View Full Version : How to make queens

Aug 26th 2008, 11:35 AM
Hi - are there any good guidelines out there for making queens.

My GF bought me a queen making kit, but the instructions have no pictures and I am having a hard time following the text directions.


Aug 26th 2008, 01:06 PM
Welcome to the forums roccman, Try this link:


Lots of info there. Dave Cushman has a good article here that's worth reading:


Good luck,let us know how it works out...

Sep 18th 2008, 08:35 PM
I start off by making wax cell cups, I soak this homemade cell maker in soapy water over night and dip the ends of the dowel rods into hot wax several times.


When the wax cools I remove the wax cell cups.


I lay out a set of frame bars and apply a thin layer of hot wax to the wood with a spoon; before the wax completely cools I position a cell cup on the bar. (sorry no pic)

After I've finished making the cell bars I take a frame of brood from the breeder hive with the proper age larva (4 days old)


The proper age larva are the smallest ones in the pic above, these are eggs that haven't hatched yet.


I use a grafting tool to lift a single larva from the brood frame and place it into a wax cup on my cell bar


After I've filled all the cells I place the cell bar frame into a queen-less hive that called a cell builder.


10 Days later I take the cell bar out of the hive, by now I should have a frame with capped queen cells.


I use my hive tool to gently remove the queen cells from the cell bar by cutting the wax base lose from the wood bar.


After I have the cells off the bar I divide them up and place two in each have that I'm re-queening or new hive that I'm starting



There are several steps to raising queens but there all pretty easy

Sep 18th 2008, 08:44 PM
Wow CFF, what a great post. This is going to help alot of people. Thanks for taking the time...

Sep 18th 2008, 08:46 PM
Thanks Charles; hope it helps

Oct 8th 2008, 02:21 PM
Wanted to Sticky this before I forget...

Feb 2nd 2009, 01:10 PM

Great post re queen rearing.

I raise my own queens using the Jenter Kit, as its all very easy and easy to follow the instructions.

Good shots of how you proceeded.


Feb 17th 2009, 07:21 PM
that's a really nice explanation
thanks for taking the time :D


Mar 3rd 2009, 03:56 PM
Great post, with great pictures for those of us who need pictures to "get" it. Thanks

larry tate
Mar 15th 2009, 07:55 AM
CFF, Great post. What size dowel rods do you use? Also what is the easiest way to melt the wax? Thanks

Apr 6th 2009, 06:47 AM
I just wanted to say thank you. I will be going to a class at the U of MN to learn how to do what you just taught me in 10 minutes. And yours was free!! LOL Thank You so MUCH!!!! Great pics.

Apr 6th 2009, 04:02 PM
Do you prime the cups with royal jelly? Jim

Apr 11th 2009, 02:45 PM
does the wax used to make cell cups have to be bees wax or can it be parafin?

Jun 7th 2009, 07:40 AM
Great explanation/pics.
However I believe a 4 day old larva is too old.
I use 1-2 day because after the second day the diet changes.
Also you can buy cell cups if you dont want to go through the trouble of making your own.

Jun 7th 2009, 09:23 AM
He says 4 days old, but he means on the 4th day. That will be a 1 day old larva. He's counting the days it is an egg.

Jun 9th 2009, 08:05 AM
Great post, I would be interested to know what size dowl you are using also does the soap residue in the cell cup give you any problems ?

Jun 16th 2009, 07:44 AM
He says 4 days old, but he means on the 4th day. That will be a 1 day old larva. He's counting the days it is an egg.

Sep 6th 2009, 12:45 PM
Great pictures, good post

Jun 20th 2010, 09:34 AM
Good site with a different way to make queens, sounds easy enough even for me.

www.mdasplitter.com/ (http://www.mdasplitter.com/)

Anybody ever seen this before?


Barry Tolson
Jun 20th 2010, 12:36 PM
I just checked and have capped queen cells from this method. All "I" did was make one of my colonies queenless and broodless...selected a full frame of brood from another colony...identified larva of the correct age...cut the bottom of those particular cells down to the midrib...and placed that frame into the queenless colony. It worked. Those cells that I altered all had queen cells drawn from them.
Give it a try!

