Rearing queens for a small operation - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Specialkayme, my experience has been that the bees will pick some of the OTS induced larva and ignore some of the others. If I find that the queen cells look small I scratch them and use bigger ones. Despite what the texts say about emergency queens I find that the OTS method produces healthy active queens that overwinter well and produce a crop of honey. As you point out conditions are different down there in North Carolina, but up here in early June a strong double deep hive does a nice job with those E cells. I believe the key is to perform the intervention just before natural swarming is about to occur.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    I would suggest cutting the comb that had already been laid into....the directions (as posted above in the 'dummies' link) require the bees to do a bunch of things on your schedule....which will work fine under ideal conditions much of the time.

    You can accomplish the same thing in one visit if you start with laid up comb rather than foundation.
    Sometimes the lights all shining on me
    Other times I can barely see. -The Grateful Dead

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Randy Oliver's- Scientific Beekeeping website has some good articles on small scale queen rearing. Some good winter reading material.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Grozzie...you give me hope that is possible. As for you last year making a working cell starter/builder is intimidating. Will I be ruining potentially good production hives in a vain attempt
    When do you feel your swarmy season is?
    Will you split all hives prior to that and if so will you simply separate the two over wintered deeps and pull a cell in the one that seems be queenless ...if not what system are you considering?
    Thanks
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    I haven't been posting on bee-l, but a couple of years ago we had a discussion on tips and tricks for queen rearing. The two that I remember as being most helpful were:

    From randy oliver: put the frame you are going to graft from in the starter for a few hours...they will get nicely fed and be wet and easy to graft from.

    From me: when I teach grafting, I have students first graft onto a glass microscope slide. It eliminates working inside the plastic cell, they can see and understand what they are doing better, and you can put it under a microscope and see it eating. This gives some practice and confidence. If I don't have a glass slide, a plate or plastic lid will do.

    Everyone...if you d9nt have a grafting tool...order one and some cell cups next time you place an order with your supplier.
    Sometimes the lights all shining on me
    Other times I can barely see. -The Grateful Dead

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Despite what the texts say about emergency queens I find that the OTS method produces healthy active queens that overwinter well and produce a crop of honey.
    I just don't see how it's easier or more advantageous than grafting.

    The biggest issue people have with grafting isn't moving the larvae, it's knowing the right age larvae to graft. You have to do that with OTS anyway. So if you can identify the right larvae, why not just graft them? That way you save the rest of the frame of brood, rather than put powdered sugar in the cells to kill the rest.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Specialkayme, with respect. I believe that you are mistaken in your thinking that you have to kill the rest of the larva with flour. That is not done. The bees finish the cells they want as workers, or as queens.
    Take a scan down this pdf to photos 5 and 6 you see the initiated queen cells together with their sealed woker sisters, no mention of flour. You want the rest of the frame of larva to survive to be the workers to support the new unit.
    http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/IBA%...20part%203.pdf

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    I use plastic foundation. How feasible is to remove a Queen cell from that?
    Is it death to the new queen if there is a small hole in the back of the removed cell?
    Do most people doing ots type queen rearing use unwired wax foundation?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    I've removed queen cells off of plastic foundation several times and each time was a great success. I carefully scraped them off with a hive too.. The small hole in the back I gently pinched closed, but the cells were within a day of emerging so I'm not so sure it would have mattered to pinch it closed or not. I've done it with freshly drawn never used for brood before, except this first time, and I've also done it on comb that had been used for brood a couple to three times previously. I found that the little bit more used comb was easier to cut the cell off of. I suspect that with comb that had been used for years may be harder to cut them off of, but I can't say from personal experience on that.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
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  11. #30

    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    I recommend to beginners the MDA splitter method with great results. Can't be easier with results that are repeatable and produces good queens.

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Specialkayme, with respect. I believe that you are mistaken in your thinking that you have to kill the rest of the larva with flour. That is not done.
    I really don't think I am mistaken. Unless he evolved the OTS method further from 4 years ago. Which is possible.

    Here are a few references to where I got my information and understanding from. Please feel free to let me know where I went wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The bullet thing was .25 cal and you put them in ever other row and then every other cell and kill the larvae with flour.
    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    Short answer: Read the MDA Splitter. It explains it.

