Do these queen cells look viable?
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  1. #1
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    Default Do these queen cells look viable?

    10 days (14 days from egg laying) ago I grafted 21 larvae using the ben harding method (queenright cell building). 13 cells were built out and capped which I checked 3 days ago, which I was very happy with. Late yesterday afternoon (9 days after graft) I made 2-frame mating nucs to accept the QCs. This morning, though, I went to transfer the QCs to the nucs, and only 6 were there. It didn't really look like any had emerged but it seems like a few were chewed out, or at least chewed down. The ones I did transfer seemed stubby (which I think is more typical with queenright cell building), and very light. I held them up to the light and didn't see anything....

    So I put them into the 4 of the mating nucs I had already made (some of the nucs I put 2 cells), and redistributed the rest of the unused nucs back to the full hives. I looked around the cell builder for a virgin, but didn't see anything

    I'm concerned that maybe I grafted a larvae over 24hrs old (though they were all very small) and the warm weather here made her emerge early. When a virgin kills the other cells, is it always evident? side chewed out, etc...

    Also, I used some frames from the cell builder to make the mating nucs. Could this have stressed it out enough that in the 12 hr period, they tore down queen cells? I should have checked the QCs yesterday, but didn't want to bother them.

    Can you usually see queens inside the cell when you hold it to the light? I imagine they're just about to hatch if they're viable. I plan on checking the cells in the mating nucs in about 5 days to see if she emerged. If not, I guess I'll assume it was a dud.

    Here are some photos, please share your thoughts. Thanks for the help

    IMG_8940.jpg

    IMG_8939.jpg

    IMG_8941.jpg

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kygreer View Post
    The ones I did transfer seemed stubby (which I think is more typical with queenright cell building), and very light.

    Queenright cell builder makes equally qood queens. It is more up to the conditions. How strong was your cell builder colony? Did they have enough pollen and nurse bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by kygreer View Post
    I'm concerned that maybe I grafted a larvae over 24hrs old (though they were all very small) and the warm weather here made her emerge early. When a virgin kills the other cells, is it always evident? side chewed out, etc...]
    Virgin queen stings through the cell wall, which is not visible, but bees take out the dead stinged queen by opening the QC from the side. That is evident.

    Quote Originally Posted by kygreer View Post

    Also, I used some frames from the cell builder to make the mating nucs. Could this have stressed it out enough that in the 12 hr period, they tore down queen cells? I should have checked the QCs yesterday, but didn't want to bother them.]
    Usually bees donīt tore down capped queen cells very lightly.
    In your CB there seems to have been at least older bees which made huge amout of burr comb, but the fact that the amout of cells went down from 13 to 6 makes me wonder if the cellbuilder was too weak.


    Quote Originally Posted by kygreer View Post
    Can you usually see queens inside the cell when you hold it to the light? I imagine they're just about to hatch if they're viable. I plan on checking the cells in the mating nucs in about 5 days to see if she emerged. If not, I guess I'll assume it was a dud.
    Yes, but in day 10 they are totally white and almost transparent. Also the cocoon makes (and in your case burr comb) makes them hard to see. It is just in the last 24 hours they get more clearly dark colour.

    Quote Originally Posted by kygreer View Post
    Here are some photos, please share your thoughts.
    I would say there is a good change that you get perfectly good queens. They might be a bit smaller, but size is also depending on the genes. Some strains of bees just make larger cells, some make them smaller, in the same conditions. Cell size is not always proportional to queen size.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    my second grafting effort led to cells not much bigger than these and i had all but 2 hatch. All the hatched queens ( 14) are normal size looking to me.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    One of the tricks you pick up if you read a lot is that you can take a sharp knife and roll a 10 day old queen cell across the blade so that the tip of the queen cell can be pulled off. Carefully drop the queen out onto your fingers and you should see her eyes dark and her body starting to harden and turn yellow/brown. Carefully put her back in the cell and press the tip back down. If you are careful, she will be unharmed. The best place to cut is about 1/2 inch from the end of the cell.

    Queen cells should be sealed on the 7th day. I make a point to check the cell builder for any stray queen cells on the 7th or 8th day. This has saved quite a few rounds of queens over the years. My last round of queens had a stray cell on a brood comb. I squashed it to prevent it from hatching early and destroying the cells with larvae from my breeder queen.

    Those cells are not necessarily bad, but I target larger and longer cells. How many bees are in the cell builder? The rule of thumb I use is that 20 frames of bees can care for a maximum of 16 cells. Most of the time, they will only mature 8 or 10. Commercial breeders use a lot more cells, but I am after the best quality queens which an overstocked cell builder usually does not produce.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    No.
    And as to ..
    "my second grafting effort led to cells not much bigger than these and i had all but 2 hatch. All the hatched queens ( 14) are normal size looking to me".
    You own the experience, to know?
    In encouragement of your endeavours I would suggest you spend some time Iin the field with a breeder. That and look through threads on BS and other sites to find examples of best chance developed queen cells.

    Cheers..

