Alley Method for Rearing Queens
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  1. #1
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    Default Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    I assume Alley method is about picking a frame with freshly laid eggs in a queen castle along a frame of honey and pollen and shaking some bees to it. Bees realizing that in queen castle there is no queen will start drawing emergency queen cells.

    After that wouldn't it be better to place the frame back into a strong colony where they will be properly fed with royal jelly?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by dpula2 View Post
    I assume Alley method is about picking a frame with freshly laid eggs in a queen castle ...
    The Alley method involves taking a comb of larvae, and cutting slices from it. Then, attaching those 'slices' to a frame bar such that the chosen cells point downwards.

    There's a couple of useful videos on the web, showing just how clumsily this can be done, and still produce fair results:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgeby2Q5v40
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtogwPcoYro

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    The Alley method involves taking a comb of larvae, and cutting slices from it. Then, attaching those 'slices' to a frame bar such that the chosen cells point downwards.
    I'd rather just graft. Yeah, I know, I know. Alley says his method makes better queens. Whatever.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Thanks for the video links. Almost all of my frames have plastic foundation and it would be pretty tough to cut through the plastic! I do believe it was pretty good method at one time and if you are using wax foundation or natural comb, could be a good choice. I do find it rather wasteful of perfectly good comb. If grafting is completely out of the question, I am pretty sure anyone could raise good queens that way.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    dudelt, so order 10 sheets of thin surplus in your favorite frame size. hmm a perfectly good comb is like less than 3 bucks, a buck for the wood and a buck for the wax. you have the frame left to reuse so not really even 3 bucks. 3 or 4 queens are like 40 bucks each. not sure how you surmised 3 queens is not worth a comb, another discussion I guess. But read the Alley method. it is a good way to raise a few queens, for the cost of a sheet of thin surplus, and some time. with the thin surplus you could do the Miller method as well. I would think instead of trying to cut plastic one would either get the Thin surplus or do foundation less. There are always options. I would call 3 or 4 queens a very good way to use a comb. I guess we have differing opinions on comb use. that is the pure beauty here in this forum, every one has a way. and there is always someone, who is like whaaaaat,, why do that. Next best use,, eat it which is possible with either the Alley or Miller method. So you can have your Queen and then use the frame for honey and eat it to.
    GG

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Just to clarify - I wasn't endorsing the Alley method (over and above other methods) - just clarifying what it involved

    Stewart made something of a pig's ear of the technique by using a comb which had been drawn on wired foundation - that was a poor choice to be starting with. Full-length strips can very easily and be cleanly cut from a foundationless comb - a much better choice of material. But - his use of fishing line is a much better idea, imo, than the molten wax method of attachment used by the FatBeeMan.

    For somebody who just wants half-a-dozen q/cells and doesn't possess queen-rearing equipment of any kind - I reckon it's an 'ok' method. It will produce q/cells, and that's all that really matters.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Just to clarify - I wasn't endorsing the Alley method (over and above other methods) - just clarifying what it involved

    Stewart made something of a pig's ear of the technique by using a comb which had been drawn on wired foundation - that was a poor choice to be starting with. Full-length strips can very easily and be cleanly cut from a foundationless comb - a much better choice of material. But - his use of fishing line is a much better idea, imo, than the molten wax method of attachment used by the FatBeeMan.

    For somebody who just wants half-a-dozen q/cells and doesn't possess queen-rearing equipment of any kind - I reckon it's an 'ok' method. It will produce q/cells, and that's all that really matters.
    LJ
    Agree, really one method over another is just a matter of choice, there are several good methods, do what works for the equipment you have

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Here is the Alley Method in Alley's own words:
    http://bushfarms.com/beesalleymethod.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    I think it is not worth worrying about not getting full length strips to cut; very seldom will you find the right aged larvae extending in a line across a whole frame. One of the vids linked by Greg show a Russian cutting cell strip sections from a wired frame. My picture below shows the results of placing 3 triangular tabs of wax foundation on a top bar of a blank frame. The bees start drawing it out from three different start points and the queen starts laying according to their progress. The result is some very even aged larvae. Thanx Oldtimer for this hint.

    My intent was to do cell punch method but another colony started swarm preps and gave me the cells I needed so I got sidetracked.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Frank

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I think it is not worth worrying about not getting full length strips to cut; very seldom will you find the right aged larvae extending in a line across a whole frame. One of the vids linked by Greg show a Russian cutting cell strip sections from a wired frame. My picture below shows the results of placing 3 triangular tabs of wax foundation on a top bar of a blank frame. The bees start drawing it out from three different start points and the queen starts laying according to their progress. The result is some very even aged larvae. Thanx Oldtimer for this hint.

    My intent was to do cell punch method but another colony started swarm preps and gave me the cells I needed so I got sidetracked.
    Nice pic, looks ready for the miller method https://scstatebeekeepers.wildaprico...an%20FINAL.pdf

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    You don't need large, eggs work to according to FatBeeMan.

    FatBeeMan 1 Minute Tip Very Easy Queen Making
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y64cKn4rLNM

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    I thought that eggs were not well accepted but the odds are his method will include enough proper age larvae to give the bees what they need to work with.

    Don's method wont win a beauty contest but it is bully for simple!
    Frank

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I thought that eggs were not well accepted but the odds are his method will include enough proper age larvae to give the bees what they need to work with.

    Don's method wont win a beauty contest but it is bully for simple!
    Eggs work in a queen cup, so I would think the bees would be fine with an egg it is "Their" starting point

  15. #14

    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I'd rather just graft. Yeah, I know, I know. Alley says his method makes better queens. Whatever.

    I hear the same thing over and over and over and over again about someone else’s method involving “notching”
    I will stick to grafting as well.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    dudelt, so order 10 sheets of thin surplus in your favorite frame size. hmm a perfectly good comb is like less than 3 bucks, a buck for the wood and a buck for the wax. you have the frame left to reuse so not really even 3 bucks. 3 or 4 queens are like 40 bucks each. not sure how you surmised 3 queens is not worth a comb, another discussion I guess. But read the Alley method. it is a good way to raise a few queens, for the cost of a sheet of thin surplus, and some time. with the thin surplus you could do the Miller method as well. I would think instead of trying to cut plastic one would either get the Thin surplus or do foundation less. There are always options. I would call 3 or 4 queens a very good way to use a comb. I guess we have differing opinions on comb use. that is the pure beauty here in this forum, every one has a way. and there is always someone, who is like whaaaaat,, why do that. Next best use,, eat it which is possible with either the Alley or Miller method. So you can have your Queen and then use the frame for honey and eat it to.
    GG
    Gray, the part about cutting plastic is meant to be humor. I tried grafting last year for the first time and had great success with it right away. But I do think cutting up a full sheet of comb is wasteful when there are better options. Crofters post (#9) is a great compromise. I actually considered trying the Ally method last year but Laurie once stated that since so many people were freaked out about trying grafting that she had to try that method first. I came to the same conclusion. I was lucky. It worked out great for me and I found out that it really is much easier than I thought it would be.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    Gray, the part about cutting plastic is meant to be humor. I tried grafting last year for the first time and had great success with it right away. But I do think cutting up a full sheet of comb is wasteful when there are better options. Crofters post (#9) is a great compromise. I actually considered trying the Ally method last year but Laurie once stated that since so many people were freaked out about trying grafting that she had to try that method first. I came to the same conclusion. I was lucky. It worked out great for me and I found out that it really is much easier than I thought it would be.
    Sweet if you found a way that worked then good for you, some have eyesight challenges with grafting, I'm to shaky, I was being funny about the comb as well. I am not sure if I even have a frame of plastic, I have never bought it, just did not see the need. Now that I have read Laurie's post I want to give it a try. If you have a way to make queens , then its how many hives to do you want, next problem space, time and Wooden ware.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I think it is not worth worrying about not getting full length strips to cut; very seldom will you find the right aged larvae extending in a line across a whole frame.
    That may well be true for Langstroth frames. My frames are smaller and one side of a comb is invariably laid-up on the same day. Once the ends have been trimmed-off there's about 8" or so of choice larvae remaining - it would be much easier to wrap fishing line (which I really must have a go at) around that, than struggle as Stewart did in his video, with shorter pieces.

    My picture below shows the results of placing 3 triangular tabs of wax foundation on a top bar of a blank frame. The bees start drawing it out from three different start points and the queen starts laying according to their progress. The result is some very even aged larvae.
    Very nice looking comb, and ideal for the Miller method, or for grafting - but I wouldn't even consider using that for the Alley method - it will be far too soft to handle.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    It might be useful for me to add, that if you have larvae of the right age on half-drawn brand new comb - you don't actually need to do anything in the way of 'a queen rearing method' - just put that comb 'as is' into a queenless hive, and this is the sort of thing which can result:



    Not a lot wrong with those. Rearing Queens without subscribing to a Queen-Rearing Method ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Alley Method for Rearing Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    It might be useful for me to add, that if you have larvae of the right age on half-drawn brand new comb - you don't actually need to do anything in the way of 'a queen rearing method' - just put that comb 'as is' into a queenless hive, and this is the sort of thing which can result:



    Not a lot wrong with those. Rearing Queens without subscribing to a Queen-Rearing Method ...
    LJ
    LJ those look like really nice Queen cells. Do you have making of some splits or NUCs in mind?
    You likely can cut 3 inches off that comb, getting the cells off, and use it for the same thing again.
    Nice Job
    GG

  21. #20
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    Default

    You gents might enjoy OTS queen rearing. Particularly if you have plastic foundation. Simple, effective and no tools aside from the hive tool. Check out Mel Disselkoen and his method. Works for me.

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