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Discussion Starter #1
and I"m sorry I cannot quote because I don't have my copy available, but...

trying to get bees to rear their own queen (from larvae) in a 5 frame nuc is not advisable.

Curious to others experiences. I've experimented on this in several instances and had varying results. But all things being equal, I think Larry's correct here.
 

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I value Larrys opinion on queen rearing.

I have reared queens in a 5 frame nuc box. The queens were good and overwintered and then made a good crop the next year for me. Two things about the nuc. 1- it was extremely crowded with young nurse bees. 2- i was only trying to rear 15 queens at most at the time. I used that nuc to start and finish the cells.
 

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The way I understood the statement, and like bee wrangler mentioned, if you are trying to rear multiple queens. A Nuc don’t have the population to properly feed and care for more than a few queens.
However if you are just rearing a queen for a split they work great. I perform around six every year this way. Using my strongest winter survivor colonies.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'd better clarify, I think. I think 5 frame nucs are ideal for rearing queens, they make a great mating nuc. You place a queen cell in a 5 frame nuc and that queen will be off to the races (assuming no bird gets her during a mating flight).

What I'm referring to is making a 5-frame nuc queenless, with eggs and brood in comb, and having those worker bees raise their own queen from scratch.

I've been successful at times doing this, but I chalk it up to pure luck and timing. Larry's point is this is not an efficient way for the bees to raise queens.
 

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Those bees would be raising an emergency queen because they all of a sudden went queenless. With a smaller brood nest the colony will start to dwindle down before the new queen is laying, thus making a weakened hive prone to being robbed out in a dearth. A 10 frame box will have a larger brood nest to hatch out which equates to weakened but more populated hive.

Just my 2 cents

G3
 

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To compensate population dwindle I move two heavy frames of honey and pollen to the nuc, then two frames of capped brood and one frame of eggs and brood of optimum age. Along with shaking a healthy amount of nurse bees into the split. The population of young bees is boosted by the capped brood. When queen cells are capped I will eliminate all but two of the most robust cells. By this time the bees are forging and filling the empty cells vacated by the emerging brood. I perform such splits from mid May to Mid June by August they are in two deeps and by September I am pulling surplus honey. Heading into winter with a young queen from a survivor colony.
 

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You can raise cells by the emergency method that you're talking about. The conditions have to be ideal, and the nuc box packed with young bees. But...

The best queens are reared by either the supercedure or swarming. Imitating what the bees do is best. Trying to set up a supercedure situation is difficult, and results in only a few cells.

Swarming situation is easy to set up. Follow Bro Adam's example. Start with a colony of 10 frames of brood. Bring in 10 frames of bees and brood from an outyard, and place above excluder. 10 days later you have a colony ready to or already starting swarm preparations.

This is what I use to produce my queen cells. I would rather raise cells under these conditions...whether raising 30 or 45 cells...than under emergency conditions. Emergency queens are just that...emergency queens.
 

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I've experimented down to a two frame nuc and as long as it's overflowing with bees and has a source of pollen and nectar coming it you can get good quality queens. You won't get as many, but the quality is more affected by density of bees and availability of food than by the total size of the hive.
 

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"Trying to set up a supercedure situation is difficult, and results in only a few cells. "

Can this be done by removing a leg, mandible. or antenna?
 

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fatscher writes:
Larry's point is this is not an efficient way for the bees to raise queens.

tecumseh:
humm... efficient is not the same as effective. I do wonder if mr conner actually used the word efficient? given that his expertise lies in the field of entomolgy and not economic efficient would seem to likely not be the most descriptive term for whatever he might be wishing to describe I would guess.

if conditions are right then just about any size unit (properly constructed and deployed) would make an effective unit for rearing a queen. when conditions are wrong or if the unit is poorly made or deployed no matter how large the unit successfully rearing queens is likely to meet with failure.
 

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You won't get as many, but the quality is more affected by density of bees and availability of food than by the total size of the hive.
I would agree. My mating nucs raise their own at times and are good queens. I guess I prefer to raise a larger batch of queen cells to be used in my nuc making...rather than allowing each nuc to raise their own queen. I can start with much less critical mass in each nuc, since they don't have to raise a queen cell. That allows me to take better advantage of what brood/bee resources I have for nuc making.

Maybe that's what Larry was talking about.
 

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"Trying to set up a supercedure situation is difficult, and results in only a few cells. "

Can this be done by removing a leg, mandible. or antenna?
I suppose it could. You would have to check the colony often to find when they were starting their cells. I had a gimpy broken legged queen once. Her leg was like that when I caged her...wanted to see what would happen. She lasted well into her second year before they superceded.
 

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"Trying to set up a supercedure situation is difficult, and results in only a few cells. "

Can this be done by removing a leg, mandible. or antenna?


I recall reading that if you clip one antenna, the queen carries on as normal. With her one remaining antenna, she is still able to inspect cells before laying in them, and the bees still continue to accept her.

If you clip both antenna, the queen runs around on the combs erratically and acts disoriented. She stops laying. The bees replace her. (But I don't recall if the bees raise a supercedure queen or an emergency queen to replace the queen with no antennae.)
 

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>I recall reading that if you clip one antenna...

