Do emergency queen cells make decent queens?

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Do224

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I’ve heard it said that they don’t. Just wondered what people’s experiences are?
 
I’ve heard it said that they don’t. Just wondered what people’s experiences are?

David Evans wrote a fair bit about this some time back, covering the research that has been done.

From memory, where the bees have a good range of egg/larva ages to work with and therefore have the opportunity to choose which they use, "emergency" queens were no significantly different from "genuine" queens (by whatever measures the researchers were using) if the comb they were being raised on was relatively new. Where the comb has already been heavily used for brood, the bees struggle to remodel it appropriately because the embedded pupa cases make it too tough for them to work. The development of the queen may then be compromised because the cell construction is less than ideal.

James
 
If you add a frame of eggs to a queenless colony, go back four days later and squash any sealed cells, leaving open, charged ones.
 
Difficult to make hard and fast rules with biology. Some clearly will/do result in good queens but I've seen enough good queens superseded in their first year to be dubious of emergency queens.
 
I read somewhere that research showed that the volume of the cell was just as large, it just appears smaller as it includes the volume of the original cell.
Using timing to only use EQCs made with larvae fed royal jelly throughout gives you the best chance.
However there is also research showing that eggs laid in queen cups (ie originally intended to be queens) are slightly larger/heavier than other eggs, so maybe there is a difference.
 
If you add a frame of eggs to a queenless colony, go back four days later and squash any sealed cells, leaving open, charged ones.
Is it ok to leave more than one? They wouldn’t swarm?
 
Can you tell by looking at them?

I don't think so. If you have a number of them then you might be able to compare them to get a rough idea (abdomen size, thorax size etc.), but I believe many of the criteria preferred by researchers for gauging the quality of queens tend to be, err, "fatally invasive".

James
 
they might - no real hard and fast rule on it, but they tend not to

Personally I'd prefer not to leave it to chance, and remove all but the healthiest-looking open cell I could find. Not that I'm really any judge of what constitutes "healthiest" when it comes to it.

I've seen it suggested that what happens when bees build emergency queen cells might be a bit random because it may not be a situation that occurs sufficiently often in the wild for evolution to have made much impact on "tuning" the process. I'm not sure I buy that, given that their evolution is presumably how they came to create emergency queen cells in the first place. Need to give it more thought.

James
 
I've seen it suggested that what happens when bees build emergency queen cells might be a bit random because it may not be a situation that occurs sufficiently often in the wild for evolution to have made much impact on "tuning" the process. I'm not sure I buy that, given that their evolution is presumably how they came to create emergency queen cells in the first place. Need to give it more thought.

James
I guess it's a way to keep going, can supercede later if queen substandard, though in terms of maintaining genes the less iterations the better.
 
Yes, plus it's the beekeeper who decides on the larvae used, the timing, etc.

Sub standard queens can result just as easily from poor mating of 'chosen' queens, I think it's all a bit moot. Return and knock down those obviously poor cells built on older larvae and leave them with those fed properly from day one and I don't see much difference to grafting other than these are the bees choice.
I've four year old queens raised in this way, one of which is my largest colony this year, I can't remember one who was poor or sub standard, some are better than others but that's usually the case anyway.
 
I read somewhere that research showed that the volume of the cell was just as large, it just appears smaller as it includes the volume of the original cell.
Using timing to only use EQCs made with larvae fed royal jelly throughout gives you the best chance.
However there is also research showing that eggs laid in queen cups (ie originally intended to be queens) are slightly larger/heavier than other eggs, so maybe there is a difference.
Think the research indicated that the larger the original cell, the larger the egg the queen laid & subsequently a bigger queen. It was then cited that larger queens have more space for the ovaries to develop & hence possibly more eggs. But then it also depends on how well she mates...
 
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