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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    It really isn't so difficult to create such a colony. Take one strong colony with prolific queen...like one having 10 frames of brood. Add a body full of emerging brood on top above and excluder. 10 days later, separate as I said, and give graft. 10 days later harvest cells, and do it again. 10 days later...this is what you have. Probably upwards of 15 frames of brood below the excluder...7 or 8 of those open brood...got nurses?

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
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    2,726

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    Thanks, Michael. This is great info without having to puzzle it out from books.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Okanagan, BC, Canada
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    52

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    Hi Lauri- what do you keep the incubator set at and what do you put in for humidity for hatching? I live the idea on a small scale was thinking about trying this for fun too Can put virgins into mini's i like the idea rather than the wait would love to try.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    also lauri, what humidity are you shooting for, and on what day to you transfer the capped cells to the incubator?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    Keep the incubator at 92-93 F for queen cells. My incubator is older, but has a trough for water, as I assume most still do. Keeping some in it at all times provides adequate humidity. You can put them in there any time after capping. I prefer leaving them in the builder a couple days after capping to let them sculpt and strengthen the cell walls. Thats probably all you gain though.....

    Sorry, I know the question wasn't directed at me. Lauri might have more to add......

  6. #46
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    got it! thanks whitetail.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,799

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    My rather non scientific approach first attempt was to try hatching the queen cells exactly like I do with hatching bird eggs. I just kept the water reservoir half full and left the two vent plugs out of the top. It was perfect.
    My problem was I couldn't find a reliably correct thermometer or humidity meter, or at least one I trusted. So my first try was just winging it. I placed the thermometer on the bottom of the incubator set at 92 degrees. The heating element is about 5" higher than that so I figured the interior temp at the top, where the queen cells were sitting in the hair roller cages was a few degrees warmer.My incubator has a circ fan-so the heat is distributed fairly evenly through out the interior. My gestation time and hatch rate were exactly on time-so that is the temp I went with all summer.

    I keep looking at the Cabelas commercial food dehydrator as a shell for a home made incubator. I have one and it is amazing for drying food, but the fan is like a jet engine. If you disable the fan, the heating may or may not be controllable. A small heating element and circulation fan would work if you can get them appropriate for the interior size.

    I have one that is a scratch and dent I may try to convert.

    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Home-...F_%2FN-1101295

    I put the cells in the incubator one or two days before hatching. I have also placed them in the incubator just a day after capping with just sightly lower hatch rates than more mature cells. I had problems with the cells being beautifully capped in the finisher hive and a few days later, many would be covered with burrcomb.Grrr...I tried everything that was suggested on Beesource for that without much improvement. Now, soon after they are capped, I cover them with a roller cage and have the flexability of moving them to the incubator any time it is convienent for me and weather permitting.

    I did not candle my cells last year and plan to do that this next season. No big deal in the incubator if they don't hatch though. A bigger deal if you are placing cells in the mating nuc if they are not viable.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    many thanks lauri!

    i can see where putting the hair rollers on while in the cell builder is a good idea.

    is this the incubator you are using?

    http://incubatorwarehouse.com/little...lated-air.html

    i want to try the paintbrush too, any tips on what size?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,799

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    Yes, that's the incubator I used.
    I used the smallest paint brush I could find. Here are a few I just picked up at Michael's crafts. They are a #0 or #1 I believe..about $3.50 each. A short thick handle that may be good. I hadn't seen these before and thought I'd try them. I needed a short handle to get it under my magnifier light just right. I just broke half off the old paint brush handle last year.



    I cut back the comb severely so if you have older comb that is deeper, you may need a slightly larger brush.
    I swizzle the brush in an old larva's royal jelly reserves, then moisten the receiving cell cup. Not to prime it so to speak, but just to moisten it for some moisture adhesion to aid in placing the larva. Trying to get a bunch of royal jelly with the larva just makes it harder to get them off the brush. They say the bees just clean it up anyway? I'm also getting just a bit of moisture in the cell cup so the larva are not placed in a dry environment for any length of time. Lightly roll clockwise to lift the larva, counterclockwise to get the little buggers off gently. I tried the Chinese grafting tool. I can pick up OK, but getting them off was harsh, even when I had them hanging off the end. I like the paint brush far better. It's soft, flexable and gentle.
    Last edited by Lauri; 12-28-2012 at 09:58 PM.

  10. #50
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    perfect. i can't wait to try this......
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
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    1,799

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    You will enjoy it. I was expecting a lot of trial and error and was pleasantly surprised to have success right from the start. There are alot of ways to get to the same end result. You just need to read up, choose a few methods and try them. There are a lot of threads about raising queens without grafting. SO many in fact it seemed like people created a lot more work for themselves just trying to aviod grafting. You might as well just learn how to do it. My first grafts were as successful and my grid system, which told me it was my cell builder and finishers that were in need of work. Manipulating those bees to perform reliably was more of a learning curve than grafting.

  12. #52
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    if i remember right, you gave up on the cell grid. but are you happy with the rest of the stuff in the mann lake system?

    have you used the candy cups?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,167

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    A home made incubator is not hard to make. I have made several. Here are a bunch and some include fairy good instructions.
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/ho...signs-pictures

    Here is what I have learned in making about 4 different ones.

    Use a well insulated box big enough for your purpose. Better insulation means better heat control and a smaller heat source.

    A light bulb works fine for heat in a small incubator.

    I eventually bought a heat controller but the hot water thermostat works fine if you keep the back facing the bulb and close to it. by close I mean a couple of inches away.

