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JCBrum 

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This is a photo of the local area where I have about six hives, all in the same apiary. It is a mix of large gardens, playing fields, small woodland areas and allotments.

A local beekeeper was reputed to do well here until about ten years ago when he died and his apiary was disbanded. I know of no other hives within a couple of miles or so, and maybe further than that.

All six colonies were started this year and are on 14x12 frames. They were created by a mix of bought nucs, as splits, swarm catching, and scrounging. There is honey in the bbs but none in the supers.

With a great deal of difficulty all are queenright at the moment, or were last week.

My biggest problems have been loss of queens (one hive lost the queen four times), and getting them to thrive and multiply generally.

I would like to breed some home grown queens so that I may pick the best egg layers and improve the quantity of brood, and get faster colony growth, and cull the queens which are not so good.

Should I begin now (in the last days of July), or wait till next year. I have about six empty nuc hives available.

What are your recommendations regarding start time and method to be employed. I would like to keep things as simple as possible.

:confused:

p.s. I did obtain a book which was recommended by Hedgerow Pete entitled "Queen Rearing Simplified" by Vince Cook, but I don't know whether other methods are to be preferred.
 

Hombre 

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Hi JC, I'm not many miles from you, nearer Blackheath. I started in mid April with two Carniolan colonies and they swarmed, clipped queens, so I didn't lose the bees, but I got a large brood break and now have four colonies.

I have one super that looks at the moment as if it might produce all of 5lb if I'm lucky. 2 x 14 x 12 and 2 x Nat BS. All the boxes are well populated, with lots of brood in all stages, so I could yet have a population explosion in the next few weeks. If I was to get two to three weeks of good weather before the end of August, then i'm hopeful.

The weather on Sunday made me very dispondant and I was thinking of taking the supers off to reduce *vain space*. I am in fact thinking that I will get some expanded polystyrene from the garage and with it suitably protected in foil, I will fill 2/3 of the super and leave either three or four frames as contingency and overspill. If they move up I will increase their space.

This last couple of days, between showers, they have been bringing in large amounts of pollen. Stores aren't gallant, but as they are at the end of the garden I can keep an eye on the situation. They won't need fed unless they can't get to fly because of extremely bad weather. While the nectar flow is debatable, there is certainly a varied enough diet of pollen out there for the taking.

Good luck. These people that post saying that they have had their Nucs for four weeks and now have 40lbs of honey in the supers are either very fortunate or have very long noses. Hi.

73
 

marcros 

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I would like to breed some home grown queens so that I may pick the best egg layers and improve the quantity of brood, and get faster colony growth, and cull the queens which are not so good.

Should I begin now (in the last days of July), or wait till next year. I have about six empty nuc hives available.

What are your recommendations regarding start time and method to be employed. I would like to keep things as simple as possible.

:confused:

p.s. I did obtain a book which was recommended by Hedgerow Pete entitled "Queen Rearing Simplified" by Vince Cook, but I don't know whether other methods are to be preferred.
JC

Although you could do so now, I would be inclined to leave it until next year, and use the signs of swarming as a starting point. If you do it now, you are going to have little time to assess the queens. It is worth seeking out a copy of the book by Charles and Pauline Doublon- the name escapes me, but it is available from one of BBNO or NBB.

For simplicity, I have used a shook swarm into a travelling box or vented nuc box with a good frame of open stores and a good frame of pollen. Shake frames in until you have a good 3 inches of bees in the bottom (obviously not including the queen). Leave in cellar/shed for 3 or 4 hours, then introduce grafts. Back to shed for a couple of days. Open the entrance after that and you will see the cells being built. You may need to feed them. Cage them when they are sealed and distribute to mating nucs when they are on day 13...
 

Poly Hive 

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I have Cooks book. I have never heard of Dublon.

Setting the above aside there are really two issues here. Is it too late this season? NO.

Can you do it? Yes.

I hope to have a how to video available by the end of the week.

You need queen cups. You need a grafting tool. You need a clony to use as a donor? If you just want "queens" does it really mater that much which? You need a cell starter hive or box.

You transfer larvae from the donor hive into the cups, give the cups to the prepared colony, take the accepted cells from that colony and put them in the supers of strong colonies until sealed. then make up your nucs, and give the cells to them.

PH
 

Heather 

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Still struggling to get them to accept my grafts-, am going to start again. and earlier. next year - but have raised about 8 in my incubator- only taking sealed queen cells from hives with a good queen -- and only using for emergency replacements- for me and anyone else on our local group, Next best thing for me- but am determined to have grafts accepted!! :toetap05: :)
 

Poly Hive 

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It is a struggle Heather, and the main two factors are Weather and strength.

The starter box needs to be as strong as you can get it.

Weather is out of our hands.

PH
 

JCBrum 

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You need queen cups.PH
I presume I make these by dipping a former into molten wax.

You need a colony to use as a donor?PH
Presumably this is a favourable temperament colony which is producing eggs and brood.

You need a cell starter hive or box. PH
I haven't got a clue what criteria apply here. Please describe exactly what this is.

