Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,601 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It is seeming that the flow is slowing down here. Goldenrod is about 2 months away by my guesswork. Should have good flow until October at that point. And we are in a drought bubble here, currently at least 13 inches behind the yearly average rainfall. Hitting 50 miles to north, east, and west, but we are suffering here. So unless that changes, goldenrod might be slow as well.

I have 2 hives that are meaner than I prefer. I have to smoke the heck out of them and keep hitting the bellows every 3 or 4 frames during inspection. That keeps them to just buzzing, but at least not attacking. One hive is at a friend's and they are now following him when he zips past with the mower. Getting popped each time he mows but they really increased his production in his orchard. The other is my only split, and was of course from my best producing hive (the one above) and they are grumpy as well. Yesterday I didn't keep the smoke going and was stealing some nurse bees for adding to a cut out. They got mad and I got popped enough times to say this is enough. Then had a small cloud follow me to the house. They are lucky I didn't walk back with a can of starting fluid to show them what hot is. LOL

So I am thinking I may make another attempt at producing a half dozen or more queen cells. Have failed on my last two attempts doing notching. Have cups, but not attempted grafting yet. Any suggestions on methods that would be best that are easy for a small number of queen. I can set up a starter cell if needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
650 Posts
I have to ask why would you want more of those by making more queens??? I would find some nice, gentle, stock to work with reproducing before I would go with what you describe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,373 Posts
I'm guessing that you have two difficult hives, but you have several other hives, that aren't being difficult, that you could grow queens from.

If you do have such nicer colonies, you could simply kill the queens in the ornery hives, wait a week, then go in, carefully remove any emergency queen cells they have produced, and destroy them, or, as I sometimes do, bring a frame of grafting age larva from one of your nicest colonies. Select a few of those queen cells, remove the larva from them, replacing the resident larva, with a larva from your nicest colony. Make sure there are no other queen cells, anywhere in the hive.

That is how I did my very first queen rearing's.
 

·
Registered
35
Joined
·
2,006 Posts
Have failed on my last two attempts doing notching. Have cups, but not attempted grafting yet. Any suggestions on methods that would be best that are easy for a small number of queen. I can set up a starter cell if needed.
I avoided trying to graft for a couple of years, and was going to get started this spring. I couldn't start when I wanted to, late cool spring, and the colonies had made no drones yet. When they had drones, my travel schedule wouldn't allow me to tend the grafts on the required intervals, so I did some traditional splits, and left them to make new queens on their own. When all was said and done, one colony appeared to be queenless after a month, so my first thought was 'give them a frame of brood'. Then I got to thinking a bit, I have all the gear, why give them a frame of brood, when I could instead give them a frame with grafted cups ? Worst case scenario, after a few days I would see none took and I could still give them a brood frame. So I got busy, and grafted one bar of cups, first time trying it. Those went into the queenless colony last Friday afternoon. Saturday morning it looked like this:-



On Wednesday, that bar had 8 capped queen cells on it.

I know a lot of folks would be agonizing about a take rate of only 8 cells from 15 cups grafted on the bar, but I'm thrilled. This was WAY easier than I though it would be. My biggest problem now, getting together enough mating nucs on the weekend to deal with all of them. I can think of worse problems to have.

If you have the gear, go for it. Not much to lose, and a lot to gain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
I've never raised queens, so am certainly no expert. I probably don't even know what I'm talking about, but....

Are those the remaining capped cells in the photo above? Usually when I see pics like those, the plastic cup is full of Royal Jelly, and the capping is much longer. I don't know if the differences matter or not. Just thought I would point out that yours look different than ones I've seen before.

:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
I avoided trying to graft for a couple of years, and was going to get started this spring. I couldn't start when I wanted to, late cool spring, and the colonies had made no drones yet. When they had drones, my travel schedule wouldn't allow me to tend the grafts on the required intervals, so I did some traditional splits, and left them to make new queens on their own. When all was said and done, one colony appeared to be queenless after a month, so my first thought was 'give them a frame of brood'. Then I got to thinking a bit, I have all the gear, why give them a frame of brood, when I could instead give them a frame with grafted cups ? Worst case scenario, after a few days I would see none took and I could still give them a brood frame. So I got busy, and grafted one bar of cups, first time trying it. Those went into the queenless colony last Friday afternoon. Saturday morning it looked like this:-



On Wednesday, that bar had 8 capped queen cells on it.

I know a lot of folks would be agonizing about a take rate of only 8 cells from 15 cups grafted on the bar, but I'm thrilled. This was WAY easier than I though it would be. My biggest problem now, getting together enough mating nucs on the weekend to deal with all of them. I can think of worse problems to have.

If you have the gear, go for it. Not much to lose, and a lot to gain.
Did you put the cups in to be cleaned first or did you graft right out of the bag?

Also from your post it seems you simply used a Queenless hive rather a purpose made cell builder. Was it a nuc sized hive or a 10 frame deep you put the cell bar in?

As you I have the gear as my daughter was keen to try but never got around to it. I could try...just need the courage to start:)
 

·
Registered
35
Joined
·
2,006 Posts
The cells are not capped, because that photo was taken only about 18 hours after the bar went in. You can see a decent bit of royal jelly in the ones where they have started a little wax. It was a few more days before they were drawn out a bunch more and capped.

The hive in question was at the time (I thought) a queenless hive. The history, we built it up into a triple deep thru the spring. At split time, I took one 10 frame box off for the split, and put the queen into that box, leaving behind a double deep with about a dozen frames of brood in various stages, we did this to 3 colonies all in the same configuration. We left on a trip shortly after, and when we got back from the trip I checked all 3 for signs of a queen. Two of them had open brood. When I opened this one up, they were rather noisey, ie roaring. I went thru all 20 frames in the brood boxes, and saw not a single egg, or any sign of brood, so I just assumed they had not made a queen. I didn't make any effort to find a queen at that point. I re-organized a little bit, so the graft frame went in between one frame which was full of pollen, and another which was full of open nectar, ie put lots of the correct food right next door. To do that I had to move a couple of brood frames, which were all empty.

As far as how I dealt with the cups etc, I took them out of the bag, stuck them into the cell bar, and then used my shiny new chinese grafting tool to start lifting larvae from a frame taken out of the colony that got the queen from this one originally. I made no effort to fuss with the cups other than taking them out of the plastic bag.

When I went in to look at how the cells are doing last night, I started by lifting one of the empty brood frames, to make space for moving things. Much to my surprise, that frame was full of eggs, so, I guess they did re-queen, just took a little longer to get going than the others. There is another colony right beside them, that is in 3 deeps right now, so I took 4 frames of bees out of that one into a 5 frame box, set the cell frame in the center, just to get them out of the queenright colony. I'll make up some mating nucs on the weekend, and see where this leads. Will they be good queens ? I dunno, but there's only one way to find out. By my figuring, if each of them gives me a full frame of brood in a mating nuc, come late august, there'll be enough bees and brood to make up 2 more colonies for wintering, and I'll have my pick of the queens to keep.

For us, this year has been one of many experiments, and grafting was one of the 'must try' things on the list. I tried it, and it worked. I can tick that off now as something not to be scared to try again, and I will do more now that I've got a much better 'hands on' bit of experience. I will admit, taking the grafting tool and fishing out the larvae for the first time, was a bit of a learning experience, but not nearly has difficult as I had built myself up to believe after reading to much, and doing not enough. Will I do it a little different next time ? Yes, likely I will, but, the idea of picking up a grafting tool and starting a bar of cells is no longer intimidating, it's actually something I'm looking forward to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,601 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I have to ask why would you want more of those by making more queens??? I would find some nice, gentle, stock to work with reproducing before I would go with what you describe.
"ditto"!!!!
Sorry that was not clear, I currently have 11 hives and most are not mean. But I would love to raise a few queens from my other hives.

LOL - But not sure any of my bees would be called nice gentle stock as they are all from cut out survivor stock and I would NEVER think for a second to work them without gloves or a hood. That would just hurt.

Grozzie - I am think that I may try, but like you every time I set stuff up, something occurs where either I don't have time to do the grafting or my schedule appears that I will not be around when the virgins start to emerge, so I put it off. I have tried with the cell notching, but failed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Marsh- Take one of your calmer hives and go for it. Notching and grafting is hard to do if your vision
isn't up to snuff like some of us OLD guys. Try Dr. C C Millers method or Henry Alley that doesn't
require vision and as Dr. Miller stated even a beginner can use my method. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,601 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
CtyAcres - Thanks, I will read up on those methods and might try one. And while I an not old yet (LOL) my darn eye glasses RX is changing faster than I care to admit. New glasses yearly is not keeping up with close up vision. Really stinks.
 

·
Registered
35
Joined
·
2,006 Posts
Just a follow up on the photos above. My cell bar had 8 capped cells on Wednesday. The following Monday I moved them to mating nucs, 3 frames of bee in a bee-brief with an empty frame. Since this is a learning experiment more than a serious attempt at raising queens, I looked carefully at all the cells before going into the nuc, then chose two. One that looked 'good' based on what I could see thru the cup, and the condition of the wax, then one that looked 'bad', and opened them up to see if I was reading it right. I was, one was an almost fully developed queen, and one was a white larvae, that appeared to have died. Then I made up 3 nucs, and placed 2 of the cells in each nuc, hoping I was getting at least one good one in each.

Today I went and checked the nucs, they should have emerged yesterday. Found the exact same thing in all 3 of them. One cell open on the end, like she has emerged from it. The other cell, chewed out the side. Pretty much what I had expected, and hoped for. I wasn't looking hard for the virgin queens, spotted 2 of them, didn't see one in the other nuc, didn't hunt very hard either.

This has been a great experience, and, I've completely lost my aversion to grafting now. It's to late to do a lot more this year, but, next spring I'll be doing a lot more, a lot earlier in the season.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,601 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Well I was considering putting the starter together earlier this week but the next two weeks are predicted for Thunderstorms almost daily. Maybe this weekend I will put it together.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top