    Humidity is a factor of water surface to air volume. so the size of the container maters only in regard to to the surface area. I don't know how critical humidity is to queen incubation.

    As for the reliability of a thermometer or a Hygrometer. Thermometers are easier to find that are fairly accurate. I buy the ones they sell for aquariums at Wal Mart. I take every thermometer they have and look at them side by side. the ones that all read the same temp are the ones I buy.

    Hygrometers are never accurate you need to calibrate them. this is simple to do. Here is one set of instructions.
    http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com...calibrate.html
    Note hygrometer does not go in the salt solution. it goes in a bag or container with the salt solution. After it has set for several hours. I like it to set for 24 hours. read what it says. the humidity in the bag is 75% that is known. so if your meter reads anything but that is how much it is off. I simply write that number on the meter. So if the meter reads 3% to high I write -3. that tells me to subtract 3 from the number I am reading.

    A thermometer is even easier. Lauri does what I do. I know through trial and error the temperature I want to see on the thermometer when it is placed in a certain location. So if reading 92 degrees on a thermometer placed on the floor gives me the desired results. that is what I watch for. If that same thermometer where moved up higher it might read 95 degrees. IT is not a matter of measuring the exact temperature as it is having some measurement to go by. once you know the correct reading for any given thermometer that thermometer is like gold.

    A big note on making your own once you build it and have the temp set pretty close. just shut it up and let it set 24 hours. let the incubator stabilize. If you reset the temp every time it goes over or under your desired setting you will go nuts. temperature swings back and forth at first. So just let the incubator set for a few hours at least and then decide if you are over or under your target temp.

    Also I would really suggest you have a back up bulb and thermostat wired into the set up. in case the first bulb ever burns out. set that stat just a degree or two below the first. Otherwise keep the queens indoors where you can watch them all the time.

    For parts any box you can find will work. Styrofoam ice chests work very well.

    Bottle lamp kit
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/GE-Bottle-Lamp-Kit/16561522
    You can find them at Home Depot also.
    Thermostat
    http://www.lowes.com/10-15/_/N-2z8vk...ter+thermostat
    You can probably find the stat at Wal Mart and I know you can get them at Home Depot.

    Hardest part is getting the bulb set up with the stat to get a narrow range of temp. remember just keep it close and with the back facing the bulb.

    Wiring the stat. A stat is nothing but a switch that is controlled by temperature. So look up how to wire a switch.
    http://www.photocar.org/wp-content/u...switches-6.jpg

    Or ask me when you get there.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  14. #54
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    dan, thanks for taking the time to post the tips.

    (not as handy here as you and lauri)
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,704

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    The biggest downside to hatching queens in an incubator is that Mike Palmer will make fun of you (ask me how I know this).

    I use a reptile egg incubator. The biggest issue with an incubator in general is having the heat swing up and down..two things contribute to this problem...the amount of heat coming out of the heating element, and the mass of everything inside the incubator. The reptibator pulses the heating element so that it never gets too hot.

    I often have them emerge into hair roller cages, wooden cages, jzbz cages, or glass vials. In our case, we have a lot of things going on, and one of our yards is 2 hours away (several are an hour plus). The incubator gives us a bit of a buffer in the timing.

    I set my incubator at 94 (the thermostat on my incubator is probably more accurate than a standard chicken incubator thermostat), i leave a small container of water in the incubator for humidity (this also acts as mass, keeping the temperature stable).

    All things being equal, I think it's best to let the virgin emerge into a hive....but I can carry a half dozen virgins in my shirt pocket all day at a market and then go install them....without having to plan my timing 2+ weeks ahead of time.

    deknow

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    The biggest downside to hatching queens in an incubator is that Mike Palmer will make fun of you (ask me how I know this).
    deknow
    "Ha-ha!" Nelson

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    thank-you dean and good morning.

    (mike has been patient with me, as have you, but i can just see him rolling his eyes...)

    i noticed the reptile ones when i was searching, i'll take a closer look at them.

    i'll probably play around with placing cells in the nucs too and compare how things work.

    do you provide anything to eat in the cages for the newly hatched virgins?

    how does one get comb drawn on those little mating nuc frames?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post

    (mike has been patient with me, as have you, but i can just see him rolling his eyes...)

    how does one get comb drawn on those little mating nuc frames?
    1. Place them above the brood chamber of a strong colony...either end to end, or in special made supers.
    2. Place them end to end at the edges of the brood in a strong colony.

    3. Once you have some mini-nucs up and running, each will draw foundation. In fact....

    We were catching queens one day. Good flow on. Strong minis. Have to replace a comb with foundation to give them room. Went back into the nuc 15 minutes after adding the foundation. It was almost fully drawn. 15 minutes!

  19. #59
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    thanks michael, that makes sense to get them drawn first.

    15 minutes! that's amazing.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,167

    Default Re: first attempt at queenrearing

    I am goign to have to rear some queens just to be able to rear some queens. I did that last year that is how I came up with two nucs. But now it is looking like it was not nearly enough.

    I like the cell starter separate from the cell finisher but no way I will be able to pull that off. I am going to try and find someone with land so I can set up more hives. I am looking for land to buy but that is going nowhere fast ATM. If I do find places to set hives I may not accomplish much more than producing queens for myself next summer.

    The cell starter and finisher in one method requires two strong colonies to start. I have one and two nucs. So there will be a delay of some sort in getting the nucs to build up.

    The separate starter and finisher requires three strong colonies. no way I can accomplish that this next year soon enough.

    It looks like I am going to have to build up my colonies and maybe shoot for later season queens.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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