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  1. #1
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    Nov 2011
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    Default Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    Just want to here what others have to say. Wait let me stop there, others who have actually been rearing queens for a while. Not to be confused with newbies that have an opinion based on what they read. I want to I want to give it a whirl after this years shortage. I am trying to decide which equipment I want to buy.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    It's going to depend on what you want to do - raise a few queens for yourself, raise queens with few hives, raise a lot of queens at one time, get a lot of practice over a whole season without producing tons of queens...

    Assuming you are a beginner, and you need to do it a few times to figure it all out, and you don't have 40 hives to pull resources from You can produce a few good queens over and over using a queenless nuc.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    I know how to do it have done it with nucs and splits. I am talking about doing a lot at one time and selling them. I know JZBZ is very popular, I saw this graftless system at Mann Lake. I haven't heard of any one using it. Just wanted to see if there were some I did't know about. And see what is most popular and why.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    In the long run I find grafting to be convenient. I can go out tonight with no other times in the hive and graft some larvae. But it's nice to be able to separate the ability to graft (eyesight, timing, judgment and coordination) from other factors in queen rearing. To do graftless with little investment I would recommend the Hopkins method.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...#hopkinsmethod
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshopkinsmethod.htm

    The Jenter works just as well, but costs a lot more...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    Micheal Bush isn't Jenter a lot like The Mann Lake system? It looks expensive to use, I think I would enjoy the grafting also.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by beehonest View Post
    Micheal Bush isn't Jenter a lot like The Mann Lake system? It looks expensive to use, I think I would enjoy the grafting also.
    The Mann Lake system is the EZ Queen. It is expensive and cumbersome....unless you are going to do thousands of queens at a time with limited resources. This makes the most sense if one is producing royal jelly...if you start a thousand cells a day, you have to have something to do with a thousand virgin queens or cells a day.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  7. #7
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    Here is the overview of the method I use. I haven't added pictures yet, but you can find some more information on the Queens page: http://parkerfarms.biz/queenrearing.html

    In summary, I figure out what hive or hives I want to graft from, graft larvae into wax cell cups (working on making my own silicone cell cup mold, more news forthcoming), place those cups in a cell bar frame, place that cell bar frame between frames of brood and pollen between dummy frames, above a queen excluder directly above the broodnest, then use queen castles as mating nucs which can then be upgraded to 5-frame nucs and full sized hives.

    I only started grafting last year, but have been keeping bees for ten years. I was afraid of grafting to be completely forthcoming. Walkaway splits worked fine. However, I discovered this method with queenright cell building and figured out that this could be an excellent method to raise queens and nucs. And it is! It is the most efficient, least time consuming, least work method I have seen to raise queens. Are you going to pull 50 cells per hive every time, no. But I can get 17 per week from a good cell building hive with no manipulation other than bringing new frames of brood up from the brood nest while I'm in there putting in the cell bar frame. It requires no queenlessness and done right it produces no better or worse queen cells than I have seen with other methods. The mother hive can continue plugging along with little more impediment than a queen excluder.

    That's my method, I like it and it works extremely well for me. I believe it to be the best option for the backyard, hobbyist, and sideliner beekeepers.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    > isn't Jenter a lot like The Mann Lake system?

    Similar.

    > It looks expensive to use

    Yes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    Nov 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    That's all we've got? Anyone else? I'm trying to decide on this myself, so I'd like to get as much input as I can before I choose a direction.

    Adam

  10. #10
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    OK, this isn't exactly what the OP asked for because it isn't something that I have tried personally, because I don't need to raise large numbers at a time, but a friend of mine who does (large numbers being 50 or so) Does this:

    Starting with a very strong hive. Move pretty much all open brood above an excluder with 2 medium honey supers between the excluder and the brood - queen below the excluder of course. Do your grafts and put them between frames of larva. As soon as the cells are capped move them to an incubator (he uses a regular chick incubator with a sponge on it to make it humid). The incubator is optional, but it eliminates the possibility of almost finished cells being torn down or burr combed.

    You can continue to use the same queenright starter/finisher for a while by rotating open brood up. As long as you keep open grafts in it there is not a strong tendency to start wild cells.

    This method probably exploits both the supercedure and swarming impulses. I think Mike learned it at a conference presented by Larry Connors.

    3 advantages that I can see to this method for a sideliner - 1) It doesn't interrupt the honey production of a strong hive much. 2) It doesn't require finding a queen at all. 3) No special equipment is required - incubator is optional for any method.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 04-27-2013 at 12:34 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    929

    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    Sorry - not enough time to post the whole thing today. Will try again in a few days.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 04-29-2013 at 08:10 PM.

  12. #12
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    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    I like grafting personally. I used a starter/finisher hive, and move capped queen cells into my incubator. Last year i had lost too many cells to tear down and had a lot get burr combed, so I decided to impliment the incubator into my operation now. I use a combination of 4 frame deep nucs, 4 frame medium nucs, and 4 frame mini nucs for mating.
    I find grafting a lot more enjoyable and less intrusive than the Nicot system, or the others on the market like the nicot.
    Last edited by NY_BLUES; 04-30-2013 at 10:12 AM.
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

  13. #13
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    NY BLUES, could you describe your mini nucs? Size, type, brand etc.? Thanks.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #14
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    May 2009
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    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    My 4 frame mini nucs are homemade. They are deep size end bars, but the top bars are only 9.25 inches long. This gives me just under 2 deep frames worth of comb for the queen to lay in, once you add up all the comb surface area on the 4 frames.
    I get the mini frames drawn out in grower boxes above standard size colonies, and split them down for mating nucs. I am hoping to get about 100 of these going by the end of the queen rearing season, plus my deep and medium nucs.
    I should note that I bought a bunch of these short top bars frome Joe Latshaw earlier this year. I had just been cutting down standard top bars prior to me purchasing them, and they are high quality.
    Last edited by NY_BLUES; 04-30-2013 at 10:13 AM.
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Utah,Utah,USA
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    124

    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    I use the method David LeFerney posted. I have done several other methods and I find this very easy to use. I also do a few other things. I may have a few more hives than you do but I pick one of my hives to be my nursery stock. I pull out the frames and brood I need to make up my nuc. For a while I would just add new brood every other week but I have since change that. I graft and once my cells are capped they go into and incubator. I then replace those cells with new grafts. I can do this 3 times with good results. After the rounds of graft I make a new nuc out of the nursery hive and combine the older stock back to it. I make sure my nursery hives is a strong hive. Doing this they most likely won't produce honey but I keep them strong and always have good stock to make up my queen building nuc. Most of the time I can have two nucs going on alternate weeks from the same nursery hive. I graft 45 cells at a time and take out the weak ones once they are capped. So any small cells or under fed cells are removed before going to the incubator.

  16. #16
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    What are the correct conditions in an incubator? What is the temperature, humidity, etc.?

    I'm thinking it would be far more convenient to do that than having to go mess around in the hive on mating nuc day. I'm wondering if a chicken incubator could be adapted for the purpose.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Alabaster, Alabama, USA
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    208

    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    We've gotten 2 really nice batches of queen cells this year using the method Doolittle describes in his book Scientific Queen Rearing.

    1 batch I killed moving them to an incubator (that I'm guessing was a bit too warm - 95F).

    The other batch is going into splits & nucs today. It's a nice take of 24 out of 30 of the biggest cells I've ever grafted.

    The method involves using your strongest hive as a starter/finisher. I put the queen in the bottom deep, put a queen excluder on that, inserted the grafts into the second deep. 5 days later came back to check for and remove any queen cells in the supers above the excluder. (This particular hive is comprised of 2 deeps and 2 shallows)

    We will be adding 2 more bars of grafts (30 cells) to this hive when we remove the cells so that in 9-10 days we'll be ready to make more increases.
    Last edited by Greg Lowe; 05-01-2013 at 08:39 AM. Reason: Added info about the hive used.

  18. #18
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    May 2009
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    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    I like to keep my incubator between 89-91 degrees with between 35-50% humidity. The colder the incubator, the more delayed the hatch will be

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
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    678

    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    I use the Mann Lake/ NICOT system. It's $80...the cost of 4 queens if you purchase. I can make 88 at a time but usually keep it to 40-50 for spring nuc sales the 2 rounds of 30 for mis summer splits. For me, it's a no brainer system. No guess work on age of larvae. No risk of damage during transfer. I can take the NICOT frame out of mother hive, pull cups right there and place cell building frame immediately into cell building hive. The only negative I can speak of is the chance of queen damage. That won't happen if you're careful.

  20. #20
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Favorite queen rearing system and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    That's all we've got? Anyone else? I'm trying to decide on this myself, so I'd like to get as much input as I can before I choose a direction. Adam
    Have you read Brother Adam's cell building method? I use it with great success. Beautiful cells full of jelly on day 10. I've added my twist to make the process sustainable to me. I use brood harvested from overwintered nucleus colonies as the brood source for the cell builders.

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