Queen rearing

Advanced beekeeping topics, the minutia and the macro, change the world and the industry.
DonTravieso
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:35 am
Location: Bandera, TX

Queen rearing

Postby DonTravieso » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:02 pm

So I'm about to start on my journey into queen rearing and have a few questions. First, how do I know it's best to do a walk away split? What conditions are best for the bees? I have three hives. I believe one to two of them might be almost ready to split but don't want to do it too early. Second, I've been looking at plans for Queen castles and nucleus colonies. Would their be an issue if I simply split a medium super and created a queen castle with two five frame medium frames on each side? It would essentially be the same as a double 5 frame nuc. I know it's a bit big for a single colony just starting but I like the idea of being able to add or remove dividers and have either a medium 10 frame super or a couple of 5 frame nucs. I could also with a few additional cuts make the same box into a 3 frame queen castle. It might be only semantics but at what point does a queen castle become a nuc? Am I making any crazy assumptions here?

lharder
Hobbyist
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 6:36 pm
Location: Kamloops, BC

Re: Queen rearing

Postby lharder » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:47 pm

You can basically start when a hive has drones flying. Ensures that a queen can get mated. Weather plays a big role as well.

I'm using snelgrove boards to do vertical splits and get a honey crop. For a while I'll be running 2 queen systems in them. If a split fails you can easily recombine and try again. But the strategy you employ depends on the size and timing of your flows and the resources you have.

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Michael Bush » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:58 pm

For a walk away split I'm looking for four eight frame mediums full of bees and brood and honey, or two ten frame deeps. That's enough to make a strong split. Timewise I'm also looking for drones flying.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

DonTravieso
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:35 am
Location: Bandera, TX

Re: Queen rearing

Postby DonTravieso » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:03 pm

lharder wrote:You can basically start when a hive has drones flying. Ensures that a queen can get mated. Weather plays a big role as well.

I'm using snelgrove boards to do vertical splits and get a honey crop. For a while I'll be running 2 queen systems in them. If a split fails you can easily recombine and try again. But the strategy you employ depends on the size and timing of your flows and the resources you have.


So if you can run 2 queens doing a vertical split...could you run 3 queens. Original Queen on bottom, then two new unmated queens on top,each in their own side of a five frame queen castle? (Obviously the two queens would have an entrance of their own for mating flight.) I only ask because it seems it would be a good way to increase quickly without leaving a walk away split with an unsuccessful queen.
just want to make sure what I do is not going to harm the bees.

lharder
Hobbyist
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 6:36 pm
Location: Kamloops, BC

Re: Queen rearing

Postby lharder » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:54 pm

Well you could if you build a special divider board. You couldn't do it with a typical snelgrove as it has a set of entrances on at least 3 sides that you manipulate to siphon foragers back to the original queen and make a honey crop. Also you put the majority of resources away from the original queen, making the queenless side well positioned to start and feed a bunch of good queens. You wouldn't need them all but you could be choosy and maybe even sell or give away a few to friends. You could raise one queen above then set up some nucs or queen castles for extra queens if you wish. If the queen above the snelgrove board fails, you could install one of extras if a 2 queen system was to your advantage. Again it depends on the timing of your flows if it makes sense or not.

User avatar
SiWolKe
Hobbyist
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:36 am
Location: South Germany

Re: Queen rearing

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:19 pm

Michael,
on your website you write this:

How to do it wrong

To contrast this, let's look at how to make the worst queen. If you are doing emergency queens you have no real control over the larvae they pick since you aren't grafting them. If you are grafting, then picking a large larvae will result in an intercaste queen.

If you set things up so the cell builder (or the queenless half of a split) ends up with a low density of bees (a small nuc set in a new place so all the field bees leave or a hive that is weak to start with) then the queen will likely be poorly fed. Also if you do this in a dearth and don't feed she will be poorly fed.

If you do this at a time when there are few to no drones (too early, in a dearth when the bees have killed off the drones etc.) then she will be poorly bred.

If you put the cells in mating nucs and catch them as soon as they lay an egg, you will interrupt the development of their ovarioles and get a poor queen.



Please explain what an "intercaste" queen is since I have not found it in my dictionary.
Thanks.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Michael Bush » Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:22 pm

>Please explain what an "intercaste" queen is

One with both worker characteristics and queen characteristics. Usually a size in between the two as well. Castes, being drones, queens and workers. Intercaste is in between workers and queens.

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... _evolution
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

User avatar
SiWolKe
Hobbyist
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:36 am
Location: South Germany

Re: Queen rearing

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:51 pm

Thanks Michael.

Our results show that the production of intercastes in M. rogeri inflicts few costs but can yield benefits. Accordingly, certain ecological circumstances could select for increased frequency of intercaste production, ultimately resulting in the evolution of new reproductive and defensive castes.


