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Author Topic: Is it too early to move queen cells to mating nucs?  (Read 2487 times)

Offline enchplant

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Is it too early to move queen cells to mating nucs?
« on: April 13, 2011, 07:09:44 AM »
Hi folks,
I have been trying my hand at grafting and raising some queens. This was my second batch. I tried finding the smallest larvae that were only slightly larger than the unhatched egg. I grafted on Monday. Say this is day 4. By friday  (Day 8 ) the cells had been built out and capped. I was concerned that the first queen out would kill the others so I checked on Monday again (day 11) and noticed the end of one cell had been opened.
I am not sure the queen that had been inside had actually hatched but I was worried I would loose the lot (16 out of 32 had been capped) so I went ahead and put the 12 best into 6 mating nucs (2 cells in each). This was the most bees I could spare to make mating nucs.
My question is was this too early to move them to mating nucs? They say to move them in on day 14. What is the disadvantage of moving them this early? I opened up one cell and the baby queen was still small and white.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Is it too early to move queen cells to mating nucs?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2011, 05:47:20 AM »
Earlier they may get chilled in a small mating nuc and they are very fragile and may get damaged in the transfer.  14 is best.
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Offline BjornBee

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Re: Is it too early to move queen cells to mating nucs?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2011, 06:48:16 AM »
If the timing of your days was correct, the opened cell could not of been a fully developed queen. Probably a bad queen cell that the bees were removing. You can lose a cell every now and then throughout the entire process and the bees will rip the cells back down.

I usually start taking mine out by on day 13. That way if bad weather or other situations come up, I still have an extra day to place cells in mating nucs. If I wait till day 14, then need to finish up the next day (Day 15), you run the rick of an early queen,...and of course dead queen cells.

Queen (larvae and pupil stage) should never be handles or move prior to day 12. Up to day eleven, the queen is still in contact with the royal jelly plug. If she loses contact she will starve or be damaged After day 11, she is no longer in contact and has everything she needs to finish developing. As long as she is not chilled (as MB stated), or bumped to hard (wings are the last to fully mature) she can be moved and placed in mating nucs. But the closer you get to day 14 the better your odds of not having something go wrong.
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Offline enchplant

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Re: Is it too early to move queen cells to mating nucs?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2011, 09:15:49 PM »
Thanks so much Michael and Bjorn B. I think you are right there is no way it could have been a developed queen - the other larval queens bees were still small and white . Another problem I now have faced by my impatience is that the mating nucs I had set up have had to wait a long time for something to happen with these queen cells and are now getting fed up. I had populated the  mating nucs with mostly workers from a trap out. I didn't have many frames of larvae and nurse bees to spare. They had plenty of stores and I have fed them well but they are restless because they have no queen and no larvae except the queen cells. Apparently they don't treat her like a true queen until she has mated , she doesn't seem to give off the same pheromones. Anyhow I will wait and see..Imagine me waiting..!