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Author Topic: For those raising queens this year  (Read 7119 times)
sawdstmakr
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« on: February 07, 2014, 11:22:40 AM »

This is for everyone that is raising queen bees this year.
What method are you going to use and why that method? I am looking for the pros and cons of the different methods.
One of my concerns is having bad weather on those critical days when you have to get into the hive. What do you do in this case? We are planning to start on February 22 and need as much info as possible.
The why can be as simple as "that is the way I always do it".
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capt44
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 08:12:26 PM »

I will be using part of the Nicot system meaning that I will graft into the Nicot cell cups and using the hair roller cages when they cap the cells off.
It will consist of a cell cup holder mount, cell cup holder, cell cup and then the hair roller cage.
I'm using that setup for everthing matches.
I will then place the cell bars with the capped queen cells into an incubator I built and let them emerge into the cages.
The incubator will be set at 92 degrees F at 60 - 80% humidity.
Or if I have Nucs ready I will place the queen cells in the nucs, depending on the weather.
I have built a candling tube on my incubator.
That way I can candle the queen cell and see the size of the queen in the cell.
Last year it came a cold snap after the queen cells were capped and they died.
The bees clustered up away from the cell bars.
Around the 1st part of May it came another cold snap setting me back again.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 09:04:18 PM »

Capt,
I also have the Nicot system that I tried last year. With a full time job,  it did not work out. That is why I am asking these questions. 
I am thinking about using the queen cups and cages from the nicat with grafting the larvae.
I also had problems last year losing queens in the splits that I made. About half of them ended up queen less because the queen cells ended up out side of the bee cluster and died. I had to add a brood frame to get them to create new queens.
Thanks for the reply.
Jim
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tefer2
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 08:35:18 AM »

Jim, dry grafting into JZBZ cups then into nursery frames.
We just have to get them capped and into the incubator for good success here.
Mating birds are my biggest problem in the spring.  Jerry
It sometimes goes as low as only 50-60% cause of them.
I fooled around and tried each method when starting out to learn.
Wish I would have just went to grafting from the get-go.
It only takes practice to become proficient and grafting saves us time.

Best advice I can give is to purchase a lighted magnifier to help your vision.
http://www.menards.com/main/lighting-fans/indoor-lights/lamps/apollo-1-light-52-375-black-magnifier-table-lamp/p-2050229-c-6356.htm
It's all about seeing the correct size larvae and moving them carefully.
Terry

 
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 06:45:00 PM by tefer2 » Logged
capt44
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 11:58:08 PM »

To make sure I get the larva at the right age I built a Timing Box.
I bought the plans from Fat Bee man.
The box (Deep 10 frame) has 2 partitions being queen excluders making 3 compartments.
the 2 outside compartments are 3 frames and the center one has 4 frames.
I go into the center compartment and get a frame of eggs and move it to the outside compartment and move an empty frame to take it's place in the center.
The nurse bees and workers can cross thru the queen excluders and have excess to the outside, but the queen is in the center with no way out.
The nurse bees can tend the larva when they hatch and still take care of the queen and larva in the center.
When I check the frame on the outside and see larva I know exactly how old it is.
I like larva from 1 -3 days old no more.
I remove the frame with the young larva and graft them into plastic or wax cells.
You can have literally thousands or larva and know the exact age of them.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2014, 08:53:04 PM »

I put royal jelly in my cell cups and graft the larva into the cell cups using the German grafting tool.
I can float the larva off the tool a lot easier by priming the cell with royal jelly.
I then put the cell bar into the queenless hive to start the cells and give the bees 1-1 syrup.
As soon as those cells are capped I will move the cell bar with the capped cells into the incubator at 92 degrees F with at least 60 to 80% humidity.
I put the hair roller cages on the cell holders to contain the queen when she emerges.
Then it's off to the Queen Castles, Nucs, or Queen Bank.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2014, 04:05:28 AM »

Jim, dry grafting into JZBZ cups then into nursery frames.
We just have to get them capped and into the incubator for good success here.
Mating birds are my biggest problem in the spring.  Jerry
It sometimes goes as low as only 50-60% cause of them.
I fooled around and tried each method when starting out to learn.
Wish I would have just went to grafting from the get-go.
It only takes practice to become proficient and grafting saves us time.