Jun 20th 2010, 05:42 PM
Seems like a lot of work. I just put a frame of eggs and brood on a trap out last Fri. This Fri. I had 11 queen cells. I cut some of them out for nucs, one for the replacement box on the trap, and left the rest for the box I removed from the trap.

I think you could do the same thing just by removing the queen from a strong hive and checking for cells 7 days later.

Barry Tolson
Jun 20th 2010, 08:56 PM
True. This was my first try at that, so it was a chance to see if it worked. What I liked was that the queen cells were produced exactly where I wanted them. Can't say it was particularly more work, though. Just took the corner of my hive tool...identified where I wanted the queen cells and broke off the floors of those cells. Probably 10 seconds worth of looking for the right aged larva in the desired locations.

I could certainly have just removed the queen and left it at that. Nothing wrong with that, and I made queens that way just a few weeks ago...I just wanted to try something different.

For me that's part of the fun in beekeeping...trying different methods to see what works and what does not...and what might work best for me under different circumstances. Next time I make queens I'm sure I'll try another method. And there are many methods out there for me yet to try! I like trying new things and queen rearing affords ample opportunity for that!

Jun 20th 2010, 09:04 PM
That's what makes the world go round.... :thumbsup:

Mama Beek
Jun 20th 2010, 09:10 PM
definitely interesting reading! Thanks!!

Jun 24th 2010, 04:54 AM
barry tolson writes:
identified larva of the correct age...cut the bottom of those particular cells down to the midrib...and placed that frame into the queenless colony. It worked.

keep doing your little experiments this one was quite insightful. thanks...

Aug 12th 2010, 06:51 PM
Next year I would like to try and raise queens by the cloake method. Anyone have any good books I could read over the winter?


Aug 12th 2010, 08:14 PM
the Cloake method likely doesn't really require the reading of any books. the first mention of the method (in an old bee journal penned by Sue Colbey in the mid 80's) pretty much reduced the idea to one short article. One queen cell producer I know here uses this method quite extensively... literally produces cells by the thousand using the Cloake method.

there are any number of excellent books on queen rearing. Contemporary Queen Rearing by Harry Laidlaw, Jr. (Dadant) is an excellent first book.

Aug 12th 2010, 08:24 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloake_boa ... en_Rearing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloake_board#Cloake_Method_of_Queen_Rearing)

Sep 29th 2010, 07:38 PM
I am new at this forum but just wanted to say that CFF has already helped me. Thanks great subject

Sep 29th 2010, 07:58 PM
Welcome, skydoc. Glad to see you here.

Apr 19th 2011, 05:09 PM
Here is an interactive queen raising calender. If you drop a frame of eggs and larva into a queenless hive/nuc, consider that your grafting day.
http://www.thebeeyard.org/queencalendar ... &year=2011 (http://www.thebeeyard.org/queencalendar.pl?month=4&day=18&year=2011)

Apr 19th 2011, 08:32 PM
Good tool for sure, thanks for posting that I can use it.

Apr 19th 2011, 08:44 PM
This brings up a question. Do we need a queen rearing forum for links like this and other info? If so, we can get all the queen rearing together in one area?

Let's here some opinions on this........

Apr 20th 2011, 04:14 AM
I do like to promote queen rearing amongst folks that think the honey bee is important. I think this basic skill (it definitely ain't alchemy) is the lynch pen to any number of quality issues associated with rearing honey bees and as I first told Flyman a couple of years back 'rearing queens will make you a better bee keeper'.

Apr 20th 2011, 05:15 AM
Tec I strongly agree with you....'rearing queens will make you a better bee keeper'. You really have to pay more attention to what is going on inside of the hive and have that watchful eye.

Apr 20th 2011, 09:50 AM
I just checked and have capped queen cells from this method. All "I" did was make one of my colonies queenless and broodless...selected a full frame of brood from another colony...identified larva of the correct age...cut the bottom of those particular cells down to the midrib...and placed that frame into the queenless colony. It worked. Those cells that I altered all had queen cells drawn from them.
Give it a try!

