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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Villa Rica, Ga
    Posts
    93

    Default Using an observation hive to raise queens. Will this work?

    I am planning to raise a few queens next year just to see if I can do it. I built an observation hive using the bonterra plans for in my house. We love this. We have learned so much. I plan on building one for the outside for next year. Once I get it established, I planned on trying to raise a couple of queens in this hive so I can watch the process.
    Is the following feasible?

    8 frame hive double wide outside with hinges on the glass for easy access.
    1. Obtain the correct age larvae by grafting from another hive.
    2. Section off the top 2 sections of the hive that is two frames each with a slide in piece of lauan. A total of four frames. Open up an entrance for theses four frames. The bottom four would have their own entrance.
    3. A few hours later place the larvae in the cups on a queen frame into the top queen less section that is sectioned off.
    4. Then after the queen cells are made and capped, place one capped queen cell in each top section. Section off the top four frames with another piece of lauan and open up an additional entrance.

    This will have four frames sectioned off on the bottom with the original entrance. Two frames on the top with a capped queen cell with its own entrance. Two frames below that with its own entrance and queen cell. Basically having the queen right hive below and two mating "nucs" on the top.

    4. Once the queens return and start laying, either take the two frames and start a nuc or use the queen in another hive.

    5. Once complete remove the two pieces of lauan to recombine the entire hive if the queens were removed only. Otherwise two nucs were made out to these frames and 4 new frames were given to the hive.


    If the queens failed to be successfull remove the two pieces of lauan to recombine the hive.
    This would be fascinating to watch in an observation hive. Is this possible or I just dreaming. This would only make two queens but I could watch the process. If I need more at a time I would just follow one of the other traditional methods. Seems to me this would be similar to using a cloake board. I also plan on having feeder trays on each mating nuc that i can fill with IV tubing and a large syringe. Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,727

    Default Re: Using an observation hive to raise queens. Will this work?

    Yes it would work.

    As a schoolboy I built myself a one frame observation hive in the school woodwork shop. It had a low watt lightbulb in a compartment underneath to assist with heating. I had already split a nuc off my one hive and let them raise a queen to put into the observation hive, but with my poor beekeeping skills, in the chaos of transfering the bees to the observation hive I killed the queen. But I set it up anyway queenless, and spent the next few weeks watching in fascination as they raised one solitary queen cell, which hatched, went on to mate and then started laying eggs. The day I saw the first eggs I was ecstatic!

    Depending on what quality queens you need, the temperature they are raised at is important. Your hive will struggle to maintain correct temperature throughout, but long as there are plenty of bees in there, no reason why you could not end up with two or three reasonable cells. There may also be some small, ratty cells, that you may choose to discard. If you get them to raise too many cells, they will all be less well cared for. The smaller the number, the better they will be looked after.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Villa Rica, Ga
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Using an observation hive to raise queens. Will this work?

    Thanks for the response. I think it would be a blast to watch. Also, I may need to put on a cut down queen excluder for about 7 days to let the larvae and eggs get too old for the bees to make more queens prior to adding the grafted queen cells.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Using an observation hive to raise queens. Will this work?

    I have just raised my third queen in the past two seasons - in my 4 frame ob. hive. This last queen hatched on 9-12 and started laying 9-23. The first two queens were put into 5 frame nucs when the ob. hive got too full.

    Sure fun to watch the process. Charlie

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