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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm puzzled. This is the second year in a row that my queens have emerged 2 or even 3 days early. All of the calendars say that queens emerge around day 16 from the date the egg is laid (counting the first day as day #1). I figured that last year it was due to warm weather, but this year its been 10 degrees cooler than normal and I'm experiencing the same thing. The queen cells and queens all look great. Nice and big and the hives did great last year. I'm talking about grafts of 100 or more, not just a handful.

Here are the facts:
Day #4 - graft tiny <12 hour old larvae (so small I need a magnifying glass and the royal jelly doesn't even cover the entire bottom of the cell). Not talking about old larvae.
Day #7 - most queen cells already capped. This is only 3 days after I grafted. Calendars say capping occurs on Day #9, so already two days ahead of schedule.
Day #14 - About 15% of cells emerged with another 10% already killed by emerged queens. Like last year this is two days ahead of the calendars.

Possibilities I can think of:
1) Bees are feeding the queens more royal jelly than usual since the queen cells are the only larvae in the CellBuilder/Finisher.
2) Bees are keeping the cells warmer than usual since the queen cells are the only brood in the CellBuilder/Finisher.
3) All the calendars are wrong.
4) I have special super bees :-0

I would appreciate comments from those with real experience on the subject.

ekrouse
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www.EricsHoneyFarm.com/resources
 

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Those are some early queens! Typically I count on cells to be sealed approximately 5.5 days after grafting and emerge pretty close to day 16 in the spring when temps are a little cooler, maybe a half day longer. In the summer I count on a half day earlier for emergence. Even Africanized bees are only slightly less in terms of development time.

In terms of counting calendar days, I look at graft day as day 0 then 12 days later expect the virgin to emerge.

I am not sure why you would be seeing sealed cells so shortly after grafting...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Really strange. Last year I grafted on Thursday May 7th. 10 day later I was making up nucs and saw a couple of emerged Qcells. I even saw one queen chewing her way out of her Qcell. Since I created more Qcells than I needed I gave about 24 that day to another area beekeeper who produces nucs. He called me later to say that by the time he got back to his bee yard he had several queen wandering around in the box. I thought it a real fluke since I had not had that happen before. Then this year happened. I grafted on Thursday April 21st. 10 days later (yesterday) as I made up nucs I found one Queen Frame with a couple of emerged Qcells. Then, my last Queen Frame had about 1/3 emerged, 1/3 killed (a couple with the queen dead trying to make it out) and about 1/3 that appear viable (no sign of chewing/sting hole on the side. I'll know by the end of this week for sure). As usual I grafted larvae no bigger than the egg so none were old larvae!

ekrouse
[email protected]oneyFarm.com
www.EricsHoneyFarm.com/resources
 

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I grafted this last Wednesday all young larvae nothing old, and when I checked on Sunday, 4 days later many were capped or almost capped. I will plan on making nucs up and placing cells earlier than planned.
 

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Possibilities I can think of:
1) Bees are feeding the queens more royal jelly than usual since the queen cells are the only larvae in the CellBuilder/Finisher.
2) Bees are keeping the cells warmer than usual since the queen cells are the only brood in the CellBuilder/Finisher.
3) All the calendars are wrong.
4) I have special super bees :-0



ekrouse
[email protected]
www.EricsHoneyFarm.com/resources
Or 5. your calculation of age of larva is wrong. capping by the bees indicated you are by about 2 days. I would go with the bees assessment and re calibrate my expectations of when queens will emerge. Putting me within a day of correct in this case.........
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Or 5. your calculation of age of larva is wrong. capping by the bees indicated you are by about 2 days. I would go with the bees assessment and re calibrate my expectations of when queens will emerge. Putting me within a day of correct in this case.........
Daniel Y,
Not sure I am clear on your comment. I just shortened my timeline yesterday by 2 days to account for the shorter development time. Going forward I may base it on when queen cells are capped. If they continue to be capped two days ahead of schedule, then I'll put them in the nucs two days earlier. Most likely I will shorten everything by 1 day as I don't want to go to the other extreme and damage developing queens. If your comment is about a miscalculation of age, then that is not correct since any younger would be grafting eggs! Attached is a photo of the larvae size I use. It is very apparent when an egg has just turned into the "C" shaped hours old larvae.

bee larvae3 w text.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Are they eventually mating and becoming viable queens?
jwcarlson,

The queens were great last year. Best I've produced so far. Hives built up quickly, produced very well and overwintered without losses. Of course its too early to know about this year's batch, but everything seems to be on track.
 
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