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  1. #1
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    Mar 2013
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    Default propagating queens

    I'm fairly new at this, and have a question for you. I have a older friend that hasn't been able to take care of his bees for a couple of years. His bees are strong, and full of hive beetles, but they just keep making large brood nest then swarming.I can take care of the beetles. I bought one of his hives , and want to propagate off of the queen. I have taking the queen Sunday, and put her in a crowded nuc with lots of brood. I made two hives of queenless bees with brood out of the remaining bees. My intention is to make swarm cells in the nuc with this queen then put the cells into other mating nucs. What do you think of this ideal, and when should I start checking for swarm cells.Also I need to be able to age the swarm cells. Any follow up advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Warrior, Alabama
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    1,071

    Default Re: propagating queens

    Sounds like a good plan. The queenless bees are already starting queen cells.

    Rather that keeping the queen in the nuc until it get crowed and they swarm, consider removing a few frames with eggs and starting additional queenless nucs. They will them raise queens from her genes.

    I would have a 1:1 feeder on all of them!
    Old Guy in Alabama

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    What you are considering is a good way to make nucs and they are very sellable in themselves. however if you are thinking of seriously raising queens you need to graft. It is the only efficient way to foster large numbers of queens.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    What a brilliant idea!
    But be sure to monitor this crowded nuc.
    Because as soon as the queen cells are capped they will swarm with the old queen. Hopefully not but just in case.
    The best way is to take the old queen out of the nuc after she had laid in there.
    This way the crowded bees will make you some nice fat queen cells. No swarming since
    there is no queen bee inside. After you got your queen cells then just return the frames back to the original hive
    if you don't want this nuc. Otherwise let them grow from this hive with a new queen.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    What a brilliant idea!
    But be sure to monitor this crowded nuc.
    Because as soon as the queen cells are capped they will swarm with the old queen. Hopefully not but just in case.
    The best way is to take the old queen out of the nuc after she had laid in there.
    This way the crowded bees will make you some nice fat queen cells. No swarming since
    there is no queen bee inside. After you got your queen cells then just return the frames back to the original hive
    if you don't want this nuc. Otherwise let them grow from this hive with a new queen.
    I hadn't thought of them leaving with my queen. I will put a extruder over the entrance tommorrow. then if I miss a cell they can leave with a virgin, but not my queen.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    I think you meant, excluder.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
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    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    Oh, no! This is a bad idea to put on a queen excluder (you mean excluder right) over the entrance. If they swarm you still have
    a chance to catch them but who would want to if you can prevent it. If you don't pull the old queen out before the virgin queens hatch, they will fight with the current queen. The newly emerged queen will fight with each others as well if they all hatch at the same time. Also there is a chance that the old queen will kill off the qc too. If one die while the other one injured then you would have wasted one month time for this process.
    Actually, the proper process is to find a strong hive you want some queens from. Then find the queen to put her in a
    nuc to continue laying. The strong hive will make their own queen cells. Using the queen rearing calendar to approximate
    the time these qc will hatch. Then just 2-3 days before they hatch put mini queen cages to cover these qc. Using the
    mini queen cage will not harm the virgin queen since each individual qc will be inside a mini cage.
    This way we are able to save all the queens that hatched without them killing each others. I was able to save all 4 qc
    in the same hive using mini cages because all 4 hatched out at 3 days difference. These are easy to make window screen mini cages.
    A bee friend here recommend that I use them to prevent them killing each others off. I know they will because beekeepers here complaint
    about this issue as well. There can be after swarm too if the virgins not kill off each others first. I rather cage them or take out the old queen
    so not have to deal with fixing issues later on.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    yeah, don't put an excluder over the entrance, it's just a bad idea in general. Just be diligent in pulling queencells out of the nuc and you should be fine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    I would check the hive once a week for queen cells. Then once you find swarm cells split the hive up into as many nucs as you can make. If you use wax foundation you can cut out most of the cells to use in nucs. If you have plastic foundation you are better off just using each frame with cells as one cell. They are very hard to remove from plastic without damaging them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    killen,al
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    This is all good advice, and I want to thank everyone that have posted on this tread. I just lost a queen to a swarm. They swarmed before the queen cells hatched. That is the reason for my thoughts on adding a excluder. The queen that I want to propagate from couldn't leave but a virgin could get out if I missed a cell. I should be able to check the hive every four days. Can you tell if the cell is cap how old it is?

  11. #11
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    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    Oops, guess we miss that one. How big is this swarm, can you tell? And is it the old queen too that got away or the virgin one?
    The drones also cannot get out if there are some inside the hive. You can guess at the cap time with 6-8 days
    after the cell is made. The queen rearing calendar really help me here to gauge the time to remove the queen
    cell http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    That is the beauty of grafting. The good queen which you want to use as foundation stock remains in the main hive, nice and comfee at home. 1 day larva is grafted into queen cups. On a booming hive one could theoretically graft up to 2000 larva a day. In 5 days the queen cups will be capped in 6 more days you can install your mini queen cages. Two days later you have virgin queens in individual cages ready to be placed into breeding boxes. Your good lines have been expanded and you have not risked your good queen.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    10,024

    Default Re: propagating queens

    Quote Originally Posted by dphillipm View Post
    I just lost a queen to a swarm. They swarmed before the queen cells hatched. That is the reason for my thoughts on adding a excluder.
    How do you know one of the virgins won't take out your prized queen?

    On a small scale letting your prized queen have a full size hive and just taking her eggs to make new queens is the safest way to go.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    killen,al
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    Default Re: propagating queens

    Good morning, Ten I want to learn how to graft queens for the reason that you have pointed out. A concern that I have is over looking a queen cell, and a virgin killing my queen. I have been reading the Cloake board method of raising queens by confining your queen in a deep box under a cloake board. It seems that this would be the way I could go. That would meet my concerns about losing my queen, and leaving the other bees queen less, and having laying workers. Does anyone have any experence with this method?

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