Best advice I can give is to purchase a lighted magnifier to help your vision.
http://www.menards.com/main/lighting-fans/indoor-lights/lamps/apollo-1-light-52-375-black-magnifier-table-lamp/p-2050229-c-6356.htm
It's all about seeing the correct size larvae and moving them carefully.
Terry

 

Thanks Terry,
I have the Nicat cups already mounted on a frame. I do plan to graft into these cups like you do the JZBZ cups..
At my farm, during the summer, I have hundreds of dragon flies that love to fly right out front of my apiary. I suspect that the loss rate there would be very high. I will be doing my queen rearing in town.  I still have a few dragon flys here but only a few. They like to fly right in the flight path area where the bees fly up through the trees. Good thing is that they will not be there until summer.
Last year I had what I thought were swarms and I caught the queens as they came out of the hive and put them in queen catchers in nucs. The bees would not follow her in to the nucs. After the second time this happened, I realized the bees were looking like a swarm to over whelm the predators to give her a better chance of not beeing caught on her maiden flight.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2014, 04:21:03 AM by sawdstmakr » Logged

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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2014, 04:20:18 AM »

I put royal jelly in my cell cups and graft the larva into the cell cups using the German grafting tool.
I can float the larva off the tool a lot easier by priming the cell with royal jelly.
I then put the cell bar into the queenless hive to start the cells and give the bees 1-1 syrup.
As soon as those cells are capped I will move the cell bar with the capped cells into the incubator at 92 degrees F with at least 60 to 80% humidity.
I put the hair roller cages on the cell holders to contain the queen when she emerges.
Then it's off to the Queen Castles, Nucs, or Queen Bank.

Thanks Capt,
I plan on using royal jelly. I emailed Roxanne, in S FL to order it and then called her. She said she would call back and never did. Need to call her today.
Not yet sure, but I will probably also use this same method. Last year I tested using our egg incubator. I had a frame full of queen cells that i cut each one out and put in curlers in the incubator. I think I had the temp higher than 92. Most of them hatched but they would die within 24 hours. The only one that survived was one of the last ones to hatch. I made a nuc and put it right into it the day it hatched.
Jim
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tefer2
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2014, 08:35:48 AM »

I've pretty much tried everything from royal jelly to yogurt to make our process work better.
For us, going back to the chinese grafting tool and dry grafting works the best for my operation.
Lucky for me, my buddy over at Dadants let's me sort through handfuls to find the most flexible tips to buy from them.
I hold them straight up and down and push it down onto a hard surface.
I'm looking for the ones that flex the easiest without much effort.
You can make them thinner by using emery cloth to sand them down some.

I also started out using the brown plastic holders with the hair roller cages.
They become expensive when needing a bunch of them.
JZBZ is the way to go with the new plasitic cell bar holder. th_thumbsupup
 

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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2014, 03:10:20 AM »

Thanks Terry,
I have over a hundred of the brown cups to use for now but when they are gone I will try the jzbz'a.
Jim
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capt44
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2014, 10:13:25 PM »

I understand the price on the Nicot parts.
I have 150 each the brown plastic mount, cell cup holder, 200 hair roller cages with candy caps.
I have 5,000 of the brown or amber cell cups so I'll be using them a lot for awhile.
I have about a hundred JZBZ cups but haven't tried them yet.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2014, 10:21:24 AM »

It depends on the time I have to devote to it.  If I'm still working full time, I will probably do what I usually do, which is make a strong hive queenless and graft the next day.  10 days after that break that hive up into mating nucs with those cells.  That's the first batch.  I may do the same for the second.  The third batch, I have mating nucs, so then I leave a cell for the queenless hive (instead of breaking it up for mating nucs) and put the cells in the mating nucs I have (after catching the queens the day before, of course).

If I quit my job and raise queens full time (probably can't afford to) then I will probably do Marla Spivaks method, which is pretty much a combination of Queen Rearing Simplified (Jay Smith Method) and age grading the colony using queen excluders and juggling the boxes. 