"I have frequently cut off one antenna, to recognize a queen the more easily and it was not prejudicial to her either in fecundity or instinct, nor did it affect the attention paid to her by the bees. It is true, that as one still remained, the mutilation was imperfect and the experiment decided nothing. But amputation of both antennae produced most singular effects. On the fifth of September, I cut both off a queen that laid the eggs of males only and put her into the hive immediately after the operation. From this moment there was a great alteration in her conduct. She traversed the combs with extraordinary vivacity. Scarcely had the workers time to separate and recede before her, she dropped her eggs, without attempting to deposit them in any cell. The hive not being very populous, part was without comb. Hither, she seemed particularly earnest to repair and long remained motionless. She appeared to avoid the bees however, several workers followed her into this solitude and treated her with the most evident respect. She seldom required honey from them, but when that occurred, directed her trunk with an uncertain kind of feeling, sometimes on the head and sometimes on the limbs of the workers and if it did reach their mouths, it was by chance. At other times she returned upon the combs, then quitted them to traverse the glass sides of the hive and always dropped eggs during her various motions. Sometimes she appeared tormented with the desire of leaving her habitation. She rushed towards the opening and entered the glass tube adapted there, but the external orifice being too small, after fruitless exertion, she returned. Notwithstanding these symptoms of delirium, the bees did not cease to render her the same attention as they ever pay to their queens. but this one received it with indifference. All that I describe appeared to me the consequence of amputating the antennae. However, her organization having already suffered from retarded fecundation and as I had observed her instinct in some degree impaired, both causes might possibly concur in producing the same effect. To distinguish properly what belonged to the privation of the antennae. A repetition of the experiment was necessary in a queen otherwise well organized and capable of laying both kinds of eggs.

"This I did on the sixth of September. I amputated both the antennae of a female which had been several months the subject of observation and being of great fecundity had already laid a considerable number of workers eggs amid those of males. I put her into the same hive where the queen of the preceding experiment still remained and she exhibited precisely the same marks of delirium and agitation, which I think it needless to repeat. I shall only add, that to judge better of the effect produced by privation of the antennas, on the industry and instinct of bees, I attentively considered the manner in which these two mutilated queens treated each other. You cannot have forgot, Sir, the animosity with which queens, possessing all their organs combat, on which account it became extremely interesting to learn whether they would experience the same reciprocal aversion after losing their antennae. We studied these queens a long time. They met several times in their courses and without exhibiting the smallest resentment. This last instance is, in my opinion, the most complete evidence of a change operated in their instinct."--New Observations on the Natural History Of Bees by François Huber LETTER XII 12 September 1791

http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#antennaeamputation

I've also had lame queens with a bum back leg that lived for several years.
 

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Allowing a nuc to raise there own queen through emergency impulse is actually my prefered way of making increase. I've found that these queens are far superior to purchased or my own grafted queens.

I make a 4 frame nuc taking a frame each of pollen, honey, sealed brood, and eggs with adhering bees and 2 frames of young bees shook for extra population. I set them out in a different yard more than 2 Km away. It's important to just leave them be and not to open them until she's hatched. About a month after I've made them, I'll go through them and in most cases I'll already have young larva in the comb or the first eggs. I allow one more week for any others that have not yet started laying and give them another frame of eggs.

Seldom have I ever had as much trouble with these queens as I have with grafted or purchased queens. My average success rate is modestly 95% with the remainder being fixed with addition of a frame of eggs and allowed to try again.

I beleive that the bees do not choose a larva at there own whim, certainly not with an eenee meenee mynee mo method. but that the larva they choose are chosen for a reason. In addition to this, the 5-9 cells that are raised are fed lavishly and are larger since more resources are spent on fewer cells.

Pros-
-Diversified genetics
-Not time sensetive as is in rearing queens in builders
-Less labor involved, easy to make
-Higher success rate (In my own expierence anyway)
-A healthier, more vigorous young queen

cons
-4-5 weeks until a laying queen

Anything else that you guys would like to add or comment on, please do.
 

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In addition to ensuring adequate population and food resources you can further help them out by giving them young comb to work with. Its easier for them to rework the comb around the egg/worm of their choosing that way.
 

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and I"m sorry I cannot quote because I don't have my copy available, but...

trying to get bees to rear their own queen (from larvae) in a 5 frame nuc is not advisable.

Curious to others experiences. I've experimented on this in several instances and had varying results. But all things being equal, I think Larry's correct here.
I'm surprised to see that Larry makes a statement like that. Are you sure that that's what he meant?

I quite often let nucs raise their own queens. Especially when i can't or couldn't afford to buy queens. i recall one year when I had as much as an 80% success rate doing so. Which i thought was pretty good. Considering the times when having an 80% queen acceptance rate is considered good.
 

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What I'm referring to is making a 5-frame nuc queenless, with eggs and brood in comb, and having those worker bees raise their own queen from scratch.

I've been successful at times doing this, but I chalk it up to pure luck and timing. Larry's point is this is not an efficient way for the bees to raise queens.
Well, I guess I respecftfully humbly disagree w/ Larry. I'd love to hear what he means by efficient.
 

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Well, I guess I respecftfully humbly disagree w/ Larry. I'd love to hear what he means by efficient.
I expect likely what he means by efficient is that by buying queens there is no fuss in spending time in rearing them and getting them mated and that the day they arrive at the door on the date that you can make your plans with, your hives are ready to have the caged queens put in, introduced, and the queen released in a couple of days would be as minimal disturbance to egg laying. The hive would have no eggs being layed for 5-7 days.

You could also see the efficiency in 4-5 frame nucs made for increase. Using a caged queen will allow you to have a laying queen in your nuc in about 3-5 days. Using grafted cells will allow you to have a laying queen in about 7-15 days or more. but letting a nuc rear it's own queen and lets say they started the same day on a 12 hour old larva, there will be 13 days to when she hatches and then get mated anywhere within the next 2-3 weeks meaning that from the time the nuc was made that it could be 3-5 weeks before you have a mated queen in it.

Allowing nucs to rear their own queens may not be efficient in regards to X amount of days without a laying queen but the percentage of nucs that will take by using this method I have found to be much higher than using purchased queens or cells and that the quality of these queens seem to to be far superior to purchased caged queens or grafted queens.
 
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