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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS, USA
    Posts
    83

    Default Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    I am new to the idea of queen rearing but have read four books on the subject and read a bunch of threads on this site. I have no hands on experience with queen raising. I plan to raise a few queens the first year (maybe a few dozen). I will be using 8 frame mediums and (probably) build about 10 sets of 5 frame nucs with supers based on the Coats design reduced to medium frame size for use as mating nucs.

    I need opinions on the pros and cons of the Mann Lake Queen rearing system. The ability to put a queen cell protector/cage seems like a good idea since I might be a day late getting back to the ripe queen cells. Does the queen really have to be confined to force her to lay in the cell block? Could you just drill a board to hold the cups and would she lay without the without confinement?

    Does anyone make an 8 frame Cloake board? I might have to make one out of an 8 frame queen excluder...


    Mann Lake Queen system:
    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeepin...es/page51.html

    Nuc- note, I will be reducing it to fit 6-1/4" frames. My nuc bottom plan is to reduce the Side height "A" to 6-5/8", and the Front and Back "D" and "E" height to 5-7/8". This gives a 3/8" bee space above and below the frames. I am planning to make supers with Side Height "A" of 6-5/8", and the Front and Back "D" and "E" to 5-7/8" giving a 3/8" bee space above the frames.
    http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yo...oates-version/

    Thanks,

    Tim H

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    3,999

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    I tried one this year without much luck. I put the frame in the hive a few days without the plastic cover to let the bees clean it up. Next I put my favorite queen in it for 5 days she didn't lay a single egg. After releasing the queen the bees superseded her.

    That just my experience a lot of people have good luck with the things. I intend to try it again next year.

    Grant on the forum wrote a nice paper on the nicot system, maybe you can find it. I think oldtimer also had some useful information.
    Dan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ravenna, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    316

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    This is not a "Mann Lake" queen rearing kit, as they would like you to believe. It is the Nicot system, and other suppliers carry it. We may add it next year to our offering. However, we prefer the Jenter kit we carry. It is the original.
    Blue Sky Bee Supply
    Quality Bee Supplies, Bees and Containers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,277

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    I've used the Jenter that you can get at Blue Sky Bee Supply. I've had great success with it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,477

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Don't there have to be bees inside the unit w/ the queen?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS, USA
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Thanks for the replies. I worry about getting back to the hive too late and discover the only remaining virgin queen. Are queen cell protector/cages used by many people?

    I found Old Timer's thread on raising queens without grafting and it is packed with useful information.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...thout-Grafting

    THIS IS THE MORE COMPLETE, COMPILED INSTRUCTIONS FROM OLD TIMER'S THREAD:

    http://www.beesource.com/resources/e...t-cell-method/

    EDITED TO ADD:
    I just found Grant's article on the Mann Lake/Nicot system

    http://nicot.homestead.com/easynicot.html


    Thanks!
    Last edited by TooFarGone; 11-05-2012 at 06:23 AM. Reason: New information

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Ditto on the 8 frame Cloake board who makes one?
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,277

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Quote Originally Posted by TooFarGone View Post
    Does the queen really have to be confined to force her to lay in the cell block?
    The confinement is more to help with timing. When she is confined to the grid she has no other option than to lay in the cell plugs. If you don't confine her then she may or may not lay in them. You'd constantly be checking the plugs for eggs, which would be a huge pain.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    I wouldn't bother with the Nicot/Jenter system. The queen will easily out lay the 110 cells in a day and you run the risk of you or the bees hurting her.

    Depending on your dexterity and eye sight. I'd graft or cell punch/cut cell.

    You can find several youtube video son grafting and cell punching. The only thing you really need to have is patience and bees. If you pull the queen and put her in a NUC, the bees are going to try to make a new queen. Your job is to convince them to make the cells where you want them.