    Long answer: you put a .25 cal bullet in some cells of the proper age, shake flour in all the other cells (the one with the bullets in them don't get destroyed by flour), break the cell wall for the ones with the bullet in them, put them in a cell builder hive (or queenless hive) and you get queen cells.
    You actually responded after that post, but didn't correct me.

    Or you could read earlier versions of his book: http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/IMN%20BOOKLET.pdf

    Mel explains here http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/OTS.pdf that the OTS method involves using the "TECHNIQUES AS OUTLINED IN THE I.M.N. SYSTEM OF QUEEN REARING (link above) TO DIRECT YOUR COLONIES TO REAR THEIR OWN, QUALITY QUEENS WITHOUT GRAFTING"

    Within the I.M.N system, it says:

    After several experiments, I discovered that common
    wheat flour (the kind you use to bake or make a pollen supplement) will gum up the larvae making it
    impossible for the nurse bees to care for them. By covering every third cell with something to protect
    the larvae, such as bullets or cotton swabs, I could prepare a comb with larvae spaced just right. I can
    put 100 bullets on a comb in three minutes and then the shaking of the flour takes only 15 seconds.
    From Chapter 3

    I use .257 cal. bullets placed in the cell to protect the larvae when flour is shaken over the comb to gum
    up and kill the other larvae (See Fig. 5).
    From Chapter 5

    Now take the frame of larvae from the support colony and brush off the bees. Place the .257 cal. Bullets
    in every 3rd cell containing a larvae always leaving 2 cells between larvae including between the rows on
    the horizontal split frame insert. Flour is then shaken over the frame to gum up and kill the exposed
    larvae.
    Also from chapter 5.

    Where was I mistaken?

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    >Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't get what the advantage of the OTS method is.

    Yes you are missing something.

    >It basically involves forcing e-cells, which are generally the lowest quality of queens available.

    I totally disagree. I get good quality emergency queens all the time.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesafewgoo....htm#emergency

    The concept of OTS queen rearing comes down to this theory:
    "The inferior queens caused by using the emergency method is because the bees cannot tear down the tough cells in the old combs lined with cocoons. The result is that the bees fill the worker cells with bee milk floating the larvae out the opening of the cells, then they build a little queen cell pointing downward. The larvae cannot eat the bee milk back in the bottom of the cells with the result that they are not well fed. However, if the colony is strong in bees, are well fed and have new combs, they can rear the best of queens. And please note-- they will never make such a blunder as choosing larvae too old."--Jay Smith, Better Queens

    Moses Quinby agreed with that concept:
    "I want new comb for brood, as cells can be worked over out of that, better than from old and tough. New comb must be carefully handled. If none but old comb is to be had, cut the cells down to one fourth inch in depth. The knife must be sharp to leave it smooth and not tear it."--Moses Quinby, Mysteries of Beekeeping Explained

    You can raise poor queens by any method including emergency queens. You can raise good quality queens by any method including emergency queens.

    Mel is trying to assure two things: One is that they can tear down the wall (which you did for them) and the second is that it is the correct age larvae (because you chose it) while not requiring the skill of grafting.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    I believe too that Mel suggest newer fresher comb for it to increase the success.
    Last edited by yem; 01-21-2015 at 06:06 AM. Reason: spelling