That's what i'll be doing in a few weeks. Can't wait! :Dancing:
Apparently you can do this to several frames at once in a queenless hive and then start multiple nucs from the resultant Qcells. You just have to select larvae of the right age and make sure you leave 2 or 3 cells spacing between any cells you do the cut on, so there's enough room between queen cells.

Apr 21st 2011, 05:48 AM
Take an existing modestly strong hive and remove a strong split with the queen plus most of the sealed brood. Leave lots of bees and unsealed brood. Return after 10 days to split the various frames with cells into as many nucs as possible.

you can some what drive this process by liberally (<there's that ugly word again) feeding in front of this process. this not only stimulates but crowds the brood nest somewhat.

Apr 30th 2011, 07:02 AM
The sage, well read and handsome Tecumseh is correct, raising queens will make (force) you to be a better beekeeper. You have to pay attention to timelines and quickly find out that you can't do something tomorrow that should have been done today. I just recently lost a batch of queen cells (26 really nice ones) because I took a chance they would not begin to hatch on the day I thought. I was wrong. First one out killed almost 20 others in less than 30 minutes.

Apr 30th 2011, 07:06 AM
Ouch! :cry:

May 1st 2011, 05:50 AM
The ouch'y thingee has happened to many more folks than just Flyman (who according to authorities much larger than myself make a petty mean bottle of mead).

May 1st 2011, 06:20 AM
Sorry to hear of the bad luck there flyman, hope the next round goes better for you.

May 1st 2011, 07:11 AM
Next batch was great. 26 out of 30 as a take and all have new homes. Usually, I learn pretty quickly....until next time.

May 1st 2011, 02:19 PM
The worst part of rearing to me is between making sure she emerged and when she starts laying. Did she or didn't she?

Jul 7th 2012, 10:03 PM
What time of the year is best to do this, or does it matter?

Jul 9th 2012, 04:22 AM
the 'easiest' time of the year to produce queens (I am speaking here of the entire process from grafting till you have a mated queen in the box) is in the early spring as the flow is peaking. earlier a lot of folks have problems with fluctuation in temperature (primarily low night time temperatures) and availability of good numbers of drones. later in the season lack of flow doesn't motivate the girls to produce many cells and extremely high temperatures limits the virgin queens ability to mate.

Jul 9th 2012, 10:45 AM
I have been taught to requeen every year. If you do this during the nectar flow, how are you ever supposed to get the strong army of workers to collect honey enough for a honey harvest? That was my problem this year. I requeened in the middle of April. That was right in the middle of the nectar flow, and by the time the population count was getting high, the nectar was all but over. There is something I am missing. I just don't know what it is.

Jul 9th 2012, 12:09 PM
From what I have read, those who requeen every year, do so in August or Sept., depending on location. They want the new queen to have 2 full laying cycles before winter. ""42 days"". Then the queen is ready for the spring buildup.

Jul 9th 2012, 02:11 PM
That makes more sense, but it is very hard to find queens that time of year. I am thinking of raising a queen or two of my own. Do you raise your own queens or do you let them raise them for you as needed? I had one hive last year that just barely made it because of a weak queen. It's seems like they would have replaced her, but they didn't. I did.

Jul 9th 2012, 02:35 PM
If you make some queens at the end of july (after you've harvested spring honey and when the hive is heavily populated).... put the old queens in small 5 frame 'holding nucs'. Let the main hives make new queens for a month, during which time the mite population will crash. Then by Sept you can decide which queens to keep (the old or the new) and you can either pinch or sell the extra queens and either recombine the holding nucs with the main hives for winter, or take a chance in trying to overwinter the holding nucs with the old queens, as a hedge against losing all your hives. None of this interferes with the Spring honey harvest.

Jul 9th 2012, 02:57 PM
What I do would not be best for you. I do not try for the best honey harvest, nor for the most bees. I just let the bees do what they want unless I do something just for fun.

