, or did you use full size boxes?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Todd County, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Six queens in one hive!

    I used 5 frame nucs for both towers and the cell builder in the middle. I started with two really strong hives that were in 2 deeps, then transferred those frames into 4 nucs each. It worked out really well. I just kept pulling full frames of honey out and moving them to other hives and then pulled out frames of brood as needed to re-stock the middle cell builder nuc. That kept the towers from getting too strong and wanting to swarm. I had extra nuc boxes on hand and could also have expanded upwards if needed, but after running one round of cells through the system I think the way I did it was perfect- fewer boxes to handle which saved time when I had to go into the towers.

    The beauty of it is that it gives a nice strong cell builder hive, but when I need to go through it I only have the 5 frames to handle. Makes it very quick and efficient.

    I am definitely going to keep this system going for demonstration purposes. I can't raise enough queens with it to meet my customer's needs, but it will easily produce enough queens to supply our club members.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,272

    Default Re: Six queens in one hive!

    Claire's Mom, are you going to overwinter in those nucs?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Todd County, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Six queens in one hive!

    Hi Adrian-

    I'm going to overwinter something in nucs but I am not sure yet what that will be. I am still selling queens and nucs and have no idea what I will be left with at the end of the season. I'd like to overwinter 6-12 nucs if I have that many left.

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