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Thread: Eggs for starters?

  1. #1

    Default Eggs for starters?

    We're seeking to build up the Ardnamurchan Amm stocks after winter losses and SNHBS is testing distribution of eggs as well as queen cells for queen rearing this season.

    I'm being offered eggs by some Amm beekeepers who don't live nearby but how do I go about having them accepted?

    As I understand it, introducing eggs from an unfamiliar colony to a cell raiser colony will result in them being eaten or destroyed. Once the eggs hatch into larvae they give off the "feed me" pheromone so have a good chance of being accepted and fed. But, if I wait until the eggs hatch, the larvae surely risk starving, drying out or/and becoming damaged before they are introduced and fed in the cell-raiser?

    Or shall I just try introducing eggs, having give the cell-raiser 7-9 days to clear any potential queen raising material already in the colony?

    Please share any experience/knowledge you may have to help us with this.
    Last edited by Kate Atchley; 12-06-2017 at 02:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Laidlaw and Eckert's Queen Rearing has some details on this if I remember correctly ... I'll try and have a look tonight if I can find my copy. There are PDF's online but you need to register with an email and I daren't because of the tsunami of spam it's likely to generate ...

  3. #3

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    Thanks fatshark. Don't have their book. Kind of you to check if out for us.

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Hmmm ... I must be getting (more) decrepit. I can't find reference to mailing eggs in that book, though I didn't read all of it but just skimmed the likely sections as I had some supers to extract

    Cushman has a few words on the subject - http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/postaleggs.html - suggesting getting them up to temperature in an incubator before adding them to a queenless nuc.

    Is the 'eating' of mismatched eggs an example of worker policing? Moritz, Tautz and colleagues looked at viability of queen-laid and worker-laid eggs and concluded that egg viability determines egg removal ... worker laid eggs were less viable and removed more often. They observed 80% hatching in queen laid eggs. They stuck the eggs in a queenright hive and protected them with mesh before hatching.

    What's not clear from their study is whether the eggs 'matched' the queen, or were from other colonies.

    Ratnieks has done some more studies on working policing but that was with queen-laid eggs 'matched' to the colony, so not relevant to your situation.

    I'd be interested to hear how you get on (and will try and find the reference I was thinking of).

  5. #5
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    Transferring eggs for queen raising is discussed in Steve Tabor 's "Breeding super bees", iirc it was more effort than it was worth.

  6. #6

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    Thanks mac. There it was on my shelf ... page 32. Will give it a thorough read.
    Last edited by Kate Atchley; 14-06-2017 at 03:02 PM.

  7. #7

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    I tied this a few years ago Kate. Had eggs sent to me through the post. Gave them to a queenless broodless apidea. Whilst the eggs didn't get eaten they didn't hatch either so the experiment was a failure. I wouldn't write it off completely but I'd be wary of sending a few eggs in a wee bit of comb. I think a couple of inches square might give a better chance. Mine were also posted during a heatwave and I'm sure that didn't help.

  8. #8

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    Thanks Gerry. Interesting.

    Assuming the eggs are not damaged on arrival, maybe a larger cell-raiser would give them the best chance? I was thinking of a double-broodbox polynuc with12 frames, bursting with young bees and stores.

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drumgerry View Post
    I tied this a few years ago Kate. Had eggs sent to me through the post. Gave them to a queenless broodless apidea. Whilst the eggs didn't get eaten they didn't hatch either so the experiment was a failure. I wouldn't write it off completely but I'd be wary of sending a few eggs in a wee bit of comb. I think a couple of inches square might give a better chance. Mine were also posted during a heatwave and I'm sure that didn't help.
    Were they kept humid in the post?

    Like Kate, I think that Apideas are a bit wee. I've used a single Paynes polynuc, stuffed with young bees, for starting queen cells and it seemed OK.

  10. #10

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    I wasn't planning to raise the queens from the apidea! All I wanted the apidea to do was hatch the eggs and then I'd graft the larvae into a cell raiser. They were wrapped in tissue/kitchen roll in the post. It may or may not have started out moist at the beginning of the journey. It was a very small piece of comb and only contained a few eggs so the chances of success were much reduced.

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