    After that, it's just a matter of making the conditions right for the bees to make an excess of quality cells and have enough drones to mate all those queens.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    I will take exception to the popular opinion on this thread. The system works pretty well. I tried it with two different queens and they all laid up the eggs readily in the cells. I just mounted the cage on the frame, caught the queen and placed her in between the hives. NO clean up period or hive smell infusion period. 6 hours later there were eggs there. I released the queen, took the top cover off and put the box back into the hive. After 3 days they hatched and I was able to raise the queens with it. It is a time intensive and cup wastefull on small scale, but on a large scale I think it work pretty well. What I do is I tape half of the cells over, so that they are not accessible by the queen. That way I only waste half of the cups. You can actually graft into the jenter cups too, if you so desire.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Quote Originally Posted by AramF View Post
    I will take exception...
    I guess that's your right. However, Tim asked for the Pro/Cons

    IMO

    I don't see a lot of pros with the Nicot system.

    Cons:
    80 Dollar Cost
    Locating Queen
    Capturing Queen
    Risk of Damage to Queen
    Loading/Unloading Cups
    Cleaning up Cup Holder
    ETC.

    I think it does a decent job at what it's designed to do, but for the 80 dollar cost, risk to the queen, and other potential problems. It's not worth it to me.

    I do like the base/holder/cup, but with JZBZ's plastic cell bar the attraction is less.

    I have a hard time seeing the value of going through all the process. When you can just shake bees off a frame, shine a light into the bottom of the cell, scoop out larva into cups, and replace the frame.

    -Kevin

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Carlton,WA,USA
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Grafting is best but my vision isn't the best and I have a hand tremor that most of the males in my family have so I've given up on grafting. I've had good luck with the Nicot system, also sold by Mann Lake. I think all the systems that cage the queen would be similar.

    There is one trick they don't tell you about. The queen does not like the smell of plastic. Spray the cage with sugar syrup and after the bees clean the plastic, the queen will accept the plastic cells.

    To be clear, spray the cage and install the queen into the wet cage. You don't have to wait a day before installing the queen. My experience is it takes about 12 to 24 hours before the queen starts to lay. So, check two days after installing. Usually you will have eggs and release her. On occasion it will take another day for her to lay.

    Knowing the age of the larvae as closely as possible helps tremendously. So if you installed on Sunday and released her on Tuesday, I would assume she laid the eggs on Monday. 3 1/2 days after being laid, the egg hatches. So on Friday you will have larvae that is 12 to 36 hours old.

    On occasion I find a mix of eggs and young larvae. Don't use the eggs. Not sure why but the bees won't accept eggs.

    "Met-How" Kraig

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    674

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Ditto on Met-How...
    I used it this past year with great success. The key is spraying the cell box with sugar water. I spray it when I place it in the hive 24 hours before placing the queen. I only had one bad batch this past spring but that was just bad luck. Had a virgin queen return to the wrong hive that contained the NICOT/Mann Lake cell box full of larvae, my cell building hive. Needless to say, I got no queen cells.

    The older gentlemen here in town that I have bought VSH queens from in the past have used the system for years. I've learned a great deal from them.
    Keys:
    1. STRONG laying queen
    2. STRONG cell builder hive
    3. Flow is on or feeding
    4. Find someone that will share the Excel calendar with you. You just plug in the dates and it tells you exactly what day you need to do each item needed.
    I used the cages with great success. Allowed all of the first batches to hatch into the cages and introduced into queenless 5 frame nucs. Had a couple not work out but that may have been due to a non-returning queen after her mating flights.

    As for me, I really like the NICOT/Mann Lake system.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Carlton,WA,USA
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Riverhawk,
    I used to spray the box and place it in the hive 24 hours before installing the queen.
    But last year, I did several batches where I placed the queen in the wet cage and it seemed to work fine.
    This saves one trip to the yard.

    Like I said above, it takes about 24 hours before she lays.

    Methow Kraig

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS, USA
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Mann Lake Queen rearing system?

    Guys,

    I really appreciate the operating tips on these systems!

    TimH

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