Author Topic: Queen Rearing  (Read 814 times)

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Offline Blair Sampson

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Queen Rearing
« on: June 06, 2018, 11:16:28 am »
Just started looking into queen rearing. Lots of good info but can't find why using a starter & finisher box is best. What's the purpose of the finisher? Would the bees not finish the cells if left in the starter box?

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2018, 02:11:08 pm »
I don't have a lot of experience so I am jumping in to hear other more experienced voices. My understanding of the starter box is it is kept hopelessly queenless with lots of well-fed nurse bees. The finisher can be a box over a queenright hive with an excluder. Using this system one can produce a lot of queens during the queenrearing season.
 Pretty sure if you only wanted a dozen or less queens one could leave them in the starter until they are ready to be placed in the mating nuc. At least that is how I have done it. :)
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Offline apisbees

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2018, 03:47:15 pm »
Yes But the starter is queenless so bees have to be added to keep it with young bees that are needed to raise queen cells. moving the cells into a finisher, more cells can be added. it is a queen right colony so it self maintains its population and has lots of bees the wright age.
Here is a thread with a video link to using a single hive as a starter donor and finisher.
https://worldwidebeekeeping.com/forum/index.php?topic=537.msg6176#msg6176
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Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2018, 06:14:38 pm »
Just saw this and thought I'd offer my 2 cents (wind is bowing the wrong direction for me to be in my deer blind!).  There are many different ways (and opinions  :)) to produce cells for queen production.  I have a very good friend that produces 60-80,000 cells each spring and he has a very simple method that works well.  He selects his breeder colonies from double deep hives.  He places a double screen between the two boxes and makes sure the queen is in the bottom box.  The double screen only has to be thick enough to keep bees from orally passing queen substance from the bottom box to the top box.  Consequently, the bees in the top box think they have no queen and they are highly motivated to produce a replacement queen; he uses that box to for producing cells from start to finish.  The bottom box is used to harvest young larvae for grafting.  Moving comb up with older and capped brood keeps the nurse bee numbers high in the top box and moving empty (of young brood) combs from the top to the bottom box provides new places for the queen to lay and keep the supply of young larvae for grafting high to sustain cell production.  In practice, combs used to graft queens are returned to the top box after all "graftable" larvae have been removed and the empty combs they displace are moved to the bottom box for the queen to lay more eggs.  The top box has to be checked for cells produced from recycled comb but that's fairly easy since they are placed in the center of the top box in a "known" position so it isn't necessary to check all the frames of comb for cells.  Since I've retired from keeping too many bees  :laugh: :laugh:, this is a method I plan to use.  Another beauty of the technique is that the 2 boxes can be reunited at anytime; no need to go the newspaper route etc.  Both boxes smell the same because they are the same hive, just separated vertically.  Raise the queens you need, take the screen out and it's business as usual.
Chip

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2018, 09:55:05 pm »
Thanks Chip,

Good info! :)
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2018, 06:37:56 am »
Just saw this and thought I'd offer my 2 cents (wind is bowing the wrong direction for me to be in my deer blind!).  There are many different ways (and opinions  :)) to produce cells for queen production.  I have a very good friend that produces 60-80,000 cells each spring and he has a very simple method that works well.  He selects his breeder colonies from double deep hives.  He places a double screen between the two boxes and makes sure the queen is in the bottom box.  The double screen only has to be thick enough to keep bees from orally passing queen substance from the bottom box to the top box.  Consequently, the bees in the top box think they have no queen and they are highly motivated to produce a replacement queen; he uses that box to for producing cells from start to finish.  The bottom box is used to harvest young larvae for grafting.  Moving comb up with older and capped brood keeps the nurse bee numbers high in the top box and moving empty (of young brood) combs from the top to the bottom box provides new places for the queen to lay and keep the supply of young larvae for grafting high to sustain cell production.  In practice, combs used to graft queens are returned to the top box after all "graftable" larvae have been removed and the empty combs they displace are moved to the bottom box for the queen to lay more eggs.  The top box has to be checked for cells produced from recycled comb but that's fairly easy since they are placed in the center of the top box in a "known" position so it isn't necessary to check all the frames of comb for cells.  Since I've retired from keeping too many bees  :laugh: :laugh:, this is a method I plan to use.  Another beauty of the technique is that the 2 boxes can be reunited at anytime; no need to go the newspaper route etc.  Both boxes smell the same because they are the same hive, just separated vertically.  Raise the queens you need, take the screen out and it's business as usual.

