Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method
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  1. #1
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    Default Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    Hi All,
    I am looking at starting to raise my own queens this summer. After looking at many methods it seems the Michael Palmer starter is pretty reliable and will give me some large queens. I am only looking to raise around 30ish queens, is there any reason why I can use the starter hive the way Michael Palmer sets it up as a finisher too. Just want to make sure that I am not missing anything. I will not be raising more than one batch so I shouldn't need to keep the finisher stock after the one batch was done. Thanks for any help.
    Josh
    Your inferiority complex is better than mine.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    If you have never don't it before, start small, make mistakes, learn and adjust.
    The chances of you being successful (good take) on the 1st go is small so I wouldn't expect to get 30 queen raised in just one batch
    I would start here
    http://doorgarden.com/2011/11/07/sim...for-beginners/
    Its also on the forum here https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...arter-Finisher but I find the photos on the web format handy
    Kamon Reynolds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH2G...iHmkIbLz9FAIQl and JustBeecuz https://www.youtube.com/user/tarlkb/videos both have good videos on nuc sized cell builders

    What I liked abut the set up was it is simple and you can run it all year while you make mistakes/learn

    another to look at is https://www.beeculture.com/net-gain-...ilding-system/
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    You do not need to go to a full Michael Palmer "Bee Bomb" cell raiser for 30 queens. A 5- or 6- frame nucleus box will do it comfortably in 2 runs of 15 queens, and you'll not use up so much of your bee resources.

    Michael's modification of Brother Adam's method requires about 15 to 20 strong colonies from which to pick frames from to support the activity of ONE cell raiser hive. It will make lots of queens, and healthy ones, but that's a lot more capacity than you need. If you make any big mistakes, you'll lose the year's honey production from the colonies that you borrowed frames of brood and honey and pollen from.

    ****************

    Instead, try making up 30 nucleus boxes, OR cut slots inside 15 of your standard boxes to divide them into 2 x 5-framers, and drill cork hole exits in both sides. Make bottoms that seal the hive partitions, and half-inner covers. They'll still serve as full 10 frame hives, just move the other colony into it's own box (and move them 10 miles away for a month so they won't go back to the wrong "home"and of course, remove the hive partitions.

    Then make up your cell raiser nucleus. I prefer a 6-framer that is 12 inches tall with #8 hardware cloth ventilation along the bottom 3 inches - it should be extremely crowded in there, and it will need the ventilation.

    Also make a feed tray inner cover with 1/2 inch hardware cloth to go above it. That is where you place the Megabee patty.

    Make 2 jar feeder holes in the roof. Also make up you cell bar frame (if you are grafting or using other method involving cell cups).

    Stuff the box full of bees from one of your strongest colonies. Leave the queen! You'll be packing 5 frames of capped brood and one of open brood into it 10 days before grafting day. 5 days later, remove the queen cells - ALL OF THEM!!!. (<= Very important. Read it again out loud. I actually check for queen cells 3 times in those 10 days.) Isolate your breeder queen(s) on a single new empty drawn comb in a Pritchard box at 7 am 3 days before grafting day. You'll remove the 2 most hatched-out frames at 7 am one day before grafting day and putting in a frame of pollen and the cell bar frame for "polishing". Graft at 3 pm on grafting day, but take a dry run for practice in the morning. This puts your oldest larvae at 80 hours, so you;ll have to hunt through them the first hour or two, but the oldest ones are usually near the middle of the comb.

    This is largely David LaFerney's method, and it will get you up to enough colonies (25 to 50 or more) that you can go to Michael Palmer's / Brother Adam's method when you get enough bees to do it his way. The idea is to raise from 5 to 20 queens all season long, getting plenty of practice, allowing a few oopsies and fails along the way, and improving your technique greatly as you go. This is how a hobby beekeeper transitions from small time to medium size operation. Once you are medium size (perhaps 50 to 200 colonies) you;ll have to go to MOP's methods to get real big.

