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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If the colony makes a queen cell/queen, what is the cost?

There is 1 egg.
Royal jelly.
Cell formation.

What else? I have read that it is a large cost. Where is the expense? Is this myth? Compared to a drone or worker, is it twice or 10 or 100 times the effort? Love to hear some thoughts.

Thanks as always.
 

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I think most references to 'cost' of making a queen cell revolve around the concept of making the colony queenless so they will raise a new queen. In that case, the cost is 3 to 4 weeks with no brood, a very very significant cost to the colony a few weeks down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks grozzie. I heard comments that grafting caused excessive cost to the hive. Curious if that is a myth.
 

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It is not myth. The cost is the loss of brood rearing. Remove a queen and you lose 28 days +/- of brood rearing. That brood rearing translates into future bees in the hive. During that time bees are dying off as well. Then what you end up with by the time the new queen is laying, is an unbalance in ages of bees in the hive that is now starting over.

Grafting helps reduce the time of brood rearing loss, but only by a couple weeks. So, OK, you have only 2+ weeks of brood loss now, but that still translates into 28,000 +/- future bees. BUT, by grafting, you are only sacrificing the brood rearing of the cell builders/finisher and the small mating nucs. This does help tremendously, so is the most used way of queen rearing.
 

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If the colony makes a queen cell/queen, what is the cost?

There is 1 egg.
Royal jelly.
Cell formation.

What else? I have read that it is a large cost. Where is the expense? Is this myth? Compared to a drone or worker, is it twice or 10 or 100 times the effort? Love to hear some thoughts.

Thanks as always.
There IS a cost - to the colony. Firstly, queen cells are usually produced several at a time, very rarely singly. In some cases a dozen or more - even though only one may 'go the full distance' - they ARE that important. Secondly - what kind of queen are we talking about - a scrub queen, or a queen of some quality ? A really good queen needs to be fed copious amounts of RJ - and that takes a good number of nurse bees, as well as significant amounts of pollen. Then, queen cells need to be drawn - and according to a tight schedule - so again, that takes a workforce to do that. Just look at the cluster of bees hanging on to each developing queen cell, and compare that with the much smaller number of bees more leisurely involved with the raising of worker or drone brood.

Perhaps the best way of estimating the 'cost' is to examine the number of bees required in practice in order to be able to produce queens ?
LJ
 
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