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Author Topic: Starting cells in queenright colony  (Read 2104 times)
David LaFerney
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« on: April 05, 2010, 08:52:50 PM »

I was reading Doolittle's Scientific Queen Rearing when I came across this:

"above the queen-excluding honey-board; and if it would, I would be a step farther in advance than I had ever been before; for in it I saw something of great value to the bee-keeping fraternity in the future.

A frame of queen-cups were now prepared as before, and to make sure of success, if such a thing were possible, I raisedd two frames of brood (mostly in the larval form) above, so as to get as large a force of nurse-bees about the prepared cells as possible, to properly feed the queen-larvae. The prepared frame was placed between the two having brood in them. In two days I examined this frame, and found that my conclusions were right, for every cup had grown to a half-built queen-cell, while the little larvae were floating in a quantity of royal jelly, that more than half filled the cell. These were finished in due time, and from them hatched Queens which were every whit as good as any I had ever seen. "


IE - Brood placed above a queen excluder (with the queen below of course) will be reared as queens - like supercedure queens. 

Of course all the usual caveats about lots of bees, strong hive, availability of food, etc apply.  But is it really that simple?  Doolittle claims that this is how he got his best results - without making a hive queenless, and without sacrificing the honey crop. 

Anybody out there tried this?  Any tips?  I moved a frame of new white brood comb that is full of eggs and young brood above an excluder yesterday afternoon as an experiment.  It will be pretty cool if that really works.
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2010, 10:31:13 PM »

Read it again! He says "above the queen excluding honey board." I take this to mean he was probably using a system similar to the Cloake board method in which a solid divider is placed between the queenright box and the upper cell starter box to fool the upper bees into thinking they're queenless. I could be wrong but I don't think an excluder will accomplish this.  grin
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2010, 10:40:48 PM »

Read it again! He says "above the queen excluding honey board." I take this to mean he was probably using a system similar to the Cloake board method in which a solid divider is placed between the queenright box and the upper cell starter box to fool the upper bees into thinking they're queenless. I could be wrong but I don't think an excluder will accomplish this.  grin

I don't think so.  That's just an exerpt.  He describes it as a zinc sheet with holes punched in it sized to prevent the queen from laying in the comb honey that he was producing - there's a picture in the text.  He says that the reason the nurse bees cultivate the larva to be queens is that since the queen can't get to it to lay more eggs they react in the same way that they would if she were failing by raising a new queen to supersede her.  I could be wrong of course - that's how come me to ask.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 08:42:01 PM »

David

So are you saying that you first start the queen rearing process in a nuc and then move the frame over above the excluder after the nurse bees begin drawing our the cells?   or could that be done?  I have a walkaway split where the workers found a crack and drifted back to the home hive leaving mostly nurse bees.  I thought about putting the frames back into the top of the home hive but wondered if the larva would be killed?
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Cascadebee
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2010, 12:24:13 PM »

So are you saying that you first start the queen rearing process in a nuc and then move the frame over above the excluder after the nurse bees begin drawing our the cells?

A nuc of nurse bees shaken from frames, then into a queenright colony with excluder for finishing.  This is the Queen Rearing Essentials (L.J. Connor) method.  It borrows from Doolittle and others.
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Grandpa Jim
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2010, 11:29:46 PM »

I am sure I was directed to this site from another post, but this looks like the method you are talking about.  Check it out.  I just built a hive body with a built in excluder and just the center 4 frames accessable to the bees.  Instead of the dummies I blocked that part off completely.  I am going to give it a try this month.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/benhardenmethod.html

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2010, 07:09:46 AM »

Keep in mind that a few years later Doolittle added the following appendix to the book:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesdoolittle.htm#APPENDIX

"Since writing the preceding Chapters, I have been experimenting further along the ideas contained in Chapter XIII, as I found that owing to the conditions under which I had tested the thoughts and experiments therein contained, there was a possibility of a failure along that line, when the plans were used under other conditions than those which existed during the times when I had formerly used them. In previous years, owing to my selling nearly all my stronger colonies of bees to fill the many orders which I had for the same, I had no colonies of suitable strength to tier up early in the season, so that the plans then tried were used only after the basswood had blossomed, and later, in having queens fertilized over a queen-excluding honey board. During the present year (1889) having more strong colonies than usual, owing to fewer sales, and the bees wintering better, I tiered up several hives early in the season, and very much to my surprise, found that that which had previously worked to perfection, was a failure, as far as the fertilizing of the queens from these upper stores was concerned. The cells were allowed to hatch just the same as before, but when the queens came to the age of two or three days, the workers began to worry and tease them which resulted in their being killed sooner or later, while in one or two instances the result was a general row "upstairs," in which many bees were killed besides the queen. At this time the bees were only living from "hand to mouth," as it were, for the forepart of our season was the poorest I ever knew.

"When the Basswood begin to yield honey, I again began to have the same success which I formerly had, either owing to the peculiarity of this locality, which brought about former conditions, or to some additions which I made to the hive, or perhaps to both. When I saw that what I supposed was the same plan that I had formerly used was failing, I began to study into the matter to see if I could not find a remedy, and about the first thing which appeared was that I did not have the hive fixed as I had previously, although I now had it arranged the same as I gave in Chapter XIII in this respect.

"Some may think that it would be strange for such a thing to occur, and perhaps it was, yet it was one of the most natural things in the world, as you will soon see. As all of the older readers of the bee-papers are aware, when I commenced using the Gallup hive, I used it the same as Gallup recommended, using twelve frames in the hive. As the years passed by, I believed that twelve frames were too many for the brood-apartment, so I made dummies or division-boards to take the place of one or more frames, according to the time of the season, or as I wished to contract or expand the hive, my custom being to expand the hive during the forepart of the season, and contract it the latter part, or contract at the beginning of basswood bloom.

"After a little thought along the line of what had caused the failure this season, when no failure had occurred before, it began to dawn upon me that in my former experiments I had contracted the lower hive down to eight frames, so as not to rear a large number of bees during the basswood bloom, to become consumers of the honey later on, as we have no fall flow of honey here; and in this contraction might be found a solution of the problem, for I now had both stories of the hive filled with combs, as it was the forepart of the season, the lower hive being now filled so as to rear workers for the harvest. In this latter case the brood came directly under that part of the queen-excluder running under the apartment petitioned off with the perforated-zinc division-board, so that when the young queen ran down on the zinc, she and the old queen could get their heads together and try to kill one another, which resulted in the bees worrying the young queen when she was old enough to be recognized as a queen, the same as bees always try to worry virgin queens in the queen-nursery after they are two or more days old, as they always do when such nursery is hung in a hive having a laying queen.

"When younger than this, the bees do not seem to notice them in either place, nor does the young queen try to get below. Without intending it, I had so partitioned off the upper story in my previous experiments that the apartments the queens were in at each side of the hive came directly over the dummies, so that there was no temptation for the old queen to come out in the bee-space over and between the dummy and the queen-excluder gave the worker-bees free access up through the bottom of the apartment, as well as through the zinc division-board in the upper story.

"When writing Chapter XII, I had not the remotest idea that these dummies played such an important part in the matter, nor am I now fully certain that they will make the plan a success always in all localities and at all times of the year, but I believe that they have much to do with the plan working so successfully in this locality; for nothing could work more perfectly than it has with me since the dummies were put in the lower story when fixing the hives for the basswood bloom.

"Right here I would say what I forgot to say in the body of the book, which is that I tack the queen-excluder, used between the upper and lower stories, to the bottom of the upper hive, tacking it on lightly with small wire-nails. This makes it so that when I wish to get to the lower hive for any manipulation of the same, all I have to do is lift off the upper story, the same as would be done were there no queens above, or any queen-excluder used. In this way there is no more danger to the young queens when the hive is off, than there is at any other time.