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearingsimplified.htm

Basically once a week you put the honey in the bottom (so you don't have to lift it) a box of empty drawn comb with the queen in the next box, an excluder, a box with all the open brood, an excluder and a box with all the capped brood.  By the next week the top box is empty comb (it emerged) the middle box is all capped and the box the queen is in is all open brood.  So you catch the queen, put her in the box of empty comb above the honey, an excluder, the open brood and finally the capped brood.  After three weeks you have very age graded boxes and after the first week you are only juggling boxes and the queen.  This makes it easy to get nurse bees for the swarm box (they are in the box of open brood) and you have a strong hive for a finisher (the queen never runs out of a place to lay).  Preferably I'd have at least two of those age graded hives going and make swarm boxes for starters and put the cells in the box with the open brood for finishers.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm
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Michael Bush
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capt44
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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2014, 09:50:23 PM »

Sawstmakr I put a ventilation hole about 2 inches off the floor on each side of the incubator ( 1inch hole)
I then put a ventilation hole in the top at the back of the box.
I put mason jar lids on the holes so I can adjust the size of the opening.
They said with the heater going you need ventilation for the heater will deplete the hive of oxygen.
I have my thermostat set at 92 degrees F. and keep the humidity between 60 and 80%.
They said for chicks you need ventilation so I figure bees are the same.
No oxygen, no live.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2014, 06:27:46 AM »

It depends on the time I have to devote to it.  If I'm still working full time, I will probably do what I usually do, which is make a strong hive queenless and graft the next day.  10 days after that break that hive up into mating nucs with those cells.  That's the first batch.  I may do the same for the second.  The third batch, I have mating nucs, so then I leave a cell for the queenless hive (instead of breaking it up for mating nucs) and put the cells in the mating nucs I have (after catching the queens the day before, of course).

If I quit my job and raise queens full time (probably can't afford to) then I will probably do Marla Spivaks method, which is pretty much a combination of Queen Rearing Simplified (Jay Smith Method) and age grading the colony using queen excluders and juggling the boxes. 

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearingsimplified.htm

Basically once a week you put the honey in the bottom (so you don't have to lift it) a box of empty drawn comb with the queen in the next box, an excluder, a box with all the open brood, an excluder and a box with all the capped brood.  By the next week the top box is empty comb (it emerged) the middle box is all capped and the box the queen is in is all open brood.  So you catch the queen, put her in the box of empty comb above the honey, an excluder, the open brood and finally the capped brood.  After three weeks you have very age graded boxes and after the first week you are only juggling boxes and the queen.  This makes it easy to get nurse bees for the swarm box (they are in the box of open brood) and you have a strong hive for a finisher (the queen never runs out of a place to lay).  Preferably I'd have at least two of those age graded hives going and make swarm boxes for starters and put the cells in the box with the open brood for finishers.

http://www.bushfarms.com/bees queenrearing.htm


Mike,
Since I am working full time, I like the first choice. Will making a small nuc with the old queen to make the hive queen less be OK? That way I keep the queen that I like for future grafting.
Jim
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2014, 06:33:18 AM »

Sawstmakr I put a ventilation hole about 2 inches off the floor on each side of the incubator ( 1inch hole)
I then put a ventilation hole in the top at the back of the box.
I put mason jar lids on the holes so I can adjust the size of the opening.
They said with the heater going you need ventilation for the heater will deplete the hive of oxygen.
I have my thermostat set at 92 degrees F. and keep the humidity between 60 and 80%.
They said for chicks you need ventilation so I figure bees are the same.
No oxygen, no live.
Capt,
Sounds about right. My incubator has the holes and a fan. You keep water in the bottom. I am thinking of building an extra ring to add to it so that I can put a full frame of queen cell in it standing up.

Jim
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Dave360
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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2014, 11:28:36 PM »

Iwil be using cloake board and dry grafting from two hives I like mainly becouse they have lived over thre years no treatments And have produced honey use same hive as starter finisher just lots of bees a division board feeder and a part of polen paaty when I put in cells
going to try incubator with old fridge I have with 2 light bulbs and a hot water heater thermostat and pan of water so no high tech last fall put some cells in all emerged put I didnt have homes for them so let them expire
I have frames that take jb caps and hair curler cages to let emerge
just set up cloake hive today hope to graft first batch tomorow have jb cups on bars in hive sprayed with sugar water for bes to clean over. night

good luck to all this queen rearing season

David
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2014, 06:55:05 AM »

>Will making a small nuc with the old queen to make the hive queen less be OK? That way I keep the queen that I like for future grafting.

That's what I always do.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2014, 11:25:10 AM »

Thanks Dave.
Just an update:
My first 2 grafts all failed. My third attempt has 3 queen cells. This afternoon,I plan on going in it and putting on the curlers to make sure their looks pretty when they hatch.  Smiley
Jim
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