    BEST OF LUCK!!!
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 01-27-2020 at 08:33 PM.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    I started raising my own queens a couple of years ago and the advice given above by MSL and Kilocharlie is right on the money. I used the David LaFerney's method and continue to do so. Remember, not every queen gets mated properly or makes it back from the mating flights so you will want more than 30 mating nucs to get 30 good queens out of the process. I also strongly recommend going with smaller batches to start with and you will improve each time and keep getting better results.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    Good advice from everyone. Josh, I think that Kamon Reynolds' (Tennesee Bees on youtube) method is perfect for you. I am kicking the same idea around in my head and his method/adaptation looks easy and sound especially for just a small amount of queens. In addition to all of the above, check out UoG youtube for similar methods. J

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    I do not think you are missing anything. The only place his method uses bees is getting the mating nucs stocked. His videos all have them ready to go so he is not showing how many frames you need for that. I would say go ahead a graft a couple of bars. If you are new to grafting and get about 10 to take it will take about 10 frames of mixed brood for your queen castle, after that you will have a source for bees for the next two rounds. I do not know your set up though, maybe you already have all the mating resources to do that in one shot.
    ďWhy do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves upĒ Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    THanks for the advice everyone. I keep researching and come up with a better plan.
    Your inferiority complex is better than mine.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    New guy here. I see much talk about queen size, but also much talk about requeening every two years. Does size get more brood or laying years? Surely shouldn’t affect genetics (unless she has limited flight distance due to her small size and mates with brother drones). What is the benefit of a large queen, and is there a real difference between queens or are we assuming they get bigger with more attention when they are larval? Comments?

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    This should be a good start for you

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yxrawVF0Oc
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    MSL, Thank you. Great presentation. I wish he had mentioned the percent improvement with size. He said 4.6 mm thorax diameter suggested a good queen. I wonder what the difference between a 4.6 mm queen thorax and a 4.2 queen is. So much to learn! So glad scientists are Doing the research!

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    I wonder what the difference between a 4.6 mm queen thorax and a 4.2 queen is
    Tarpy EtAl 2011 had 4.48 vs 4.24
    note the sperm volume and quality

    [/QUOTE]

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile...bee-queens.pdf
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    Quote Originally Posted by joshk View Post
    Hi All,
    I am looking at starting to raise my own queens this summer. After looking at many methods it seems the Michael Palmer starter is pretty reliable and will give me some large queens. I am only looking to raise around 30ish queens, is there any reason why I can use the starter hive the way Michael Palmer sets it up as a finisher too. Just want to make sure that I am not missing anything. I will not be raising more than one batch so I shouldn't need to keep the finisher stock after the one batch was done. Thanks for any help.
    Josh
    When the subject of raising queens comes up most folks have watched videos and put a lot of thought into how to create and manage a cell builder. But, the thing to keep in mind, a cell builder makes cells, not queens. When the cells come out of the builder, job is only half done, now they need a home for the virgin to emerge, then go off on mating flights. You dont have a viable queen until this phase is completed too. And here is the rub most folks tend to overlook, mating queens takes more resources than raising cells. Yes I know, you can pour a pile of resources into a couple boxes and get 48 really nice cells if all goes well. That pile of resources is equivalent to about 3 boxes of bees. The most efficient way I have for mating queens is to use 4 way boxes, and to manage 48 of those, I need a dozen 4 way boxes. Each of those boxes has 4 small colonies, and when you tally it all up, it's actually more resources than your cell builder.

    The first time I started to raise some queens intentionally via grafting I put a lot of effort into creating a fantastic cell builder etc, but really had not thought the process clearly from start to finish. When the cells were ready I had about a dozen nice looking cells, and exactly 5 nucleus colonies for mating them in. Lesson learned.

    Most folks when they first start thinking about raising queens get so focussed on cell building they completely miss the concept of 'mating nucs need more resources than cell builders'.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    well put.
    This is why the big boys use mini nucs... and they are something I think hobbyists overlook/discount to their own loss.
    a 2 frame deep mating nuc (such as ones in a 4 way queen castle) uses the same resources as 10 foam minis
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    MSL, thanks for the chart. Good info.

    How do you get the mating nuc started? Just put some nurse bees in to draw out comb or put the little frames in an established hive or just put the virgin and some bees in a box with combless frames? In the old German documentary their mating nucs were just a tiny box with a few bees and very limited comb or bees.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    In the old German documentary their mating nucs were just a tiny box with a few bees and very limited comb or bees.
    yep... an empty box with a few empty frames or top bars... add a cup of 2-1, cup of bees, and a virgin or cell. keep them dark and cool for 3 days and set them out in the same yard at dusk and open them up.

