Test frame

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SixFooter 

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I've 2 colonies that I think may be queenless, but another colony in which the queen just started laying. I want to put test frames in the possible QL colonies, but I dont want to take 2 frames out of the colony that is now OK.

Could I graft a few larvae into cups on a couple of frames and use these instead?
 

winmag270 

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not saying anymore in case SWMBO reads this... ;o)
cant see why not....

have you experience of grafting though?
 

SixFooter 

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Well some, but I've gone off the idea any way.
I'm going to put the test frames in as the QR colony will recover fairly quickly.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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You can try and cut a section of comb with eggs and fit into a similar hole in a frame of the hive you think is queenless you only need a few eggs and undamaged cells. Its a bit fiddly may be best to take the frames from the queenright hive you can always put them back.
 

Poly Hive 

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Yes you can use grafts, works a treat and of course into the bargain you can get a couple of cells. ;)

PH
 

oliver90owner 

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Tom, SF,

I suppose one could use a pastry cutter shape thingy and swap circles between frames. Cheap, cheerful and easy? Alternatively you could use a play-dough fancy shaped cutter and get really artistic!

Regards, RAB
 

SixFooter 

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Tom, SF,

I suppose one could use a pastry cutter shape thingy and swap circles between frames. Cheap, cheerful and easy? Alternatively you could use a play-dough fancy shaped cutter and get really artistic!

Regards, RAB
:) Actually, I did something similar a while agao as I bought a langstroth nuc and put the bees in a national hive, so I cut the brood out and stuck it in national frames, held in by elastic bands. Bread knife though, not a pastry cutter.

Incidentally, I fed the remnants of the frames, which contained stores, to my chickens at the allotment as I was reliably informed that they love wax, honey and brood. I went back 2 days later to find a chicken coop full of all the local honey bees! and the chickens cowering in a corner!
 

SixFooter 

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I have an idea that one is QL and the other isnt, but just isnt laying yet. So - another quick question please:
If the bees make queen cells on a test frame, do I just leave the best one or leave them all and let the bees choose?
 

oliver90owner 

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These would be emergency queen cells so some selection is likely necessary. First capped may be a scrub queen and a later one from a hatching egg. Either way, a queen is better than none at all. The queens are a lottery as far as genetics are concerned and may be docile or vicious;good layer or patchy; prolific or slow, etc.

I think queen rearing with just a colony or two is always a bit of a lottery. With more colonies there is more choice, but you only have 'what you have' to work with. I would reduce to one or two cells as there is always the risk of a cast, depending on the strength of the colony. Uniting is always another option. We are approaching the wasp season and weaker colonies are the ones at most risk. You are looking at another month at least before new brood hatches. All a balancing act. So your choice really.

I have in the past split and had to 'unsplit'. It happens. But I reckon extra queens is good as there is more choice for uniting later in the season and two laying queens now will make one very much stronger colony later. That is one apect I like with beekeeping - often several options when enough bees.

Regards, RAB
 

SixFooter 

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Both colonies now laying. No Q cells were produced in either of them, but now quite a lot of brood on 2 or 3 frames. I'm convinced that the test frames stimulated the Queens to start laying.
 
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