    Bill

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Thanks for all the replies. I pulled the queen cells yesterday and all of them emerged! 6/6
    Considering a few days before transferring I had 13, maybe I should have replaced the neighboring brood frame with open brood to keep nurse bees nearby.
    I wasn't looking for the virgin/recently mated queens, but caught one and she looks like a fine size.
    I guess I'll stick with this queen rearing method for next time. It was pretty easy to set up and didn't take any colonies out of production
    IMG_8964.jpg
    IMG_8965.jpg

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    bill... do "i own the experience to know"... what queens look like? Im not hugely experienced obviously since I stated this was my 2nd attempt at grafting. Am a 3rd year beekeeper. But yes i have 29 hives and have some idea as what a normal SIZE queen is. Will they be great quality queens? perhaps not... no idea we will see i guess. Like the OP i had hoped for larger cells and yes with different techniques with preparing the cell builder hopefully graft attempt number 3 will produce larger cells.
    But...the OP asked were the cells viable and in answer to your question yes i "own the experience" to answer that since i had 14 of 16 cells that looked like these hatch.

    Im sure you are more experienced than me judging by the passive aggressive tone of your post. In this particular case though your question ( with the sarcasm evident) is moot since yes i own the experience i have seen the cells hatch.
    I like other "noobs" are here to learn not be put down as im sure is the case with the OP.
    JM 2c worth

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    @aran.
    It is not good - for you - to take my comments as pA.
    Succinct and Candid is acceptqble critique, and if in error I would stand correction...
    In respect of the OP's question you do not correct my comment, merely launch into a "na nah na nah na....nunya" attack stemming from what reads as a dented ego. No harm intended my reference is sound advice.

    As most humans in coitus BKs in queen rearing can mostly always produce something, "viable" does not solely mean "alive and kicking".
    I stand by my input to the question.
    Just so we are clear, whilst I have bred line animals of other species as
    pure examples of type I have never taken up queen rearing. Locally there exist a few producers of excellent reputation whose output can be trusted.
    Why try and reinvent that wheel in risking screwing over vibrant colonies from newbie BK base lines.



    Regards.

    Bill

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    No need for back and forths here. I was looking for advice from people with experience raising queens. It's clear that there are many ways to do it, and commercial queen rearers will do things differently than myself due to their economics of scale. I have interest in commercial techniques, but alternative methods can be just as viable, as I continually observe.
    By viable I mean alive and kicking.
    I was initially concerned that my cells were too small and would not hatch, but it seems that was not the case. Learning different methods of beekeeping (ie grafting) is by no means reinventing the wheel, it's just an opportunity to become more self-sufficient and enjoy new facets of the process. To each their own.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kygreer View Post
    (edit)
    To each their own.
    Indeed, and so shall it bee as "reap what ye sow" ;-)

    Cheers.


    Bill

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Most important is the amount of royal jelly in the cells, not size. Size is nice, but the length and width of the wax cell does not determine the future queen's performance. Nutrition does.
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaW View Post
    Most important is the amount of royal jelly in the cells, not size.
    G'day.
    At which stage, inception or larval?
    QCups do not vary significantly in size, QCells do. Capped QCells even more .
    Size is nice, but the length and width of the wax cell does not determine the future queen's performance. Nutrition does.
    I'll leave contradiction of my comment to a recognised QBreeder, being there is many a study read that expressly states nutrition is directly relative to a successfully mated queens performance. Adequate nutrition has to contribute to any animals growth in reaching normal size.
    For QCells capped this should be reflected in length and girth of the build.

    Now, choosing which cell to keep and which to give the flick is an observation exercise, and one that requires quite some experience - and past moments of grief - to get it even half right.
    For most instances of emergency requeens (in my experience) I have always followed up with an introduction of a known stud queen sourced by mail order.
    That as a safe bet.

    Cheers.


    Bill

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kygreer View Post
    No need for back and forths here. I was looking for advice from people with experience raising queens. It's clear that there are many ways to do it, and commercial queen rearers will do things differently than myself due to their economics of scale. I have interest in commercial techniques, but alternative methods can be just as viable, as I continually observe.
    By viable I mean alive and kicking.
    I was initially concerned that my cells were too small and would not hatch, but it seems that was not the case. Learning different methods of beekeeping (ie grafting) is by no means reinventing the wheel, it's just an opportunity to become more self-sufficient and enjoy new facets of the process. To each their own.

    Im with you mate. I am having fun trying to get a handle on queen rearing as just a part of the hobby. I am trying to emulate what i learn from Michael Palmer's techniques. He seems pretty successful ( albeit on a commercial level im not looking to copy) and so i want to use his knowledge and advice and apply it to my hobby.
    Its bloody exhilarating to see capped queen cells and even better to see that they hatched ! Congratulations mate we both managed to get some queens to hatch!!!...now we will see if these queens are any good or not. I rewatched the video on youtube by MP on preparing the cellbuilder and I will try again next weekend ( working this coming weekend unfortunately) and see if i cant get bigger queen cells with a larger more populous cell builder.

