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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just had a bunch hatch out. Some were short and almost looked like workers. Some were huge w/ long abdomens. Some of the queen cells were tiny, some were huge. Some here balled up while caged while others were left alone.

Do any of these variables help predict which will be a good queen in the future?
 

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Are you grafting, or what caused the cells to be started?

Larger size of the cell and of a queen is generally accepted as positive signs. So called "caste queens" are on a sliding scale of nearly as large as a fully endowed queen, down to very little larger than a worker. Their ovariole development is also on a similar scale. A queen raised in best of conditions will have a potentially longer period of fertility due to more sperm stored and a quicker laying rate due to larger number of functioning ovarioles than one compromised by raised from, say, a four day old larvae. I think up to 5 days from the egg will give a somewhat functional queen. A cell's size can be deceptive when raised on older hard comb as the bees dont chew down the walls as much and a considerable portion of the functional cell is concealed inside the old comb and less appears in the visible vertical portion.

Many things could influence queen size. If grafted, the person has influence on age of larvae and setting the conditions for max availability of stores, density of nurse bees bees and overall population. Emergency cell creation forces the situation and COULD result in less than optimum selection. If conditions are marginal there may not be as much or any culling of cells by the bees. The queen from the oldest larvae is the one first emerged and the one to take the throne.

What is your guess about a larger queen giving off more pheremones? If the size variation is due to different genetic type the smaller queen could be better for local conditions. Quite a few things that make a definite, short, answer difficult. If they are from a fairly uniform lot of bees I think the smart money would be on the larger most symmetrical cell and the larger of the ensuing queens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
all from queen cells I found during hive inspections. I did splits about 2 weeks ago and found 10+ queens emerging the other day from one of them. some were huge, some were tiny. some were popular, some were left alone.
https://www.beesource.com/forums/sh...kyard-beek-trying-to-raise-splits-swarm-cells

Are you grafting, or what caused the cells to be started?

Larger size of the cell and of a queen is generally accepted as positive signs. So called "caste queens" are on a sliding scale of nearly as large as a fully endowed queen, down to very little larger than a worker. Their ovariole development is also on a similar scale. A queen raised in best of conditions will have a potentially longer period of fertility due to more sperm stored and a quicker laying rate due to larger number of functioning ovarioles than one compromised by raised from, say, a four day old larvae. I think up to 5 days from the egg will give a somewhat functional queen. A cell's size can be deceptive when raised on older hard comb as the bees dont chew down the walls as much and a considerable portion of the functional cell is concealed inside the old comb and less appears in the visible vertical portion.

Many things could influence queen size. If grafted, the person has influence on age of larvae and setting the conditions for max availability of stores, density of nurse bees bees and overall population. Emergency cell creation forces the situation and COULD result in less than optimum selection. If conditions are marginal there may not be as much or any culling of cells by the bees. The queen from the oldest larvae is the one first emerged and the one to take the throne.

What is your guess about a larger queen giving off more pheremones? If the size variation is due to different genetic type the smaller queen could be better for local conditions. Quite a few things that make a definite, short, answer difficult. If they are from a fairly uniform lot of bees I think the smart money would be on the larger most symmetrical cell and the larger of the ensuing queens.
 

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all from queen cells I found during hive inspections. I did splits about 2 weeks ago and found 10+ queens emerging the other day from one of them. some were huge, some were tiny. some were popular, some were left alone.
https://www.beesource.com/forums/sh...kyard-beek-trying-to-raise-splits-swarm-cells
Sounds like they were walk away splits so emergency cells on existing larva. Depending on comb condition some of the eggs would have been in old or new, deep or shallow cells so there could be a different appearance and cell size. The bees likely would not have chosen really old cells. If I had to make a choice I would favor the ones the bees are paying more attention to. A recent link suggests that workers can detect a queen that has only mated with a few drones rather than many and will shun that one given a choice: pretty discerning! I would pay attention to their preferences.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Frank, your advice is right inline with my thinking. Huge variation in quality with a walk away split. Common practice is to cull the first cell capped since it was the oldest larva and let the rest develop normally. In a split I did two weeks ago, the bees did that for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sounds like they were walk away splits so emergency cells on existing larva. Depending on comb condition some of the eggs would have been in old or new, deep or shallow cells so there could be a different appearance and cell size. The bees likely would not have chosen really old cells. If I had to make a choice I would favor the ones the bees are paying more attention to. A recent link suggests that workers can detect a queen that has only mated with a few drones rather than many and will shun that one given a choice: pretty discerning! I would pay attention to their preferences.
No, not walk-away splits. I had 5 marked queen hives. One swarmed away so I decided to open all and inspect. Found 4 of the marked queens. Split them over to separate boxes. Inside all 5 original hives were capped queen cells, at least 4 in each hive, some had dozens. I split them all into as many boxes as I could manage, creating 9 separate queenless boxes, each with multiple capped queen cells.

2 days ago I looked inside one box and found 12 different fresh queens. I caged and marked as many as I could. several died. Today I opened up all the remaining queenless splits and found at least 5 more queens across all of them and several still capped queen cells.

It was weird though. some of the boxes I could not find the queen for the life of me. they had hatched queen cells and I pulled every single frame and shook bees into a large plastic tote, pulled boxes, recombined, etc. at least 3 of the splits I could not find any queen. anyway, I have now recombined everything and consolidated.

I now have 12 marked virgin queens and 2 remaining queens from last year. (sold one hive last week w/ a legacy queen and pinched another today that just wasn't laying).
IMG_20200407_194742_2.jpg
 

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Maybe the missing queens were out mating or failed to return. That is a high percentage of swarming. Were you deliberately allowing it as a way of getting cells for splits. Gets rather confusing eh?
 
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