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Mating queen on production hives

1463 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
I read somewhere about Frank Pellet (I think) had a method of creating a nuc and mating a queen on top of a production hive without sacrificing a honey crop.
He would do this by placing the old queen from a strong hive in a hive body with empty drawn comb on the original hive stand. He would put a queen excluder on top of the bottom box then place a honey super on top of the excluder. Then place the brood in a box over the honey super. A entrance is provided in the top box for the queen to leave to mate. Install a ripe cell the next day. The new queen will emerge, mate and begin to lay. Meanwhile the old queen is laying in the bottom box. Once larva is found in the top box it can be removed to a new location and the process can be repeated.
My question would be if the nurse bees will move down through the honey supper to feed the larva in the bottom box. The field bees would most likly return through the original entrance but will that be able to take care of the brood from the old queen.
The method seems so simple but I have never heard of anyone doing it. I would like to try it on a few hives but would like to know if anyone else has had sucess with it. The author says it works well.
It may not be the way to make the maximum increase but it seems like it would require less labor than other methods to increase hive numbers
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I'd have to dig out my Practical Queen Rearing book and look to see if Pellet had a similar system, but Doolittle did:
In 1889 Doolittle added this to his book:
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