    Still its super fun to see that the larvae i grafted actually worked in some capacity.

    Well done mate make sure to post some pics when they start to lay!

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    It might be worth mentioning that the major contributor to this thread BUYS HIS QUEENS from a breeder. so I would take his banter with a grain of salt!!

    I utilize queenless cell builders with lots of bees and several frames of capped ready to emerge brood. the sheer number of young nurse bees seem to promote good cell building. However, with that said I have had very nice, productive, long lived queens come from cells were they in a split I would have culled.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Quote Originally Posted by eltalia View Post
    @aran. Edited
    Just so we are clear, whilst I have bred line animals of other species as
    pure examples of type I have never taken up queen rearing.



    Regards.

    Bill
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...77-Chalk-brood Post #19 It's OK for you, but not others.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    @aran. Edited
    "As most humans in coitus BKs in queen rearing can mostly always produce something, "viable" does not solely mean "alive and kicking".
    I stand by my input to the question.
    Just so we are clear, whilst I have bred line animals of other species as
    pure examples of type I have never taken up queen rearing. Locally there exist a few producers of excellent reputation whose output can be trusted.

    Regards.

    Bill"

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...77-Chalk-brood Post #19 It's OK for you, but not others.

    Alex
    errrrrm.... fixed that artwork of your crafting, Alex. Why you chose to dabble so I leave to the reader to unravel.

    To (dot point) clear the smoke for you.

    The OP put his/her perspective quite clearly;
    "By viable I mean alive and kicking".
    You put yours with;
    "my second grafting effort led to cells not much bigger than these and i had all but 2 hatch. All the hatched queens ( 14) are normal size looking to me."

    By no stretch of willpower (wishing) do the OP's pix show 'normal' QC development.
    As both the OP and yourself (at least) claim "viable" denotes a successful emergence, the outcomes of future efforts can only illustrate proliferation of what we "Down Under" know as mongrel bred queens. I am very sure QB outfits in your part of the world would concur likewise.

    Often in BK - as with many other facets of Life - the astute defer to those whose specialist approach is developed to supply a niche.service.
    Fine as it is that some choose to play with backyard breeding, it is folly to
    tout what is produced as "viable" simply because the product breathes.
    Time will bring that message home, and so "reap what ye sow" applies.

    I stand by my input to the question.


    Compliments.

    Bill

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Here's the deal, Bill:
    Your assessment of my queen cells are from your experience buying queens from a commercial queen breeder. I have not used commercial queen breeding methods to make these cells and expected them to look smaller. I do not doubt their quality especially now that they've hatched, as there is quite good literature saying that perfectly good, large, and vibrant queens can come from a smaller queen cell. I can refer you to the literature in a month, but right now I'm going to raft the Grand Canyon
    I was wondering how they looked, and you shared your opinion as that of a commercially-bred queen purchaser. I have little interest in hearing your opinion further on this matter, as your experience does not pertain to the nuances of the technique I have used to make these cells.
    For those who have raised queens, and especially those who have raised vibrant queens from smaller queen cells (including using queenright cell builders), your thoughts are valuable to me and I hope others that are beginning queen breeding. Perhaps if enough people proclaim the successes that can come from smaller queen cells, and queen-right queen rearing, our friend Bill might learn something new. Additionally, beekeepers without the resources to make queen-less cellbuilders teeming with bees might be motivated to try queen-right queen-rearing. Otherwise I see no further use for this thread to continue
    Respectfully
    Kyle

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kygreer View Post
    ...I guess I'll stick with this queen rearing method for next time. It was pretty easy to set up and didn't take any colonies out of production
    I think you did a fine job and...
    I for one would be interested in a more detailed description of the method you used to raise these queens...
    Thanks in advance.

  20. #19
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    Thumbs Up Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    kygreer, you did just fine. I too, (using the Ben Hardin Method), have had webbing around the queen cells like yours. Webbing makes it more difficult to free the cell for hatching...the strategy to reduce webbing is to give the nurse bees a place to deposit their wax (meaning, a frame with foundation, or a hole in a comb).

    Queen cells in queenright colonies tend to be smaller, no problem. You will do well to put a frame of open brood above the queen excluder about three or four days before grafting, then feed them well -don't forget to inspect for wild queen cells on that frame, they can ruin your efforts. This will get the nurse bees producing food for these larvae and they will in position and ready to feed your grafts liberally. The idea is that primed nurse bees will kick start the nutrition for your grafts and improve the overall development of your grafted (now) queen larvae. HTH
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Do these queen cells look viable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    kygreer, you did just fine. I too, (using the Ben Hardin Method), have had webbing around the queen cells like yours. Webbing makes it more difficult to free the cell for hatching...the strategy to reduce webbing is to give the nurse bees a place to deposit their wax (meaning, a frame with foundation, or a hole in a comb)...
    Using a cell bar frame that is only 3/4" wide also reduces excessive wax webbing on the cells to almost zero.

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