When are queen cells started ?

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Queen Bee
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Jul 28, 2008
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Hampshire uk
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If you give a broodless queenless Nuc a frame of brood when would you expect them to start queen cells,is it within 24 hours picking day old larvae or do they start anytime up to 7days later ?
All worker larvae are feeded with queen jelly during first 3 days. So they can continue queen rearing from 3 days old larva. In emergency cases nursers have not time to fill the cell enough with jelly and food will be short for oldest larvae.

What I think, bees start to widden very soon some worker cells and I can find larger cells next day. They may start new cells many days later.

In my queen rearing book the author says that nurser hive should be 3 days without brood. So they will have enough queen jelly to feed given larvae.

As you see, they feed normal worker cells too with royal jelly.

In emergency case it takes 10 days when queens start to emerge. They start to feed quite big larvae and cap them soon.
After capping queen larva continues eating, but if the food is finish, she will be small size.

When I graft smallest larvae to queen cells in Sunday, they start to emerge in Thursday evening. It is 12 days.


It has been studied that if you change the first larvae from queen cells so larva has more food. The result has been that queens are not bigger

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So pleased to read that , Finman. 3 days
I isolated my nurse colony (Nuc) yesterday and was going to allow 24 hours queenless, but the weather today was not good to expose brood so I will do tomorrow if warmer - but you say I can leave 3 days.
I think they may bite my head off by then when I open the Nuc:ack2:
Can we please NOT consider giving a frame of open brood for queen rearing.

The reason is very straightforward.

Bees like us can be a bit lazy and if tempted will use older than the ideal larvae to use. So if they pick even a three day old, you the Queen rearer will have lost three days of important nutrition and are destined for a poorer queen at best or a useless one at worst.

If you are planning on raising some Queens please aim high.


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