Re: My Project for Year 3
I had asked M. Palmer the same thing at the start of last year. I hope he doesn't mind me posting this here but this was the response he gave to me:
First, read some books. Brother Adam...Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey
Page and Laidlaw...Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding
I'm sure you must know the biological processes of how thwe bees rasise a new queen. They use one of three methods...
It's no big deal to the bees. They do it all the time. It's no big deal to the beekeeper if you imitate what the bees do.
Growing queens via emergency response is out as far as I'm concerned. Too risky, and there are way too few cells. De-queening a colony to produce a few cells on a couple frames of brood isn't worth the trouble and the wasted colony.
Supercedure makes great queens, but nothing you can rely on or plan on. Sure, it's been shown that you can snip off a queen's antennae and the colony will supercede her. Again, nothing you can rely on and they only produce a very few cells. Another wasted colony for a couple of cells.
Swarming is a great way to raise cells. Good cells and plenty of them...but still how do you plan? Still using naturally built cells in a limited quantity on frames of brood.
Borther Adam took advantage of the emergency response combined with the swarming impulse, and that's what I've been doing for most of my queen rearing career.
Basically, cell building is all about the jelly. There must be an over abundance of nurse bees for the number of cells raised. If you could build a colony into a powerhouse, and then remove the queen, the bees will build some nice cells, but very few. If you set up the colony correctly, you create a cell builder that is queenless and has no open brood from which to raise cells...so you give them a graft of say...45 cups...and they go to town.
On day 1...Adam brings in a hive body of predominantly sealed brood and bees. This is placed over an excluder above a strong quenright colony.
10 days later any open brood is sealed...no larvae in the box above excluder.
The colony is broken down. Box above excluder is removed. Queenright hive is turned around onto ground behind stand and faced the other way. A new bottom is place on original stand facing original way. A partially filled super (this was actually placed above the excluder on day 1 so there won't be any open brood) goes on the bottom with the box of sealed brood...now called the cell builder...on top. The outside two combs are removed from the cell builder. An exceptional pollen comb is placed in the center with a space next to it that will receive the graft later that day. The bees in the core of the broodnest of the queenright section are shaken into the cell builder...through a queen excluded shaker box...so you don't get a queen in the cell builder.
In almost no time, the bees in the cell builder realize they are queenless. Not only queenless, but hopelesley queenless. The start whining and crying and flying aimlessley around the hive and about the apiary. They run all over the outside of the hive very agitated.
Later that afternoon, a cell bar frame with your grafts is placed in the cell builder, next to the pollen comb. The bees almost immediately calm down and go back in the hive. They jump right on the grafts and draw out beautiful cells...remember how packed with nurse bees they are and the volume of the hive has been greatly reduced.
5 days later, the cell builder and the queenright section can be re-united as the cells are sealed at that point. Remove the cell builder and super from the stand. Replace the queenright section on the stand facing the original way. Place an excluder on that section and the cell builder with sealed cells and super on top.
10 days after graft, the cells are ready to place in nucs, or whatever.
Remember, the bees do the work. We only imitate the bees natural responses and provide the cell building colony with all the resources they need...in abundance!! Remember to feed the colony to whole time the cells are being drawn out, with 1:1.
We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing