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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    436

    Default Placing queen cells

    Anyone have a preferred method of placing queen cells or making up nucs? I'm going to start grafting in ~ 10 days and last year I had phenomenal success grafting and horrible success getting the queens to emerge and be accepted without the nucleus colonies I made up superceding her. As a mark against me I was extremely rough handling the queen cells and didn't realize this until season close but is it best to put the queen cells in a nucleus that has no open brood? I typically made up my nucleus's with 1-2 frames of brood, 1 frame of honey, 1 empty drawn out frame and one empty frame that needed drawn.
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,731

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    I make up my 3 frames nuc ahead of time before the qcs are ready. This way they are desperate
    in need of a new queen. Once these nucs are established, I put a virgin queen inside. And feed
    them even when there is a flow on. Somehow feeding my bees will make them more likely to accept
    the new queen. Two weeks later I do a hive check for any sign of new eggs. By then there should be
    plenty of cell space for the new queen to lay in. The young bees and foragers are not that strong
    yet to back fill these cells. So no need to put in the extra frame of empty drawn out frame.
    My next variation is to cut out these qcs to put them inside a mini queen holding cage. Each cage
    has a cell that will hatch out a new queen. Then I will select the biggest queen to put inside an
    established nuc. This way I can select the best queens to head my hives. Timing is everything here.
    How do you handle your queen cells to make them extremely rough? Did you shook them on their
    most sensitive development phases?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,376

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    Moon: sounds like you have most of the basics right. I like to try to get a balance of sealed and open brood in each nuc and allow them to sit queenless for 1 to 2 days before installing your cell. I don't use cell protectors but they are cheap and may prevent an occassional problem and are probably a good precaution. If installing a 10 day cells put them on the side of a frame of brood being careful not to "roll" it as you slide the frame back, don't fall prey to the temptation to hang them between 2 top bars especially if nightime temps are expected to be low, they can easily get chilled, we only do that if the cells are a "hot" 11 day cell and temps are mild. I only like to use cells that are 10 or 11 days old. They can take a little rough handling and aren't nearly as likely to get destroyed by the hive. I recently used some 7 day old cells out of necessity and later found on checkbacks that around half of them were in the process of raising a new virgin. In this case I am confident that handling wasn't the problem as they were taken directly from the builder to the nuc on a warm afternoon and handled as delicately as I could.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,577

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I only like to use cells that are 10 or 11 days old.
    Jim,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Just so that everyone is clear, your 10 or 11 days old is counting from the time the egg is laid? If so, emergence would be in 6 or 5 days respectively. I generally use day 14 as the introduction day, so emergence would be two days later. Also, most references say that day 10 and 11 the cells are particularly sensitive and need to be handled with great care. Have you found that not to be the case (other than the temperature that you referenced above)?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,376

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    Sorry I should have been more clear. I begin my count on graft day. In my "lingo" a 2 day cell would be between 48 and 72 hours old. Most cells hatch between day 11 and day 12. From a handling perspective to me they are considered hot at about 10 and a half days after grafting which is a little early but gives you about a 12 hour safety margin. Almost all will emerge within the next 36 hours thereafter.
    Last edited by jim lyon; 05-10-2013 at 08:40 AM. Reason: Clarity
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    > As a mark against me I was extremely rough handling the queen cells and didn't realize this until season close but is it best to put the queen cells in a nucleus that has no open brood?

    Only if you are setting up a swarm box. Otherwise I put them NEXT to open brood to draw the nurse bees to the queen cells.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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