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View Full Version : July Beekeeping workshop queen rearing and grafting



crackerbee
Jul 19th 2011, 05:23 AM
This month's beekeeping workshop class at U.S.F. Botanical Gardens in Tampa Fl. was the one I've been waiting for,queen rearing and grafting queens.Raising queens has been the most intriguing,confusing,and difficult part for me to understand since I've taken up beekeeping.We met up with another couple from the Sarasota area the Rast had told me might be there(Rast had met them on a camping excursion a few weeks ago,and are also members here on the forum rcihy and his wife.
We started with a lecture from Americas Beekeeper(our instructor and member here on the forum)about the hows and whys of queen rearing,then it was off to the apiary for the hands on training of grafting.

We started out getting our cell starter nucs ready,by taking 4 frames with as much honey and pollen that we could find to make sure the nurse bees had plenty to work with.
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0906.jpg

Next we located frames that contained the right age brood for grafting.

http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0910.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0908.jpg

Then it was off to the grafting tables to try our luck.The first 3 pics are me and Rcihys wife trying our luck at grafting.

http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0892.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0894-Copy-Copy-Copy.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0891.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0893.jpg

Me and Rcihy hard at work.

http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0895-Copy-Copy-Copy.jpg

Next we placed are hopeful cell bars into the starter nucs we made up.

http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0905.jpg

The next day we returned it was time to check our cell bars frames to see if any grafts took.And from what Americas Beekeeper told it looked as if we did ok.The bees were busy working the grafts when we removed the cell bar frame.

http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0899.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0905.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0902.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0901.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0900.jpg

Next we selected a strong cell builder hive that was boiling with bees to start building the queen cells,and placed our cell bar frames into it.

http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0896.jpg

Afterwards Americas Beekeeper showed the class how to do a cut out with several large burr comb that was removed from the cell builder hive.

http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0911.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0916.jpg
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr307/hydrogen2/100_0914.jpg

We all had had a great learning experience all weekend and had loads of fun doing so.I want to thank Americas Beekeeper from taking his free time to give to all of us,to teach us how to graft and raise our own queens.He told us we can come back around July 27th to transfer our handiwork into mating nucs.I'll post another thread on that if I don't have to work that day.

tecumseh
Jul 19th 2011, 06:04 AM
thanks for sharing... the pictures are great.

G3farms
Jul 19th 2011, 11:02 AM
great pics there cracker, now when you come up next spring you can teach me something :thumbsup:

crackerbee
Jul 23rd 2011, 04:46 AM
great pics there cracker, now when you come up next spring you can teach me something :thumbsup:

Thanks G3,but I doubt I'll ever catch up to your experience in my lifetime :lol: ,and you'll be seeing me sooner than Spring,the wife and I are flying up to visit the daughter Oct. 19th,and staying till the 25th.

rast
Jul 24th 2011, 04:57 PM
Before you skip town, I need 10 good cells and 5 mated queens right after Labor Day. Don't worry about shipping, I'll pick em up :D .
Good Post.

G3farms
Jul 24th 2011, 05:51 PM
See there, done got a customer!!

You will be up in the spring, trust me!

What experience??? you have done something I have not, so who is ahead of who?? :lol:

crackerbee
Jul 25th 2011, 03:09 AM
Before you skip town, I need 10 good cells and 5 mated queens right after Labor Day. Don't worry about shipping, I'll pick em up :D .
Good Post.


Rast, don't let them kid you about not having a sense of humor... :rolling: :rotfl: :rolling: :rotfl:


It will probably(hopefully) be down the road a few years before I'm up to that task... :roll:

efmesch
Aug 8th 2011, 02:24 PM
Cracker, that was a very impressive presentation! :coolphotos:
If you find yourself "stuck" with too many fertilized queens and not enough nucs to manage them, you can cage them separately and store the cages inside a nice strong hive. So long as they are kept apart by the cages, you can keep them in one hive. If the hive is on two boxes, you can have one queen free and laying down below while the "stored" queens are upstairs above an excluder.
This way you can have a supply ready for when you need them and the hosting hive carries on normally. :o
Now that I think back to when I did that, many years ago, I forget what trick I pulled to get the hive bees to accept the caged queens. :oops:
I think I put the hive's laying queen into a nuc for a few hours to make the bees feel "queenless". Then I returned the queen down below and at the same time "introduced" the caged queens up above.
Anyone who has heard of a similar technique and can refresh my memory as to the important details, is invited to speak up. :roll:

Iddee
Aug 8th 2011, 03:44 PM
It is called queen banking. I have never done it, but from what I have read, the excluder is all you need. The bees will feed other queens through the wire if they can't get to them to ball them.

Where's Tec. He can straighten me out if I'm wrong.

crackerbee
Aug 8th 2011, 03:56 PM
Efmesch thanks for the compliment on my thread,I'm sorry to say I won't have to worry about an overabundance of fertilized queens anytime soon.I received an email a couple weeks ago from a fellow student that got an email(I never received one :confused: ) saying that all 50+ grafts the class did either were not worked by the builder hive or torn down(guess I'll have to wait for the next bee workshop to find out why)and I'm not sure what he meant by torned down :confused:.This student found out after he made up a nuc the day before we were supposed to take with us if we wanted one of the queens we grafted,and ended up having to buy a queen for it.I almost made one up to take(darn glad I didn't now)but decided that the 5 colonies I have were plenty enough to handle for now.

efmesch
Aug 8th 2011, 04:55 PM
Cracker said:...Next we selected a strong cell builder hive that was boiling with bees to start building the queen cells,and placed our cell bar frames into it.