    The bees are siting there for 2 weeks waiting for the queen to start laying, plenty of time to draw out the mini combs, drawn comb gets in the way filling the hives anyway
    here is a good video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL3H...CoNvNfVu4ZYGAI..

    no need or want of temp queen if you can store them dark and cool.
    If you just making up a few, pull the bees the same way you would for a mite wash, just with a 1 cup measure instead of a 1/2
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    This is why the big boys use mini nucs... and they are something I think hobbyists overlook/discount to their own loss.
    I don't think so:
    Much too labor intensive for those smaller than the big boys not to mention costs of specialized minis.

    Easier and cheaper ways to make a couple of hundered and no need for a 4 man crew.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    Well... who spends more hours per hive? the backyard beekeeper. But I don't get the "labor" argument... place a cell and come back in 2 weeks.. in terms of work load, its the same number of visits, but much faster to find the queen on 3 tiny combs.

    I don't get the cost argument either... $10-12 a mini to buy, 1/4 of that or less to build($1.50 each in 1" house foam) vs 2 frame nucs that stand empty all winter as well ?

    Some spitball numbers-3 pound package of bees last year hit $150 -$30 queen= 120…/3 = $40 a pound / 3500 bees gives you 1.14 cents per bee
    at spit ball average life span left of 5 weeks (some bees older, some younger, its likely less weeks) that’s 0.228 cents per week per bee for its labor
    So a mini is 600X2X0.00228 = $2.73 in bee labor(opertuinty cost) costs to mate a queen
    Compare this to the common full deep frame system of a frame of brood and a frame of food to make up a mating nuc. A single frame of 60% brood fully covered with bees is a spit ball 6000 bees once hatched out = $27.30 in bee labor to mate a queen.

    The long and short is with a mini your risking about 1 days’ worth of spring build up for the honey flow to mate a queen VS a 2 frame nuc your risking 10 days of build up.

    “But one thing seems quite clear, measures by which the professional bee-keeper ensures the best possible returns must, ipso facto, prove equally reliable where only a few colonies are kept” -Brother Adam, Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey

    Thousands and thousands of queen cells go to waist every year do to hobiests not having a place or resources to put them in
    Last edited by msl; 01-31-2020 at 04:22 PM.
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    The long and short is with a mini your risking about 1 days’ worth of spring build up for the honey flow to mate a queen VS a 2 frame nuc your risking 10 days of build up.
    If you are concerned with risking resources at spring buildup either the queen rearing attempt is timed incorrectly or the donor colonies are too weak.

    There are methods that utilize the bees (and frames of brood) from the mating nuc after they have successfully been previously used to mate the queen. Some may go on to become part of a colony that makes a honey crop. some the components of a nuc to be overwintered.
    What are those mini frames you reference used for? UofG, in the video, cuts out the comb, probably full of brood when their usefulness as mating resources is over, and of the house bees and foragers?

    Seems like reusing resources like boxes, frames, brood and bees actually saves money and does not cost.

    I don't get the cost argument either... $10-12 a mini to buy, 1/4 of that or less to build($1.50 each in 1" house foam) vs 2 frame nucs that stand empty all winter as well ?
    as grozzie has said, and I concur with "The most efficient way I have for mating queens is to use 4 way boxes".
    2 frame stand alone nucs may sit all winter like your $10 mini but 4way boxes and frames don't have to. 4ways are also simple to
    work with one set of hands. Close to zero additional cost when one plans ahead and makes alterations before assembling boxes.

    “But one thing seems quite clear, measures by which the professional bee-keeper ensures the best possible returns must, ipso facto, prove equally reliable where only a few colonies are kept” -Brother Adam, Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey
    Seems like Doolittles early methods are a home run with only a few colonies.
    Or if you want to get fancy how about Harry Cloakes ingenious invention and the 4way providing the best possible return.

    Thousands and thousands of queen cells go to waist every year do to hobiests not having a place or resources to put them in
    Probably not such a bad thing as the quality of the qcell really does matter in long run.

    Enough from me except to say that the method used needs to be a finely tuned series of manipulations suited to the operator and operation, none stand alone. I'd like to read how raising queens from start to finish, and how mating in mins enables you to meet your mated queen needs you going forward and the cost of the endeavor. .

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    How about the Case Method/Hopkins Method, on this site, written by Jerry Hayes but developed by I. Hopkins oc New Zealand in 1911. Thatís what Iím going to try this year. If Iím trying it you can be sure itís easier.
    Proverbs 16:24

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Queen Rearing with Michael Palmer method

    check out this article from bee culture, By: Joe Latshaw on his queen production, similar to palmer's method and not needing to go big until you learn how.

    lots of good info in this thread to study.
    DavidZ

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