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Thread: Nuc as a cell raiser question

  1. #11
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    I bought the David Woodward book and frankly I was disappointed by it. It contains those unnecessary frilly bits which have been shown many years ago to be pointless. Terry Clare was the first I heard, 9 years ago, saying this is unnecessary:

    'To increase the acceptance of grafted larvae it is important to 'prime' the queen cell cups once they have been attached to the cell bar ..... In a hive that has been prepared for feeding grafted larvae it is important to place the cell cups in the middle of the brood for one or two days prior to grafting. Priming is essential if a high percentage of grafted larvae are to be accepted.'

    Nope, it really isn't. What is essential is that the stock is in good condition and well fed, then you can get 90%+ of larvae accepted immediately in a rearranged queenright system as mentioned above. He also says 'larvae to be grafted should be 12-24 hrs old and larvae older than 36 hrs after hatching are unsuitable.' We reckon about 6 hrs old is a good guide, 24 hrs far too old and anything anywhere near 36 hrs is going to give really poor intercastes.

    As for the Cloake board, my two queen rearing partners used to use one but it requires several visits and takes time to prepare. Over a couple of years we came to the conclusion that despite the extra visits it didn't give any better results than the simpler methods from Wilkinson and Brown and other methods mostly discussed on here (thanks Jon ). No reason not to use the Cloake board method if you wish of course, it is just that it isn't necessary. By far the over-riding influence on the success rate (as long as you are not clumsy with the young larvae) is the prosperity of the colonies. At times last summer (during prolonged wet weather) even the young brood in the donor colonies was being abandoned and we struggled to get many queen cells to take. A bit embarrassing as we were preparing for our queen rearing workshops at which we'd promised to have Amm queen cells available for the participants to take away.

  2. #12
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    The most critical issue of all is weather which in queen rearing is often not considered.

    If it is cool or worse wet and cool then forget it. Wait.

    Now this is the problem with all these wonderful methods, they can be and often are inflexible. That in turn leads to very poor success rates due to having to offer grafts at the wrong time climatically. I once grafted for 12 days with virtually no success, the skys dried up the temperature rose and I had the best ever succeess. (32 from 36) It is for this reason that so many use shook nurse bees and graft. KISS

    PH

  3. #13
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Just started reading Larry Conner's Queen rearing essentials and he uses a nuc-sized cell starter.

    In a previous life I've run queen rearing courses where we started 50 cells in a single box - using a specially modified crownboard taking Nicot (?) cups - stuffed full of nurse bees. Acceptance rates were great - 45+ was not unusual. We then distributed these around the association to people with Ben Harden/Wilkinson & Brown queenright cell finishers. Finishing rate was less good, though I suspect some had the Q above the QE (!) ... however the real problems started when relative beginners tried to manage mini-nucs. I think the latter is probably the most difficult aspect of queen rearing on a modest scale.

    And predicting the weather.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by madasafish View Post
    Paul
    Look at using a Cloake Board. This is simply a QE between two halves of a two nuc colony . There is a removable board under the QE which enables you (if Q is in lower nuc) to make upper nuc Q- to start Q raising and remove it after 24 hours to make upper nuc Q+ (The lower nuc needs r rear entrance or have a reversed floor.
    (For FULL directions see D Cushman or even better http://theapiarist.org/cloake-board-queen-rearing/)

    I used it last year to raise queens and it is VERY simple to use,much less stressful for the bees - and more importantly - the beekeeper. (See also David Woodward's book Queen bee: Biology, Rearing and Breeding which is modern and very well written.. and he describes the method as well)
    I laughed when I read this for two reasons:

    1. I have cloak board I bought from Thornes a few years ago and never used.
    2. I have that book I bought from Amazon and .... well you can guess the rest.

    Thanks for the nudge.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatshark View Post
    ... however the real problems started when relative beginners tried to manage mini-nucs. I think the latter is probably the most difficult aspect of queen rearing on a modest scale.
    The grafting bit was easy for me, the mating nucs are the painful bit. I have got the Lyson mini nuc now that are bigger and easier to fiddle with. If I make enough queens I want to overwinter a few in the mating nucs.

    Reading the beesource thread I like the idea of running a queenless nuc and feeding it a frame once a week to keep it going. There is a tip there as well to drop in a frame of eggs a few days before the graft to get them in feeding mode, not sure how true it is but seems harmless.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_ View Post
    The grafting bit was easy for me, the mating nucs are the painful bit. I have got the Lyson mini nuc now that are bigger and easier to fiddle with. If I make enough queens I want to overwinter a few in the mating nucs.

    Reading the beesource thread I like the idea of running a queenless nuc and feeding it a frame once a week to keep it going. There is a tip there as well to drop in a frame of eggs a few days before the graft to get them in feeding mode, not sure how true it is but seems harmless.
    As opposed to me who finds grafting virtually impossible (old age .varifocals) and managing mini nucs relatively easy (learned from Association apiary and my own mistakes).

  7. #17
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    I use a double nuc system quite a bit as well.
    If you remove the queen from a nuc in May, you can run it queenless right through until August as long as you add a couple of frames of brood every week to keep numbers up and prevent the development of laying workers.
    You need to check these added frames weekly and remove any queen cells the bees start on them.
    Adding a frame of pollen from time to time helps as well.
    I put in a frame of grafts and remove them to an incubator 5 days later when the cells are sealed.

    The Wilkinson and Brown paper mentioned above is here
    Last edited by Jon; 20-01-2018 at 12:02 PM.

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    MAF? I use varifocals but asked the ASDA optician to make grafting glasses for me. They were intrigued and novelty for them is pretty rare I suppose and the end result is excellent for a mere 40.

    PH

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poly Hive View Post
    MAF? I use varifocals but asked the ASDA optician to make grafting glasses for me. They were intrigued and novelty for them is pretty rare I suppose and the end result is excellent for a mere 40.

    PH
    Just had new varifocals and told optician about bees so my nearsight vision has now got an element of magnification built in..

  10. #20
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    I've read prosperity and weather are critical to success and I disagree. Use a strong queenless cell starter amply fed for a while before hand and during cell raising and it matters not a hoot what conditions are outside the hive, give them everything they need inside the hive!
    (Maybe it is easier when conditions are ideal, my point is that you can still achieve near optimal queen rearing conditions inside the hive by adding pollen and syrup liberally and confound natures attempts to thwart us)
    Last edited by mbc; 22-01-2018 at 07:41 PM.

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