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    SpecialKayme, I appreciate the discourse. I believe that it has been a progression. The earlier IMN method was a version of the "Case-Hopkins" method.
    As I understand the progression: He had the idea that instead of "flouring" the frame, and then turning the frame 90 degrees if he notched the bottom of the cell he might not have to turn it 90 degrees. I think the confusion may occur that when he said,
    "TECHNIQUES AS OUTLINED IN THE I.M.N. SYSTEM OF QUEEN REARING (link above) TO DIRECT YOUR COLONIES TO REAR THEIR OWN, QUALITY QUEENS WITHOUT GRAFTING" I believe that he meant the technique of cutting the bottom of the cell wall, but did not mean the "flouring".
    From the current printed book "OTS Queen Rearing" he says, on page 28
    "Let's go back to the original hive on May 1st from which I removed the queen with two brood frames which leaves me six brood frames to notch. One week later, when the queen cells on those six brood frames are sealed, I assemble three, two-brood-frame starts and leave them in the same yard. I wait for one week so that the strong colony is the colony that does all the hard work raising the queen cells and sealing the brood".
    The third sentence shows that the brood is not killed with flour after he notched the brood on May 1st it is left in the same hive. So from May 1 to May 8 the full energy of the hive is directed at finishing the queen cell and sealing the brood.
    I think the current book lays out the method more clearly than the collections of pdf's did. What I like about the system is that each discrete two deep (20 frame) colony is used for increase at the time the bees in our region want to swarm. It is not entirely predictable, sometimes a colony will only put the swarm cells on fewer frames than what I wanted them to, and if that is the only colony you have in the system it can lead to an overy strong unit. However, I have worked around this, as I have expanded by doing several colonies at a time and balancing out as need be.
    I hope this is helpful, I am passionate about this method, because starting bees with this method and then growing them on in Nucs with the online mentoring Michael Palmer has provided has turned me from a bee buyer to a bee seller.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    WBVC, I use Mann Lake PFs and don't try to cut off the cells any more, as I haven't had any success doing so.

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >It basically involves forcing e-cells, which are generally the lowest quality of queens available.

    I totally disagree. I get good quality emergency queens all the time.
    The question isn't whether you can get laying queens from the emergency methods, or if they will head a colony. The question is whether they are better quality queens than supersedure or swarm prep queens. The evidence indicates that they are not.

    "After removal of the mother queens, the majority of cell
    construction was initiated within 24 h in all eight colonies.
    Additional queen cells were constructed for up to two days
    after dequeening, but no further queen cells were started on
    or after the third day"
    Tarpy, Fletcher, Worker regulation of emergency queen rearing in honey bee colonies and the resultant variation in queen quality. Insectes soc. 46 (1999) 372-377, 373.

    So bees will rear emergency queens from varied ages of larvae. They don't do it all at one time.

    "The rearing process in the second experiment illustrates
    that workers did not preferentially raise queens from
    brood sources that yielded higher-quality queens, suggesting
    that future queen quality may not be an important
    factor during this stage of queen replacement."
    Tarpy, Hatch & Fletcher, The influence of queen age and quality during queen replacement in honeybee colonies. Animal Benaviour, 2000, 59, 97-101, 100.

    A study that shows that the bees often don't choose the highest quality queen from the youngest larvae, and instead choose for a quick requeening in an emergency situation. The theory being they are foregoing quality for speed, in the event there is an issue in raising the queen that would leave them queenless. The result of which produces lower quality queens. Which isn't an issue in the emergency scenario, because as long as they get a laying queen in place, they can always replace with supersedure to get a higher quality queen later.

    " with queens raised from young worker larvae exhibiting
    high reproductive potential and queens raised from
    older worker larvae exhibiting lower reproductive potential.
    We verify that low-quality queens are indeed produced from
    older worker larvae, as measured morphometrically (e.g.,
    body size) and by stored sperm counts. We also show, for the
    first time, that low-quality queens mate with significantly
    fewer males, which significantly influences the resultant
    intracolony genetic diversity of the worker force of their
    future colonies."
    Tarpy, Keller, Caren & Delaney, Experimentally induced variation in the physical reproductive potential and mating sucess in honey bee queens, Insect. Soc., 2011 (having a hard time finding the right volume and page numbers, so instead here's the actual article: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/...t.al.2011b.pdf).

    Again, showing that queens reared from older larvae produce lower quality queens.

    There is another article (that I can't put my hands on right now) that studied queen fighting between sister queens, and who ended up winning. Statistically speaking, when two queens were released and later fought to the death, the older larvae reared queen typically won, as it's venom sac was more developed (as is typical in workers, more so than queens). The older larvae reared queens had a lower quality and reproductive potential, yet was the queen that survived more often than not.

