Friday, September 21, 2012

Trying To Make A Few Queens, Again - VIDEO

We broke out our newish queen rearing system to try our hand again at breeding a few queens.  As a reminder, we first tried our hand at this in June, and for either that we did not make the hive queenless ahead of time, or we were introducing the cell cups too soon into the hive, we were unsuccessful.  We also tried our hand at grafting, and were rewarded with one good cell from which emerges a healthy queen which now leads one of our nucs.  You never forget your first queen...
This time, we took a queen that we ordered from Long Lane Honeybee Farm and and rather than introduce her to a hive, we put her straight from her shipping queen cage into the queen rearing box.

Here is what we determined:
  • The queen will not lay up the entire box on day one, and in fact will take several days to lay it up.  This has two impacts....first that pulling the box on day 4 and transferring the cell cups does not guarantee that hatched eggs are in the cups.  The second impact is that the new larvae will hatch and be ripe for transfer over a number of consecutive days, so removing individual cell cups at the right time becomes important.
  • The bees will not make queens out of eggs.  The larvae have to have hatched to provide a the raw material for a queen.
  • We got about 50% acceptance and success with this system. The system's initial cost is about $80, and additional cups/holders/cages will add up to well over $100.  That said, if I can get at least 20 new queens out of each try, (more than I would ever need) the hardware pays for itself at $30/queen when purchased from a breeder.
We will continue to try our hand at grafting also, although I do not see the benefit given the efficacy of this system.  Perhaps some day we can become a provider of local queens to the market!!

Here is the vid:

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