Jul 10th 2012, 06:08 AM
as Iddee at least suggest above most folks that promote the benefits of young queens to maximize the honey flow traditionally requeened in the fall of the year (late summer queens were often times though superior due to any number of reasons... at some locations given the arrival of the ahb this may be an assumption a person might wish to reconsider)

I have never had any problem buying all the queens I might wish for at any time of the year although certainly you do take a large risk in buying queens when ever the temperature is too hot or too cold.

a often time's overlooked benefit of rearing your own queens is this allows you to cull the less desirable queens (for whatever reason) and maintain the best queen stock that fits your own situation (I think Omie's post somewhat speaks to this benefit). I have myself seen some benefit in rearing queens at non traditional times of the year.

as to honey crop or the lack there of at your location...
I suspect you are confusing the question here. this may or may not be about trying to rear queens at the peak of the flow.... but I would suspect likely not. if you are attempting to rear queens at that time of year then naturally any hive you remove bees or brood or feed from will not produce quite the honey it might have if you had left it alone. another aspect often overlooked (often not highlighted in any text) is that it is assumed by almost all the folks doing this kind of thing that feeding of everything involved in the process of queen rearing is just part of the process. for most southern beekeeper maximizing a honey crop is really more about rev'in up the bees 45 to 60 days ahead of your main flow and not so much about the queen in the box. the queen is an obvious component of this but feeding ahead of the flow 1)gets you a large population as the flow hits and 2) illuminates any of the 'poor doers' since their lack of growth relative to everything else will look quite pathetic. my strategy is then to utilize the 'poor doers' to make up smaller populations for the season queen rearing purposes. they ain't going to make you a crop, so I use these for their next best purpose.

Jul 10th 2012, 07:25 AM
Thanks guys. Very good stuff!

Omie, you something about mites population crashing. Is that because of the time of year, or going through the process that you are talking about? Very interesting stuff. I think I am going to copy you post so I can read it on my phone. Also, for you a small time deal like me, would you recommend the miller method of rearing queens. It seems the easiest for a small amount of queens.

Tecumseh, I didn't rear any queens this year. I bought them from a local supplier. They were not available to me until the middle of April. She was already bred, but it took a few days for her to start laying then of course 21 days for her brood to start hatching. By that time the nectar flow was dwindling down. They are still finding a little bit of stuff somewhere, (I don't know how, as it has been so dry here) but nothing in the super.

I am learning that planning is a more important role that I first realized.

Jul 10th 2012, 08:45 AM
Hi Beeboy:

Regarding Omie's post, when there is a break in the brood rearing cycle of honeybees, it affects the reproductive life cycle of the varroa mite. They have no cells to duck into to reproduce once they are capped. It can be used effectively in your IPM strategy.

Jul 10th 2012, 08:58 AM
Beeboy, it's because of the length of time the hive has no open brood while they are making their new queen. That time period disrupts the whole mite breeding cycle since they have nowhere to lay for a while. Doing this in late summer is great because Fall is typically the time when mites get out of control if left alone.

I don't know about the Miller method or about grafting methods. I just basically remove a queen and do something else with her, and let the hive make queen cells. If they make a bunch sometimes I'll swipe some and make other nucs from them if i have extra brood frames and nurse bees.

Jul 10th 2012, 10:17 AM
WOW! Incredible information! Thank you guys so much! You have no idea how many questions you have answered for me. Thank you!

Oct 19th 2012, 05:21 PM
You've got to feed and build up the hive starting 6-8 weeks before the nectar flow. Then you can requeen when the flow has started. You already have an abundance of workers, and a break in the brood cycle will allow them to focus maximum attention on honey gathering and less on brood rearing.

Visit Us:
http://www.danskfarms.com/images/facebook.png (http://www.facebook.com/organichoney)http://www.danskfarms.com/images/twitter.png (http://twitter.com/#!/danskfarms)http://www.danskfarms.com/images/youtube.png (http://www.youtube.com/user/DanskFarms)

Nov 27th 2012, 07:53 AM
I have just did a video on how to make queen cells its on utube to help the new beekeepers. I am not a computer person its on utube/fineshooter or fatbeeman;s channel

Nov 27th 2012, 10:13 AM
fatbeeman's video is here:

make your own queen cell cups (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUf1o9T8O1Q&feature=plcp)

or just watch it here! :grin: