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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Campbell, Wyoming USA
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    438

    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
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    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
    4,442

    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
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    2,657

    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
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    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,442

    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
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    46,316

    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
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    438

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    > 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.
    Hope it's not to much to ask but could you give me a step by step procedure that you would do to introduce a queen cell into a nuc?
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    I am still new so I will try to see if my procedure is much the same here.
    Right now I have 11th day qcells that are already capped. According to my queen
    rearing calendar they should be ready by the 18th. So I should transfer
    these cells into mating nucs I make on the 15th which is 3 days prior.
    From what I learn here:
    1. Create a nuc 3-4 days before so they have a chance to settle down. I usually make
    three frame nucs. Sometimes 2 frames if there are too many bees on these frames.
    2. The nuc should have at least 1 frame of capped broods, if possible.
    3. On 2-3 days before the qc hatch, take the cell out of the finisher hive and
    stick it next to the capped broods in the nuc hive. Make sure the hard plastic stay on
    so the qc will not fall off the combs.
    4. Wait for the qc to hatch and do her mating flight. This will take at least 2 weeks for this
    process to complete.

    If I have the time I will put these qcs into a plastic hair cage to hatch inside the finisher hive otherwise I will
    take the qc into the nuc hive. Since my nuc space is limited I want to give them the biggest
    virgin queen possible because I grafted too many of them this time. When a nuc hive been queen less for
    more than 2 weeks they are more willing to accept a direct release virgin queen rather than killing her. If there is a
    concern that they will kill your virgin queen then I will put her inside a mini plastic cage to see the level of acceptance
    of the virgin queen. If it is good then I will release her 3-4 hours later into the nuc hive. I have a good acceptance
    using a mini cage like you would introduce a regular mated queen into the hive. So far a direct release and a mini
    queen cage release have the same acceptance level on a 2 weeks queen less nuc. I am still testing and refining my
    method here. Maybe I can learn more from others when they share their cell introduction method.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    last year I made some nucs . I would just put 3 frames of all the necessary ingreadients in a nuc box. and shazam eventualy there was a queen. only once did it not work for me. I plan to do the same this year .
    thats the way i roll.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,316

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    Ideal:
    o Put a frame of brood and a frame of honey and shake in the bees from another frame of brood, in a two frame mating nuc and wait overnight.
    o Put the queen cell in and wait two weeks.
    o Look for eggs.

    What I actually do:
    o Put a frame of brood and a frame of honey and shake in the bees from another frame of brood and a queen cell, in a two frame mating nuc and wait two weeks.
    o Look for eggs.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
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    285

    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    o Put a frame of brood and a frame of honey and shake in the bees from another frame of brood and a queen cell, in a two frame mating nuc and wait two weeks.
    o Look for eggs.
    Are you making nucs with one frame of brood, or using these to raise queens?

    If making nucs, how long would it take this to ready for winter?

    Do you feed these?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Placing queen cells

    >Are you making nucs with one frame of brood, or using these to raise queens?

    No, I'm using them to MATE the queens. The cells are two days from emerging when I put them in the mating nucs.

    >If making nucs, how long would it take this to ready for winter?

    If I was making nucs for wintering, and I was hoping to get a two frame nuc to build up enough to winter, I could make them in June and combine the small ones. Otherwise, I could make five frame nucs in August and hope they build up enough to winter by the first hard freeze.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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