The laying workers raise the intercasts starting what´s called thelytoky?
They do it in an emergency if they loose they virgin queen on mating flight.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/thelytoky.html

So with grafting you may raise a thelytoky queen?
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:53 pm

>The laying workers raise the intercasts starting what´s called thelytoky?
They do it in an emergency if they loose they virgin queen on mating flight.

They do it very rarely (other than Dee Lusby's bees) but often enough to be documented.

>So with grafting you may raise a thelytoky queen?

Extremely unlikely. All hives have some laying workers and it's possible one laid a thelytoky egg (self fertilized aka a clone of the mother) in a cell that you happened to graft, but the odds of that are extremely unlikely.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

User avatar
SiWolKe
Hobbyist
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:36 am
Location: South Germany

Re: Queen rearing

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:21 pm

Ok Michael, understood.

Iharder wrote in DCMann2`s thread:
One queen that got raised was small (it takes some knowledge to set up bees to raise good queens)


I have the one queen which is now going into her third year if she survives winter. She is the smallest of all, very slim.
She produced enormous quantities of brood.

What´s a good queen`s look?

queen.jpg
queen.jpg (153.75 KiB) Viewed 1158 times
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:01 pm

>What´s a good queen`s look?

It's what's inside that counts...

http://jinsectscience.oxfordjournals.or ... 2.abstract

Never judge a queen by her looks.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Queen rearing

Postby moebees » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:08 pm

Not sure if this is the right place or I should start a new thread but my question is about OTS queen rearing. My specific question is what is the idea behind notching? I understand that it is to provide a vertical space for the queen cell but from what I can find the process seems very iffy at best (most notches are just repaired). If you make a strong hive queenless they are going to build cells anyway right? I suppose if notching works you can try to control which frames the cells end up on but that depends on the location of appropriate larva anyway. There is one video on youtube of a hive notched by Mel himself that produced a bunch of cells on the bottom of one frame and a single cell in the middle of another frame and it isn't clear any of them were the result of his notches. I have seen others try notching with utter failure. A number on BeeSource say they follow his method to make splits but I don't know how successful they are with notching.

I understand Mel splits to control mites and produce bees to sell and perhaps his plan and timing of splits may work well for both of those goals. But I wonder if he would not get about the same results just doing the splits without any notching?
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:19 pm

> what is the idea behind notching?

Two things:

1) the bees can't tear down old brood comb with cocoons and there is some speculation that when they can build the cell down rather than float the larvae out the quality is better.
2) there is the speculation that they will start with too old of a larvae and by tearing down the walls you are choosing the larvae, hopefully, of the correct age.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Queen rearing

Postby moebees » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:42 pm

Michael Bush wrote
1) the bees can't tear down old brood comb with cocoons and there is some speculation that when they can build the cell down rather than float the larvae out the quality is better.
2) there is the speculation that they will start with too old of a larvae and by tearing down the walls you are choosing the larvae, hopefully, of the correct age.


Thanks Michael. I would note that both of these reasons you say are speculation and Mel does not agree with number 2. He says bees will never start with too old larva. I don't know if number two is correct or whether Mel is right or not but I would 100% believe bees would do a better job of selecting larvae than I personally can. But I guess my question is (besides the question whether notching actually works effectively) there a problem with just letting bees make cells on their own? When you do walk away splits do you often find they have not made many or any cells? Assuming notching works, is it really advantageous?
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:29 pm

I agree on all counts. They are both speculation and I agree with Mel that they won't start with too old of a Larva. But those are the reasons some people notch. I don't notch. I just make them queenless and then divvy up the frames that have queen cells into nucs...
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

User avatar
Nordak
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:24 am
Location: Arkansas

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Nordak » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:07 pm

Where did the speculation that bees start with too old of larvae come from? I never have understood the reasoning behind it, if the bees are given larvae of proper age, why wouldn't they try and make the best queen available with the resources given? I figure they know what they're doing by now.

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:33 pm

>Where did the speculation that bees start with too old of larvae come from?

I think it started as a means to explain poor emergency queens. They are not all poor, but some were and rather than blame the circumstances (flow, number of bees to feed etc.) they tried to explain it with too old of a larvae. The concept that they start with too old of a larvae is well over 130 years old I'm sure.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesemergencyqueens.htm

""It has been stated by a number of beekeepers who should know better (including myself) that the bees are in such a hurry to rear a queen that they choose larvae too old for best results. later observation has shown the fallacy of this statement and has convinced me that bees do the very best that can be done under existing circumstances."--Jay Smith, Better Queens.

