Never heard the term "Pritchard box" before - I guess it's the same as the "Dutch Cage" Laidlaw mentioned in one of his books ? I tried for ages to get more info on this rare beast called a Dutch Cage, only to find that most people call these "Queen Traps", and that their use is fairly common.My best acceptance rates occur when [...] the queen mother has been isolated on the new comb in the queen excluder box known as a Pritchard box. I thought I had invented them, and I used to call them "breeder queen jails", but Pritchard came up with the exact same idea long before I did. Oldtimer pointed out that the Pritchard box helps to prevent one queen emerging too early and destroying other queen cells, as it aids in keeping the larvae all very nearly the same age.
Dear, Eugenic... :s"Better than Nature ..." Oh dear
Seems that the Eugenics Movement
Great post. I would only take issue with the requirement of an ongoing major nectar flow and no larvae or eggs in the hive or did I misunderstand. I’ve found heavy nectar flows to be a nuisance as the bees are so anxious to build comb around the grafts. Love a heavy pollen flow with a minimal amount of new nectar and then supplement with light feed regularly. While a lack of open brood is certainly desirable, I don’t see it as a requirement if the hive is sufficiently populated. I do make a point of minimizing open brood adjacent to newly started cells however.Age of the larva, skill of the grafter, time of day, keeping them warm and moist...they are all important factors.
The most important factors I have found are: 1) grafted during the peak increase of the main nectar and pollen flow in the Spring; 2) the number of 5- to 10 day old nurse bees present. 10 imported frames of capped brood 10 days before grafting is huge, as it provides 30,000 excess nurse bees in an abnaturally strong queen cell raiser hive; 3) the colony is abnaturally fed with real pollen frames imported, pollen substitute patties, 1:1 sugar syrup, and a MAJOR nectar / pollen flow right outside the door.
So, too much food and too many nurse bees eager to feed the queen cells, suddenly made queenless at 72 hours after egg-lay and not a larvae nor an egg to feed anywhere...AAAHGGGG! Then, suddenly, at 80 to 90 hours a beekeeper gives them the grafts. Whoopie hayoo kayee!!! It suddenly becomes a SUPERCHARGED ROYAL JELLY FACTORY on steroids. The nurse bees DIVE IN and feed the grafts royal jelly like you've rarely seen.
My best acceptance rates occur when the larvae are between 80 and 90 hours after the queen mother has been isolated on the new comb in the queen excluder box known as a Pritchard box. I thought I had invented them, and I used to call them "breeder queen jails", but Pritchard came up with the exact same idea long before I did. Oldtimer pointed out that the Pritchard box helps to prevent one queen emerging too early and destroying other queen cells, as it aids in keeping the larvae all very nearly the same age.
Agreed - but Darwin never said "best" in the sense of highest performing - he said "best fitted" (as in "survival of the fittest" - which were actually Wallace's words, not Darwin's) - meaning best suited for a particular ecological niche.Dear, Eugenic... :s
Nature never breeds for the best – contrary to the common belief (read: misunderstanding) what Darwin said. It breeds for the average and for survival.
That is exactly what was at the heart of my earlier comment. You appear to have bought into the Judeo-Christian Genesis doctrine which separates human beings from the rest of the Natural World - as if we are completely separate from it - nothing to do with us, etc. The Earth and it's wildlife - plant-life and animals - have been placed on the Earth for us to use according to our whims and fancies.That manmade queens are "better" than natural queens is not a surprise. Nothing to do with eugenics. What is better for us, is not better for Nature. The way it is. We don't eat wild carrots but garden carrots. Garden carrots are bigger and "better". For us. Not for the rest of the living World. But for us. Because it feeds us, unlike wild carrots.
Many thanks for that description. I'd never heard the term 'Pritchard Box' before, nor heard of anyone using custom-sized frames in such a way.Little John - My Pritchard boxes are wooden on the bottom and ends, made of queen excluder on the sides, and they have a pop-off sheet metal top. [...] etc.
Of course, big difference and I agree, It does give you better control of the process. Sounds like you’ve got a good system going. We use queenright cell builders and as long as we see ample rj at 24 hours, we usually allow them to finish as well. I won’t get long winded about my take on the pros and cons.Yes, I do start the queen cells in QUEENLESS cell builder just to get absolute control of the timing so they all start at once, and they tend to start plenty of cells that way. Not that it is a must, it just helps prevent one virgin queen from emerging early. They can go back to queenright later.
Yes, I hate it when the fishing is just too **** good! But then again, that has only happened to me once, when I went to Lake Casitas to find peace and quiet to study for final exams. I caught t full buckets of crappie - they just would not stop biting. I finally put the tackle down and read my physics book, my notes, and went over my homework. That was a difficult decision.That's a terrible idea. *jealous*