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Re: Let's talk about raising queens this summer

Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:47 pm
by Farmhand671
Update I was a bit disappointed with my queen cells.. I used one to make a nuc. I had about 20 to start. On day 10 or 11 i pulled the grafts I didnt count how many capped cells I ended up with. The capped cells were very small, the one I used still had royal jelly in the plastic cup the rest did not. Since I decided not to use the cells i opened them up and inspected them. Some still looked viable some didnt. Not sure what else I can add but Im open to comments. Im going to try again next week. I used a Chinese grafting tool, I purchased 12 and picked thru them to find one that worked the best.

Re: Let's talk about raising queens this summer

Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:55 pm
by Farmhand671
I should have added I also use 3x reading glasses and a headlamp to pull the larva from the cell. I had better luck removing larva this time than I did last try. Im sure it will get better each attempt.

Re: Let's talk about raising queens this summer

Posted: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:52 am
by willywarthog
Well, looks like we're into another year of beekeeping. Hope the world settles down a bit and we can feel free to engage better face to face. We didn't really get anywhere together on queen raising. I grafted and made up about 75 nucs as well as using home grown queens to requeen any hive with older queens and went into winter with about 56 nucs in 3 sizes, the smallest ones are in 5 frame boxes. The next group are in 6 frames and the others are 5 frames over 5 frame double height. As of the first of this year I'm pretty sure I've only lost 3 or 4.

Ok, the good and the bad. It's easy (good) to make queens. Probably grew a hundred or more. It's almost as easy to make a beginning to grow nuclear hive. Again, good. And, it's very easy to give a colony a new queen. Making lost queens after a varroa treatment a small problem rather than a panic to find a late summer place that can still ship in a queen.

But, it's harder to grow nuclear hives strong enough to hopefully winter (bad). The nucs get made up with brood frames taken from full size colonies. Translation, 50,000 bees with a 1% varroa load, most in the brood, becomes 500 varroa on the nurses and brood used for nucs. Give the nuc 2-3 frames of brood with bees to give the new queen a good start and you now have around 150 varroa on 1500 bees.

All the brood hatches out and the queen begins laying and the first few brood cells get jammed with as many varroa as can make it in. 1% infestation went to 10% and then higher and the nuc dwindled or dies or absconds.

So number one bad, have to treat this brand new, fragile, hive for varroa. And with a treatment that definitely works. And doesn't kill your new queen. And you can't do any kind of testing. Imagine taking half a cup of bees for testing when you only have a cup or so of bees. Can't do it.

Second bad. You don't have enough bees to gather nectar and pollen so you need to feed syrup. Hey, not a problem. Except it's now August, major honey flow is over, and Minnesota is in a drought. Guess where the large colonies go to find nectar? Yep, right in that fragile nuclear colony that smells like sugar water. Robbing begins and definitely weeds out the small nucs.

But, was it fun? Yes. Is it worth it? We will see. I expect to have around 30-40 extra nucs this spring that I can sell at a premium.

Over wintered, local survivers. Fought off varroa, robbers, small size to keep warm in our Minnesota winter, and makes it through to Spring like a true Minnesotan.

Go bees. Make local queens.
Billy Head in Pine City