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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Newport News, Va

    Default Overcrowding to produce queens?

    I have seen a video of Don TFBM and listened to the podcast he did where he talks about overcrowding a hive you wish to produce queens from by limiting them to one box and feeding them. I also listened to Michael Bush talk about it in one of his presentations. Is this a good method for producing queens on a small scale basis?
    I gather that they would be quality queens based on that the bees have decided from the start which larvae to make queens and have fed the them as such.
    Does anyone use this method and can offer tips or advice?
    If you cut out the queen cells and put them in mating nucs, should you leave one queen cell in the original colony and remove the original queen?
    What about the intention to swarm, they have decided to swarm obviously, can it be stopped or is this a reason not to use this method?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Olympia, Washington

    Default Re: Overcrowding to produce queens?

    A heavy population in a hive raising queens provides th best chance that all of the cells will be well fed and tended, whether grafting or not.
    If you are trying to force swarm cells, crowding them induces the swarm preparation that making the new queen cells is a part of. If you are doing that you certainly would want to consider moving the queen--the won't swarm while they are queenless, and are likely to the day or day before the cells are capped if the queen is present.

    When I force queen cells, when I see a bunch of cups forming, I move the queen, a frame of brood or two, a frame of food, and an empty frame to a nuc.

    I put a frame with a couple cells on it, one of open brood, one of capped brood, and two of stores into a nuc and shake enough bees in to crowd them pretty well. The extra cell is for insurance, so that if one fails the nuc does not go queenless.

    You could just remove the queen to a separate nuc or hive box, replace the frames taken from the original hive with foundation or empty frames, and let them raise a queen from the may queen cells. And if all that you want is one colony of increase from the original, that is what I would do.

    I divide the original into 4 frame nucs to get the most increase I can from the hive -- my goal is more bees, not more honey.

    What is best for you to do depends on what you are trying to accomplish--what fits your goals most closely?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Denison, Texas

    Default Re: Overcrowding to produce queens?

    I will be trying this, this coming spring.
    The crowding to swarming technique FBM-Don describes is ok if you're willing to chance a hive swarming. With the Clemens/LaFernay
    system, the hive stays queenless, so no swarming. Then just add your frame with grafts, or larvae for them to make cells from.


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