"If it were true, as formerly believed, that queenless bees are in such haste to rear a queen that they will select a larva too old for the purpose, then it would hardly do to wait even nine days. A queen is matured in fifteen days from the time the egg is laid, and is fed throughout her larval lifetime on the same food that is given to a worker-larva during the first three days of its larval existence. So a worker-larva more than three days old, or more than six days from the laying of the egg would be too old for a good queen. If, now, the bees should select a larva more than three days old, the queen would emerge in less than nine days. I think no one has ever known this to occur. Bees do not prefer too old larvae. As a matter of fact bees do not use such poor judgment as to select larvae too old when larvae sufficiently young are present, as I have proven by direct experiment and many observations."--Fifty Years Among the Bees, C.C. Miller
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

User avatar
Nordak
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:24 am
Location: Arkansas

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Nordak » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:37 pm

Thanks Michael. Hard to argue with Miller's logic on the matter.

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Queen rearing

Postby moebees » Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:54 pm

Ya thanks Michael. I think unless I see information to the contrary my conclusion is notching is probably a waste of time and some brood. I may try in once or twice as an experiment but probably will forget it.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

User avatar
Ferdi
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:00 pm
Location: Istanbul

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Ferdi » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:15 pm

moebees wrote:Ya thanks Michael. I think unless I see information to the contrary my conclusion is notching is probably a waste of time and some brood. I may try in once or twice as an experiment but probably will forget it.

I tried OTS queen rearing once but it did not work for me. Bees chose another larvae from the area I had not notched at all.

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Queen rearing

Postby moebees » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:04 pm

Ferdi wrote,
I tried OTS queen rearing once but it did not work for me. Bees chose another larvae from the area I had not notched at all.


Thanks Ferdi. I like to get feedback from people who have tried it.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

lharder
Hobbyist
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 6:36 pm
Location: Kamloops, BC

Re: Queen rearing

Postby lharder » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:11 pm

Also if one is slipping in empty foundationless frames into the broodnest, there is always some new comb with young larvae for the bees to work with.

Most of my queens this year were emergency queens using snelgrove boards. I would say they were of more consistent quality compared to a few cut cell queens that I tried. I found my queen cups that had gone missing last year so will try my hand at grafting next year. But most important is getting new queens well fed regardless of method.

User avatar
Nordak
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:24 am
Location: Arkansas

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Nordak » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:32 pm

lharder wrote:Also if one is slipping in empty foundationless frames into the broodnest, there is always some new comb with young larvae for the bees to work with.


I'm with Jay Smith on that observation. I've noticed in my TBHs, given the choice, the bees prefer building queen cells on new comb vs.the older, tougher brood comb. Best I can tell, with newer wax and ample bees:food ratio, emergency cells are as good as a swarm cell queen. Perhaps the notching method would work beneficially if all one had was tougher comb? The bees may draw cells along the perimeter of the notched area. Complete speculation.

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Queen rearing

Postby moebees » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:59 pm

Nordak wrote:
Perhaps the notching method would work beneficially if all one had was tougher comb? The bees may draw cells along the perimeter of the notched area. Complete speculation.


That is the idea but I haven't been able to figure out if it really works or not. Mel Disselkoen promotes it and says it works great but most the discussions and videos I can find seem to be failures. I can understand that there may be a high failure rate among first time attempts but a recent video of Mel himself doing the notching in a 10 frame double deep resulted in a few cells at the bottom of a frame (I don't think he made notches there) and a single cell on a frame where he supposedly notched. The rest of his notches were repaired by the bees. I realize that is just one example and even the expert could have a one off miss. But until I see evidence of when it works well I remain skeptical. I am willing to be convinced otherwise but right now I am skeptical. There are a number of people that follow "Mel's Method" but when they discuss it they are usually speaking about the early spring splits followed by the July splits but there is little about notching success. At least what I have found anyway.

What lharder says about new comb I think is right on. On a partially drawn frame of foundation you will often see a number of lovely cells around the perimeter of the drawn portion of the frame.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

User avatar
Nordak
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:24 am
Location: Arkansas

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Nordak » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:13 pm

The belief of Jay Smith, among others, was that all other variables equal in the queen rearing equation, and given the larvae are on newly drawn comb, no larval cocoons to impede drawing QC's, emergency queens were as good as any other method. I think many folks trying to raise emergency queens aren't aware of how newer wax can really help achieve good results.

User avatar
Nordak
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:24 am
Location: Arkansas

Re: Queen rearing

Postby Nordak » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:23 pm

Perhaps notching an old brood frame, letting them build new wax on the perimeter and letting the queen lay in the fresh comb could accomplish cells being drawn toward the bottom. Would make cell removal easier for distribution. Might try it as an experiment sometime.


Return to “Advanced Beekeeping”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest