Queen rearing in Observation Hive
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    Default Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    I must be missing something. Why do you have to have a different hive for cell building and cell finishing?

    What is wrong with this plan?

    I have 5 hives that I want to split. I plan on putting 5 frames into a 6 frame observation hive. These frames are to include one frame of older larva, with nurse bees, one frame of sealed brood, one mixed sealed and older larva, one of pollen and one of honey. I will leave these queen-less for 1 or 2 days, then add a grafting frame with 10 cells of grafted larva. Let the hive build the queen cells and finish them.

    Time frames as follows:

    Day 1 add bees (frames, etc) to Observation hive
    Day 3 Add grafted frame to observation hive (day old larva)
    Day 14 Split other 4 hives (assuming at least 5 good queen cells)
    Day 16 - Remove 4 qcells from OB Hive and place in queenless splits
    This leaves a good qcell in the ob hive
    Day 19 new queens emerge
    Day 20 through day 25 Queens mate
    Day 26 through day 30 - queens begin laying.

    With the exception of the ob hive, this should result in my splits to being without a laying queen for approx 15 days. At the end of that time, if any split ends up with a new queen that fails, it can be re-combined with another hive.

    It is my hope to be completed with this process by March 1st. (NW Florida)
    What am I missing?

    jeb

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    chilliwack, bc
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    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    I must be missing something. Why do you have to have a different hive for cell building and cell finishing?
    You don't, Just make a strong queenless single and and a frame with 2 rows of 10 grafted cells each. they'll start them and finish them for you. the use of cell starters and finishers are more for the commercial queen breeders that need to keep them in going for round after round of cells.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  4. #3
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    May 2005
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    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    I wouldn't use the OB hive, bad idea. You want strong well raised queens. Those will come a cells reared in a strong single with lots of pollen and honey and a boot load of bees. trust me, you don't want to mess with the quality of queens.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  5. #4
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    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    Okay, Thanks. I'll take that under consideration. I just like the idea of the OB Hive. It successfully raised a very high quality queen last year. My OB hive is configured to be set up either to use 6 medium frames, 2 wide by 3 deep or 4 deep frames, 2 wide by 2 deep.

    Thanks,

    jeb

  6. #5
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    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    It made a good queen last year through a swarm? Or you put a grafted cell into it?

  7. #6
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    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    I loaded 4 deep frames of bees into it, One frame with less than 3 day old larva, and no queen. I wanted to watch the queen rearing process. They built 5 cells, the first emergent queen ate out three of the remaining 4. the last queen emerged. I found her dead (lost the battle with the first) then next morning. How do I know which one won? The winner was a Carni and the loser an Italian, at least judging by the color. Winner was black, loser gold.

    I should say at least 5 cells as with the 2 wide configuration you can only see half of each frame.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    858

    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    An additional thought for you. . . You may want to raise more queens than what you want to end up with. Start them all out in nucs (take perhaps your weakest hive currently and split it all up) and see which ones build the strongest / fastest / best brood pattern etc. Use the strongest / best queens for your "new hives". You also may find out that some of the queens either don't mate properly, die somewhere on their mating flights, or have some other "issue".

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,601

    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    The quality of queens (and the number of cells they will raise) is directly proportional to how crowded the bees are and how much resources they have. A typical observation hive is lacking in both these categories unless you catch it at the peak just before they have decided to swarm. Queen rearing requires several interventions and each of these will require hauling the observation hive outside to do them. One of the toughest things about working an observation hive is getting the door shut without bees getting squished. An overcrowded observation hive will be even harder to close up without bees spilling out. But if they aren't crowed enough that bees are spilling out when you open it, there aren't a high enough density of bees to get good queens...

    You can rear queens in as small as a two frame nuc, but that two frame nuc will need to be overflowing with bees, have plenty of resources and they will only raise four cells or so.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    When working my OB hive if it's crowded I locate the frame with the marked queen and put it back in the hive. I then shake off many of the bees that are on the other frames about 10 yards away from where I'm working. They go back to the original entrance instead of hanging around where I'm trying to work them. This helps me reduce the population so I can close the door with killing a whole bunch. Be sure to cork the original entrance otherwise they'll plug it up and you could have a bunch die and really cork it deep in teh tube if it's hot out. From my experiences I would avoid rearing queens in an OB hive.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Dorset, Vermont
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    127

    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    One way to observe what's happening in the hive might be to make a plexiglas insert in an inner cover. I use a nuc-sized (5 frame width) plexi inner cover sometimes. Enables you to get a sense of what's going on without completely opening up and disturbing the bees.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: Queen rearing in Observation Hive

    Jeb - my method may be different than others. The cell starters are strong, crowded, queenright colonies into which I put one frame with the cups of grafted larvae. On day 12 or 13, before the first one emerges, the cells go into SEPARATE BOXES for finishing SO THEY DON'T KILL EACH OTHER. Multiple queen cells in the starters are why they are separate from finishers. If I left all 48 queen cells in the same box for finishing, I would end up with only ONE queen.

    My deeps can be configured into double 5-frame nucs OR into triple 3-frame nucs. The 1/4" plywood separator walls must go all the way from the floor to the ceiling and all the way from short end to short end. The ceiling is a flap of burlap under a 2-section / 3-section hive top feeder.

    Cell finishing, emerging, maturing, mating, and first laying of eggs are done in the 3x3 configuration. Upon mating, I consider them summer increase colonies and move them into the 2x5 configuration until they have 3 1/2 to 4 frames of brood. Then they go into the full 10-frame deeps. This effectively completes a 3-way split. I balance them later, feed them patties and syrup all fall, winter, and in the spring until they reject the feeder syrup (patties are full-time).

    Some colonies made it through in 2x5-frame double nucs, most in single 10-frame boxes. All have overwintered queens and a medium of honey all to themselves. Some of my bees now have 11 frames of bees, as February has been somewhat warm in Southern California. I suspect that I'd have more if I'd finished more of those feeders earlier in the season last year, spiked the syrup with more honey, and added Brewer's yeast to the patties.

    Oldtimer, Russell, Palmer, Bush and others may have lots of wonderful additions, corrections, Thatain'thowwedoits, etc. and I welcome them enthusiastically! The bees gave me a c minus last year. Good luck!

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