- take the accepted cells from that colony and put them in the supers of strong colonies until sealed.PH
Does it matter whether there is anything else in the supers ? All of my supers are full of frames of bare foundation atm.

I eagerly await your video PH. :cheers2:
 

JCBrum 

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Which is the best book for queen rearing? Is the Snelgrove any good or is it too dated?
I don't know that answer, but the Doublon book mentioned earlier is, I believe, called "Practical Queen Rearing".

I have never seen a copy.
 

Heather 

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No, dipping former queen cell into wax- too big-
I find the end of a biro or similar shape is about right size. Dip biro end (or whatever) in water then hot wax repeat 3 times then ease off and stick onto bar of soft wax on a frame with the open end of the cup hanging down.

Prepare a 5 frame Nuc with 4 frames of syrup and pollen -NO Brood, eggs etc!! Add at least 3 frames bees from a good strong colony. Make up a few of these cups and put this frame into the Nuc for the bees to walk over, clean, prepare etc. Close up for 2 days in a quiet dark cool place

Remove the frame of queen cups and graft 1 day larvae - one into each cup. Return frame to the Nuc , open the Nuc to allow the bees to forage.= and wait...

This is what I have been taught- just hope i explain well...:)
 
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Like PH, I recommend Vince Cook's book Queen Rearing Simplified - this explains what to do very easily and also how to make wax cups if you want to use them, I use plastic ones as they are less messy.

Although very late I have just started a new batch. The larva were grafted on Saturday and when I had a quick peek on Sunday most of the grafts along the top bar looked as if they had been accepted. I didn't look any further but expect the bottom bar should be simliar. There are some 32 cells in total so hopefully they should produce some queens from that lot. I'm feeding them OSR honey in a contact feeder diluted 1:1 as a treat and to give the queens the best possible start but I'm not breaking out the champagne yet as my earlier attempt this year was a disaster - they tore down the sealed cells for some reason, possible a patch of bad weather or the queen found her way up top. If she did she found her way back down again so I am not sure of the real reason. This batch of cells should be sealed on Thursday so I'll put some protectors on them to prevent it happening again.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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Option to raise queens is to put a frame of eggs in a cell raising colony. The bottom 2 inches of the comb should be cut zig-zag fashion and 2 in every three eggs squashed with a matchstick. After a week, there should be a handfull of queencells which can be cut out. (Forgotten the name of this technique). It saves grafting. BUT you do need a frame of eggs available.
 

Poly Hive 

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Sorry rooftops but I didn't offer any recommendation.

"I have Cooks book. I have never heard of Dublon. " Where is the endorsement in that comment?

A starter box can be made from a double brood box colony, separate the top box, boost with more bees if required and wait until the larvae are too old to turn to queens. Offer a feeder if needed, cram them if they look a bit thin and pull out a stores comb. Rearrange so there is a gap in the middle, and when you lift the crown board there should be a good beard hanging in it. So when you slip in your grafts the bees surround them. Make sure of course there are no existing cells as that will be a real show stopper.

PH
 

JCBrum 

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I think RoofTops may have meant HP (for Hedgerow Pete), not PH (for Poly Hive). It was HP that recommended it iirc.

Hmmm, ... a double brood box colony, .... That's a bit above my resources atm. :(
 

JCBrum 

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Prepare a 5 frame Nuc with 4 frames of syrup and pollen -NO Brood, eggs etc!! Add at least 3 frames bees from a good strong colony. Make up a few of these cups and put this frame into the Nuc for the bees to walk over, clean, prepare etc. Close up for 2 days in a quiet dark cool place

Remove the frame of queen cups and graft 1 day larvae - one into each cup. Return frame to the Nuc , open the Nuc to allow the bees to forage.= and wait...

This is what I have been taught- just hope i explain well...:)
This sounds more simple than a double brood box starter.

Presumably closing them up in the cool dark makes them desperately queenless and very receptive to the grafts, but why, when you do allow them to forage on the third day onwards, don't they attemp to return to their original location hives ??

Should you make up the nuc with only new bees ? or should you remove the nuc to a new distant location ?

:confused: JC.
 

Poly Hive 

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I see that someone has diluted the original instruction. :)

If you want to go the nuc box way then you need at least 7 frames of well covered brood shook in to give the strength required. It wants to be heaving with bees.

In the nuc have a pollen comb, a feeder, and a space. leave the shook bees for 24 hours and in that time they will cluster in the space. Into the space goes the frame of grafts.

The starter box will do at least two batches for you if not three. So there is time to hone your grafting skills. Further the bees can be utililised for three nucs when the cells are on the go.

PH
 

JCBrum 

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Sounds good Poly, I understand that the starter box must be heaving with bees.

Are all these bees to be new nurse bees ? so that they will not simply fly back to the hive they came from ?

If not what stops them all leaving the nuc for their original location ?

JC
 

Poly Hive 

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Starter box is shut in. Remains shut in unless you can move it the classic three miles.

Wax cups need to be 9mm ID. Wax is easier to graft into as you can press the grafting tool into it to ease off the larvae.

PH
 

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