    So the evidence appears to contradict your anicdotal opinion that emergency queens are "good." Sure they can head a colony. But bees don't select 24h larvae only when induced under the emergency scenarios. They induce 24-72h larvae. The 72h larvae will emerge first, usually win in queen fights, and is of lower quality than the 24h larvae. Ergo, emergency queens are of lower quality than grafted queens that are from 24h larvae, all other factors considered equal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The concept of OTS queen rearing comes down to this theory:
    "The inferior queens caused by using the emergency method is because the bees cannot tear down the tough cells in the old combs lined with cocoons."
    I disagree with the theory, as it is not based on any form of evidence or reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    -- they will never make such a blunder as choosing larvae too old."--Jay Smith, Better Queens
    But what is "too old"? Is 72h "too old"? Because bees in studies will choose larvae that is 72h old to make queens out of. And 72h larvae produces inferior queens when compared to 24h larvae.

    Yes, the bees will not select a larvae that is too old to be turned into a functional queen. But they often don't choose the best larvae to become the best queen. Instead, under the emergency situations, they choose older larvae to get queens faster, knowing they can be replaced with higher quality supersedure queens later on.
    Last edited by Specialkayme; 01-21-2015 at 07:28 AM.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    "Let's go back to the original hive on May 1st from which I removed the queen with two brood frames which leaves me six brood frames to notch. One week later, when the queen cells on those six brood frames are sealed, I assemble three, two-brood-frame starts and leave them in the same yard. I wait for one week so that the strong colony is the colony that does all the hard work raising the queen cells and sealing the brood".
    The third sentence shows that the brood is not killed with flour after he notched the brood on May 1st it is left in the same hive.
    I don't follow you there. That quote doesn't appear to indicate that he does, or does not, kill any larvae.

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    I think the confusion may occur that when he said,
    "TECHNIQUES AS OUTLINED IN THE I.M.N. SYSTEM OF QUEEN REARING (link above) TO DIRECT YOUR COLONIES TO REAR THEIR OWN, QUALITY QUEENS WITHOUT GRAFTING"
    Here's my confusion. It may be in terminology, it may be in the evolution of the system, I don't know:
    1. Mel produces a "book" entitled "The I.M.N. System of Queen Rearing." The book describes the use of a bullet and flour to kill larvae. http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/IMN%20BOOKLET.pdf Done in October, 2008
    2. Mel produces a one sheet explanation of the "OTS System" where he explains it is done using the techniques in the I.M.N. System: http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/OTS.pdf this was done some time in 2008. In which, he explains breaking the mid rib of the cells of young larvae, while also referring to the I.M.N. system.
    3. Mel later produces a book where he expands on the OTS System (I don't know what time, I didn't read the book). Looking at what he produced previously, I don't understand why the OTS book would differ from #2 above, which would incorporate #1 above as well.

    Granted, I didn't read #3.

    So if Mel's methods evolved in #3 such that he is not using the techniques in #1, then #2 is wrong. Or, he evolved his system of OTS in #3 beyond what was explained in #2, but he chose to use the same terminology in #3 as he did in #2, incorporating the methods in #1.

    Maybe he did this, I don't know. But I don't understand how you can say OTS = #2, then later change what you mean OTS to be, and say OTS = #3, but still hold out that OTS = #2. Clear as mud, right?

    But hey, I can only work with the information in front of me.

    Maybe OTS is kinda like the understanding of a higher power. Everyone can interpret it to mean what they want

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    It's easy to just try the procedure both ways and see what works best.
    I don't eliminate any larvae and get good healthy queens.
    Lots of beekeeping is hands on experience.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Rearing queens for a small operation

    Specialkayme; I have been thinking about the age of larvae selected too. I used the Snelgrove board to induce bees to start queen cells and the author recommends pinching any cells that are capped by day 5 after setting them up. That would remove the possibility of having a caste queen. That move could be used with any queen rearing process I think.

    The fact that cells are started up to 3 days after removing the queens presence would not have to mean they selected 3 day old larvae. If the eggs were laid shortly before queen removal it would take roughly 3 days 6 hours for them to hatch, would it not. The first ones bees started cells on could be just hatched too and the time spread observed from first to last would be theoretically 3 days 6 hours with both extremes having been started on first day larvae.

    Anyone feel free to correct me if I am wrong in my thinking as I do admit that aspect can be puzzling.
    Frank

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