Was the builder hive queenless? Was it broodless? If it has a queen it won't build or will tear down (nibble away and empty out) the grafted cells. If there is any brood, they will prefer to raise replacement queens from their own eggs/larvae and do away with "furriners".

What we do here is:
Day 1. before the grafting, split the builder hive by taking the brood box, turning it around, covering and moving it a few feet behind the super. Give the super (with NO BROOD) its own floor and let it collect the bees that come back from the moved brood box. The population swells and finds itself queenless.
Day 2. carry out the grafting and give the queenless super the prepared cells. They happily receive the grafted cells and willingly start building them and raising your new queens.
Day 3 or 4, return the brood box to its original position with the original queen and put the super with the developing queen cells on top. The bees will continue to raise the queens you grafted--just make sure that you separate them all into nucs before they are scheduled to emerge.

It really is simpler than it sounds ;)

crackerbee
Aug 8th 2011, 06:09 PM
[quote="efmesch"]Cracker said:...Next we selected a strong cell builder hive that was boiling with bees to start building the queen cells,and placed our cell bar frames into it.

Was the builder hive queenless? Was it broodless? If it has a queen it won't build or will tear down (nibble away and empty out) the grafted cells. If there is any brood, they will prefer to raise replacement queens from their own eggs/larvae and do away with "furriners".


The builder hive wasn't made queenless,only an excluder was used to separate 2 supers.

The grafts were placed in the super above the one with the queen and brood in it(I think,don't forget I'm in my first 6 months of beekeeping :mrgreen: )

Maybe on Americasbeekeepers next visit to the forum to my thread,he can shed some light on what went wrong.I don't know that's why I'm taking beekeeping classes.

Iddee
Aug 8th 2011, 06:44 PM
It sounds like someone forgot to install the cloakboard. We'll see what ABK says about it.

efmesch
Aug 9th 2011, 01:18 AM
We learn best from our mistakes :oops:

tecumseh
Sep 8th 2011, 05:13 AM
Iddee writes:
It is called queen banking. I have never done it, but from what I have read, the excluder is all you need.

tecumseh:
I would guess the basic idea (Iddee has pretty well presented the basic idea above) would vary in detail somewhat based on how many queens you wanted to bank and how long you thought you might wish to hold them.

as Iddee says the only essential bit of equipment is an excluder. most times I like to 'pull up' a couple of frames of unsealed brood and add a feeder (<very much think dribble here since you don't really want to encourage too much comb building). some folks (all the commercial queen folks I know) have special frames for holding queen cages. for myself I typically just stand the cages up on one end and lean them against a frame of uncapped feed if I am banking queens in some number. at other times when I have one or two caged queens I simple lay them flat on the excluder wire with the queen cage wire pointed upward. most times I only bank queens that I am using for my own use. queens that I plan to sell I typically catch and ship on the same day.

tecumseh
Sep 8th 2011, 05:22 AM
a crackerbee snip..
that all 50+ grafts the class did either were not worked by the builder hive or torn down

tecumseh:
sounds like perhaps someone went 'by the book' and pulled the cells on day 10 (ie 10 days from the day of the graft). I don't know how many time I have seen the 10 day number presented as fact when within the same book the days till emergence for queens is known to vary somewhat to greatly by humidity and temperature. I have (yep been there, done that) pulled cells at day 9 and still had one virgin queen already emerge. Almost anyone who has reared some queen will tell you that it is quite unbelievable how fast a newly hatched virgin queen can murder her sisters.

efmesch
Sep 8th 2011, 08:50 AM
For anyone who wants to try queen banking and doesn't have queen cages on hand, a simple way of making them is to roll a small sheet of wire screen (let's say a square of about 3X3 inches) into a tube, fold over one end to close it, insert the queen and then fold over the second end. Being of wire, the cage holds its fold and doesn't open till you want to( but if it gives you trouble and tries to open up, you can staple it into the folded position). However, make sure not to roll more than one circle for the cage--too many circles will prevent the bees from being able to comfortably reach and attend the queen.

Americasbeekeeper
Sep 8th 2011, 11:14 PM
Open brood frames were put above the excluder on both sides of the queen frames. Sealed brood was in the lower super with the queen.
They continued to work the queen cells for the first five days. Things turned bad on day 8. The cells did not make it to day 10.
I learned from Dr Conner and we did not use a Cloake board when I learned either. I believe the transferred larva were a bit old.
Lady's hair rollers make good queen cages too.

Americasbeekeeper
Sep 11th 2011, 03:12 PM
The mystery of the queens from the queen rearing class being killed is resolved. I was checking the hives prior to the next class and discovered something I did not expect. I fully expected to see brood in every super since we do “open brood nest” with no queen excluder. When I was looking for queens, I found brood in the top super, no surprise, then noticed it was above the queen excluder on our queen cell builder hive. In everyone’s defense she was a real runner. I had to separate the frames into groups of five, check them each three times, and when I had her frame into a new hive, I still had to flip it a few times to find her and make sure she followed the frame into the new hive. I can leave her in a teaching hive or move her to my wife’s hive if you do not want the challenge of chasing her next April’s split class. Just kidding! She is a big golden lady and mother’s the best hive there.