Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/108641/domains/speedkin.com/html/wp-content/themes/StandardTheme/admin/functions.php on line 115
DIY Equipment for Queen Rearing | Speedkin

DIY Equipment for Queen Rearing

(With all of this sitting on my butt, I have time to go through backed up photos now. If I weren’t so incredibly lazy, I might get through all of them before I’m back on my feet.)

Before I forget, fellow beekeepers or even those just interested in history, take a look at this link to old, old volumes of American Bee Journal. How cool is that?  They go back well into the 1800s.  Oh, and here’s an interesting book:  A Thousand Answers to Beekeeping Questions (1917).  Thanks to John at TV for those links!

Okay, so now let me introduce you to a Guy we know from the Mississippi Valley Beekeepers Association.  (No, really.  His name is Guy.  It took me months to figure that out.)  He has been doing some queen rearing over the past few years.  He taught us all a bit out queen rearing in last year’s beginning beekeeping class but it all went right over my head, me being a complete newbie.  This year, he gave his class again and, this time, some of it was able to sink through my thick skull.  Enough so that I can see myself wanting to play with queen rearing at some point in the future.

He bought in some of his equipment for us all to fondle and I’m so glad he did.  Seeing it in person makes it go click in my head much better.  Let’s see how much of the info is still “clicked” and how much I butcher as I try to explain the equipment & process in simple-enough-for-me terms so I can refer back to this later.

He takes a queen and traps her in the cage below.  It’s a couple of queen excluders he puts in around a fresh frame of… nothing.  The intention here is to get her to lay eggs in the one frame all in one time frame — a day, if I remember correctly.  Then he moves her to the next frame to do another day’s eggs.  And so on until he has enough eggs for his purposes.

Here’s another shot of the “cage”, partially lifted up so you can see how it all fits together.

And the top to the cage, of course.

Now here’s where I start getting confused.  At some point in this process, he removes the eggs with a grafting tool and places them in special queen cups (of which I got no photos).  There are several queen cups mounted on modified frames (no pics of these, either.  Doh.) and the nurse bees feed them all royal jelly for the appropriate time.  If all goes well, on day whatever (just pretend with me that I remember the exact days), he has several queens emerging.  If the queens were left to emerge in normal circumstances, the eldest queen would go around ripping open other queen cells, killing them all.  But, since Guy has planned it all so well and isolated the eggs laid within a narrow time frame, they all emerge within hours and it’s not a problem.

He can then remove the queens to their own areas with some bees to get them started.  Below is a box, modified to house three new queens and their soon-to-be-growing families.  Each section holds three frames with some chipboard completely isolating the sections from their neighbors.  It’s like a little bee condo.

Each section has its own cover so he can work one without disturbing the others.

The each have their own entrances as well.  Two on one side…

And the third on the other side.

Once the queens have been doing their thing and the colonies have grown enough, they get moved up to a nuc.

A genius process, right?  I can’t wait to try it!  Okay, I can wait.  But I am looking forward to trying it in a couple of years once I have some more experience!

Thanks to Guy of Spoons Farm Honey for the great teaching and a chance to look over your equipment!  I’m pretty sure he sells at the Farmers’ Market in Quincy, Illinois if you’re looking for some of the good stuff.

One Response to “DIY Equipment for Queen Rearing”

  1. Oldnovice March 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Interesting, and told in a way that a non-bee person (like me) can understand! I followed the bee tales of those two girls who homestead in Washington state that we all met on CE a number of years ago. Their posts were interesting, as well.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>