Thanks for the detailed method for queen rearing, Chip.
For the inexperienced beekeepers, I would add a top and bottom entrance and doing this method when a good nectar flow is on, which in most areas is spring.

Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2018, 11:27:43 am »
For sure Baker and I'd add when there are enough drones available to breed the virgin queens.  In some of our northern areas there aren't  adequate drone populations in early spring (like in my situation) so my plan is to re-queen in summer just as our main nectar flow starts.  Plenty of drones here by mid to late-June and our nectar flow is usually pretty intense at that time.  I would plan to put a cell in every top box of the hives I want to re-queen.  When I add the first supers (usually put 2 on at first), I'll check the queen in the top box.  If I like her, I'll pinch the queen in the bottom box and remove the screen before I put the supers on.  I'll do the converse if I don't like the queen and mark the hive to re-queen by nuc at a later date.  I make spare nucs to use in situations like that and/or when I have a failing queen for some other reason.
Chip

Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2018, 01:08:46 pm »
Question. Chip E.
Is cloake board method not recommended?

Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2018, 01:42:10 pm »
Not at all.  I just wanted to point out that there are many different ways to produce queens.  There isn't a right or a wrong way.  It's more what fits your situation best.  I like the method because it meshes well with my budget and timeline for my bees in ND.  I can replace old queens just before the main nectar flow plus I don't have to work so hard in the spring to get purchased queens into new starter hives.  With the time savings, I can sort through the bees, make enough nucs (with purchased queens) during the nectar flow to keep my hive count where I want and get the bees in their outyards faster so they can build on the spring flow.  Gives me time to select breeder colones and do the manipulations before it's time to start supering.
Chip

Offline tecumseh

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2018, 07:45:57 am »
There are a number of ways to rear queens and the method you use is most about numbers.  as Neillsayer states above starter/finishers is used by lots of commercial queen rear and is the best way to rear lots of cells at one time. You can typically rotate the starter thru two rounds of grafts and then reunite those bees with another hives (normally for me a finisher). < the largest draw back of this method is keeping virgin queens out of the top of the finisher when the cells are approaching being ready to hatch and you have to have lots of bees to stock the starter.  The method Chip refers to (which our mutual friend Bill) uses to rear queens is the Cloake Board method and this will produce a much smaller number of cells per round. As stated the starter is the finisher and you need not knock bees out of very populated hives to constantly start cells < basically you can rotate these over and over again producing a small number of cells per round. < Sue Cobey brought this method to us from her travels chasing bees worldwide and I seem to recall the name is from a beekeeper who she saw use the method in New Zealand. The Cloake board itself can be double screen or something as simple as a plastic feed bag to separate the upper and lower unit.  There is a bit more to this method than Chip describes but basically all that is about flipping the hive entrances (lower and upper) to toss lots of field bees into the upper box prior to grafting. I use the starter/finisher method and on some occasions the starter is the finisher (especially if the weather turns wet and cold).  Typically the starter begins closed up but if it transcends to a finisher is open up after about 3 days < closed up longer than that then you get lots of dead bees in the box and problems with small hive beetles and ants. As at least suggest the starter/finisher is better suited to rearing lots of cells at one time and the Cloake board if you have less need for number of cells or limited bee resources.  I think???? this year we will have Sue C. back down this way when the lab does it annual queen rearing class < one of the real perks of that job is I get to rub elbows with folks who know as much about bees as Sue.       

Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2018, 01:15:29 pm »
Actually a different outfit Gene but Bill does use a similar method.  He may also add bees or extra frames of bees or brood but I don't know that for sure.  We'll meet up in California on the 31st to work a load of bees he and I shipped out for almonds so I can ask.  My plan involves grafting from more hives (proportionately) to try to maximize the genetic diversity in my outyards from select hives; no need to make tons of cells from just a few hives.  At least, that's the plan.  I will use Bill's stock this spring for nucs but I'll keep my best old VSH poline queens and start from there.  The longer I keep bees, the more I appreciate a diverse gene pool.  Marla Spivak told me years ago that the best queens for your operation come from selecting breeders from the hives that do best in your management regime.  I'm anxiously waiting to hear what the NC crew in Greensboro comes up with for a hygienic test.
Chip

Offline Lburou

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2018, 06:29:36 pm »
It is easy to make a queen or two or five.  The methods commercial producers use are tweaked to produce well nourished and well developed queens by the thousands.  Better developed ovaries in your new queen enables her to lay more eggs in a given time period, creating a larger, more capable hive unit than a poorly developed queen. On the small scale, a walk away split will produce a queen but not necessarily the best nourished or best developed queen. 

The better developed and better nourished queen has a better chance of producing a hive booming with bees, ready to gather nectar and make honey.  A better queen means more profit for a commercial beekeeper and more fun for the hobbyist.

THIS ARTICLE will give you an understanding of how a small hobbyist can make well nourished and well developed queens on a small scale, I hope it helps.  :)
Lee_Burough

Offline iddee

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2018, 08:24:22 pm »
The door garden is the one I use, but Chip's is extremely interesting. I may try it this spring.
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2018, 04:34:45 pm »
I totally agree Chip that diversity is a good thing in any apiary and yes what your purpose is and how you manage bees does play a large role in what hives you decide is best. Tell Bill hello from me and Jane and I (and sister) shall be in California to do Christmas with Jane's family.  Then back here just ahead of when you stated you and Bill will be in California.

Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2018, 07:19:47 pm »
We're actually going to be in California a little earlier than normal this year.  Bill's son is going to a wedding in Santa Cruz and we snagged him and his girlfriend to help us with the bees.  I had some neck vertebrae fused and am suppose to lift only 20lbs so the labor was most welcome this year.  Our plan is to go through the bees, manipulate as needed, feed pollen sub and syrup and then vaporize all the bees with OA.  Bill and Wendy will head back to Texas.  Betty and I will drive to Humboldt and visit one of my old major professors (and the one who had the greatest POSITIVE influence on me) for a few days.  He turned 90 in September so we visit when we can.  Then back to the bees to feed a 2nd round of syrup before heading south to visit some national parks before the trek home.  It's my 4th year with the vmvaporizer and the state health inspector didn't find a single mite in my bees in 3 out of 4 years and only a few in one year; I have them but low enough that the inspector didn't find any or just a few.  Bill just bought one and will get it into use soon; typical Bill, he calls it his bazooka!. 
Chip

Offline tecumseh

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2018, 07:24:58 am »
We will be just over the Pacific Mountain range but up near Palo Alto but may travel down to Monterrey just to see the sights and a small red wood forest preserve between Palo Alto and Santa Cruz  < there is a great place to eat at Moss Landing where we always like to stop.  Be safe and tell the Klett gang Jane and I said hello.

So perhaps start a thread and tell us of your adventures with the bazooka.  How often do you use it, cost and that sort of thing.  I use a smaller device on the lab bees.

Offline Lburou

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2018, 02:23:41 pm »
Didn't realize we were both in the Bay area this week Tec, I'm sitting in the San Jose airport waiting for a flight back to Texas. I like road trips. This is my first trip via the airlines since Sep 11th.  Flown on military aircraft, but not civilian.  My, how the world has changed.  I prefer staying home.  :)
Lee_Burough

Offline tecumseh

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Re: Queen Rearing
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2018, 05:07:33 pm »
Lee we will almost pass on the way to and from.  I should be arriving in San Jose tomorrow afternoon with my two older sisters.  I enjoyed traveling when I was young.. kind of had a reputation of being a rolling stone but now like yourself prefer staying close to the house.  Weather was nice enough that I fed a couple of yards.  Some yards have suffered from lack of beekeeper attention... which is attributed to rain, rain, rain.