YES, it's easy just to order a queen, and for 20 bucks or so,
it’s a good deal. However, if you crave
the self-sustainability of raising your own queens, looking to save $$, interested in deepening the queen gene-pool, then maybe queen raising
is for you.
In northern climates, queens lay up to 2000 eggs per day
for four to five months. Even without changing all those diapers, she gets worn out.An older queen, the presence of mites and disease, decreased
pheromone levels can cause a hive to swarm or supercedure.To keep hives happy and healthy,
beekeepers know it is important to have a young, productive queen. This means
replacing the queen every two years or less depending on her performance.There are varying ways to raise queens,
ranging from simple to more complex.
At our last meeting, we heard about the queen raising experiences and techniques of Bob Sitko, Adrian Quiney, Yuuki Metreaud and Joe Meyer (Fourseasonsapiaries.com). Here are
some methods that were discussed and the associated links for you to research
the details on your own.
The most straight-forward and easy method is the Walk Away
Split.If you have time, and don’t mind
not producing honey in this hive for the season, this may be for you.
Walk Away Split – This
method takes a long time but is simple. You take a 2 deep hive and divide
it in half. You just split it and walk away. However you will not get new
bees for 1.5 months but it does put a break in the brood cycle and may stall
swarming. You should be sure both deeps have honey, pollen, open and
capped brood. The hive without the queen will go 6 weeks before it has
emerging brood. You can add capped brood 3 weeks after splitting to give
the hive a boost in nurse bees. http://www.beverlybees.com/queen-rearing-dean-stiglitz/
Bob Sitko uses Jack Knives and Hair Curlers
Bob Sitko started off the discussion with some of the more
interesting methods that he has used.
The Jack knife method is
taking a frame of eggs and inserting a knife blade into a cell and bending the
lower part of the cell down flat against the foundation. Every cell you do this
to, the bees will build a queen cell.
Starting with a box
with 5 frame plastic plugs, Bob uses a hair curler looking thingy. The hair Curler is a long
round plastic cage that is put over a sealed queen cell
to capture the newly hatched queen so she doesn’t kill her sister queens.
Besides being FUN and making us
more self-sufficient, Adrian says that queen rearing can be as simple or
as complicated as you wish to make it.It’s easy to get bogged down with all the gizmos that are used, but all
that is really needed for the backyard beekeeper are some spare boxes, lids,
Adrian learned a lot from the
practices of these beekeepers:
Other beekeepers who have inspired Adrian are Brother Adam and Harry Hyde
Laidlow.Brother Adam was a monk who
immigrated to England from Germany and was famous for developing a thrifty
productive bee which was resistant to tracheal mites. He wrote a popular
book entitled Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Kehrle
We were lucky enough to be joined by two beekeepers from Four Seasons
Apiaries, Yuuki Metreaud and Joe Meyer.They shared information on their methods for raising queens.They will soon have queens for sale.