"After finding what I believed to be a solution of former trouble, and knowing that all would not want to use dummies under these queen-rearing apartments, I began to experiment to see how the matter in regard to the young queens going down on the perforated metal, so as to cause trouble, might be obviated, and arrived at the following:

"My queen-excluding honey-board is what is called the "wood-and-zinc" board, having a full bee-space on the upper side of it. On this upper side I tacked a string of wire-cloth of the right width to come out to the queen excluding division-board, tacking it on each edge of the wood which formed the bee-space, thus giving a bee-space between the honey-board below, and the wire-cloth, which entirely prevented the virgin queen from getting to that part of the queen-excluder immediately under her apartment, yet at the same time allowing the warm air from below to come up into the apartment, the same as it would were the wire-cloth not there.

"With this I have been equally successful in having queens mated from these apartments, the same as I was where the dummies were used, and I believe the same will overcome nearly all of the difficulty which I experienced during the forepart of the season, although I cannot say positively at this date, as I have not had the chance to try it, except during the basswood bloom, and later. If it should not, my next plan would be to make the division, which forms the queen apartment, or wire-cloth, except say three or four rows of perforated metal at the top, so that all bees entering this apartment would be quite a distance from the reigning queen below, when entering this apartment, which I think would make the plan successful in localities where all else failed.

"Now, as there seems to be a chance that a failure may possibly result in some localities, and at some seasons of the year, I would advice all to try only one or two colonies at first, to see if the plan will work in their locality; so that, should it not work, they will be but little labor and time out, in trying the experiment.

"I still believe that there is a great future before us, along this plan of having queens fertilized from an upper story and as I have intimated in other parts of this work, it is my desire that the plan which I have here given may be so improved upon that there shall not be a doubt about this matter, and we as bee-keepers be led out to a wider plain than any heretofore enjoyed.

"Already some are branching out along different lines, notably among which Dr. Tinker with his "Queen Rearing Chamber." There is little doubt but what his plan will work, but that "Chamber" seems to be more suitable to the large queen-breeder than to the rank-and-file of beekeepers; while my design was to bring out a plan that would be of benefit to all, from the person having but two colonies up to one who numbered his colonies by the thousand.

"Some seem to feel (or act as if they so felt) that I was trying to crowd my plans upon them for some irritation has been shown by a few, since this work was published; but such is not the case. All are free to use, or refuse, these plans which I have outlined as they please. No, dear reader, I have not the least desire to crowd anything upon you. All I have done has been done with the hope that I might be of benefit to the world--benefiting some one by smoothing over the rough places a little, the same as some of the writers of the past smoothed the way before my tender feet, when they were still youthful in the pursuit of apiculture.

"As I have freely received of the good things in the bee-literature of the past, so I as freely give of the little I know, that I may, in a measure, pay the large debt I owe to those who have preceded me in the way of our delightful pursuit. "

--G.M. Doolittle, Borodino, N.Y., October 1, 1889

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 07:58:12 AM »

Anybody out there tried this?  Any tips?  I moved a frame of new white brood comb that is full of eggs and young brood above an excluder yesterday afternoon as an experiment.  It will be pretty cool if that really works.

Never did it intentionally to raise queens,  but I have had on a number of occasions open brood end up above a queen excluder and queens where raised.  These where mainly large hives (3 deeps below excluder) and obviously an entrance above the excluder as well.
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bugleman
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2010, 09:30:19 AM »

Anybody out there tried this?  Any tips?  I moved a frame of new white brood comb that is full of eggs and young brood above an excluder yesterday afternoon as an experiment.  It will be pretty cool if that really works.

Never did it intentionally to raise queens,  but I have had on a number of occasions open brood end up above a queen excluder and queens where raised.  These where mainly large hives (3 deeps below excluder) and obviously an entrance above the excluder as well.

AH yes!

THat is how I got a queen above the excluder and she then killed my breeder queen.  Must not make assumptions when pulling brood frames shaken above an excluder.
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