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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am grafting a few queens and have an ongoing discussion with another beek. I say that larvae that is 1 day old will take the same amount of time to hatch as a larvae that is 2 days old. He maintains that the 2 day old larvae will emerge first and that we need to estimate the age of the oldest grafted larvae in order to determine when the cells need to go into mating nucs. What is the correct protocol? Also I can tell a larvae that is just hatched-it is the same size as an egg but they grow so fast can one really say that a particular larvae is 24 hours older than another if it is maybe 2X larger. In reality a 1 day old larvae is 50X larger than a 5 day old larvae so the growth rate is exponential yes?
Thanks-Howard
 

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Well, I'm new at this but I think I can field your question. If I screw up I'm sure someone will show me the errors of my ways.

Regardless of the timing of the hatch, a two day old larvae shouldn't be selected for grafting because the bees may not accept it, as it is likely to make an inferior queen. You're dealing with developmental schedule that has a little play in it, but if you stretch it too far you'll get a sort-of-queen. The bees know this and will usually select the younger larvae if they are offered both. If it's twice as big as an egg it's too big. Shoot for 1.5X with just a smear of jelly in the cell. The larva are still greyish translucent, not white and just barely starting to curl.

That being said I have heard warnings that you want every larvae about the same age so that they all hatch about the same time. So, I don't think that the start of queen rearing by the nurse bees resets the clock so much as it changes the path. It's also a good Idea to spilt them up into mating nucs a day or two before the blessed event to avoid the bloodbath of an early riser.

Growth must be nearly exponential at least in the early stages. Something
like powers of two per day: 2x 4x 8x 16x 32x then it levels off quite a bit.

-John McNeil
 

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If a 2 day old larva and a 1 day old larva are grafted at the same time the 2 day old larva queen cell will hatch first. Why? It's 1 day older! That's why it is critical on selecting larva that are the same age so you don't end up with an early hatching virgin killing all the other cells.

I don't graft for queen rearing but I have read into it enough to be confident about the correctness of my response.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If the "older" larvae are disposed of due to age then I have to ask why is it that emergency queens cells are not desirable for using in making splits as I have read so many times?
 

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FYI: Eggs hatch and queeens emerge.
There are methods that we use in the queen industry that provide us with a 12 to 16 hour larvae.
Queen Rearing books go into detail and describe the steps used to produce quality queens.
That's my $0.02

Her's a well written document on your question as well as the weigth of the queen upon emergence..
http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/us/grafting.htm
Ernie
 

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>If the "older" larvae are disposed of due to age then I have to ask why is it that emergency queens cells are not desirable for using in making splits as I have read so many times?

I don't know why you've read it so many times...

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm#emergencyqueensquote

"It has been stated by a number of beekeepers who should know better (including myself) that the bees are in such a hurry to rear a queen that they choose larvae too old for best results. later observation has shown the fallacy of this statement and has convinced me that bees do the very best that can be done under existing circumstances.
"The inferior queens caused by using the emergency method is because the bees cannot tear down the tough cells in the old combs lined with cocoons. The result is that the bees fill the worker cells with bee milk floating the larvae out the opening of the cells, then they build a little queen cell pointing downward. The larvae cannot eat the bee milk back in the bottom of the cells with the result that they are not well fed. However, if the colony is strong in bees, are well fed and have new combs, they can rear the best of queens. And please note-- they will never make such a blunder as choosing larvae too old."--Jay Smith, Better Queens

"If it were true, as formerly believed, that queenless bees are in such haste to rear a queen that they will select a larva too old for the purpose, then it would hardly do to wait even nine days. A queen is matured in fifteen days from the time the egg is laid, and is fed throughout her larval lifetime on the same food that is given to a worker-larva during the first three days of its larval existence. So a worker-larva more than three days old, or more than six days from the laying of the egg would be too old for a good queen. If, now, the bees should select a larva more than three days old, the queen would emerge in less than nine days. I think no one has ever known this to occur. Bees do not prefer too old larvae. As a matter of fact bees do not use such poor judgment as to select larvae too old when larvae sufficiently young are present, as I have proven by direct experiment and many observations."--C.C. Miller, Fifty Years Among the Bees
 
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