Archive for the ‘Queen Rearing’ Category

New Queens

New Queen Cells actually.  On Friday I received some ready to emerge queen cells from a queen producer.  They were overnighted and I picked them up at the UPS Customer Service Center in Bristol.  The lady that handed them over to me asked “Are there really Honeybees in there?”  They were packaged very well with no chance of any escaping, so she had nothing to worry about.

Queens are really just worker bees that have been given the royal treatment, in fact the substance that all bee larvae receive is called royal jelly.  You can actually buy royal jelly in health food stores and is quite poplar in some cultures.  Queens are feed 100 times more royal jelly than worker bees, and therefore develop into specialized bees.  Knowledgeable beekeepers can manipulate hives to get them to produce queen cells on demand.  It is fairly time consuming however and careful attention must be paid.

I ordered these a while back and planned on using some of them in the new hives I wrote about in my last post.  Turns out the weather didn’t cooperate and I needed to pick the splits up earlier than expected.  So I ended up putting most of these in mini hives to allow the queens to emerge and mate.  I’ll check on them in 10-14 day to look for a laying queen.  That is usually long enough for the mating process to run its course.  I’ll use them to replace marginal queens, make a couple of mid-summer splits, and maybe even sell a few.

I was only able to make enough mating nucs for about half of the cells so I put the rest in the top of a strong hive.  I had to put a queen excluder (special screen to keep queen away) in to keep the queen from eliminating the newly emerged virgin queens.  I placed each queen cell in a special queen cage designed for just this purpose.  Then I surrounded the frames with nurse bees to help care for the newly emerged queens.  I will likely look to sell some of these as virgin queens to help defray the cost of purchasing them.






11 Mar

Nosema ?

Posted by gmeadevt in Queen Rearing. Tagged: , .

I noticed the other day some evidence of a light Nosema problem in one of my hives.  You’ll see in the photo there is some brown speckling on the outside of the hive, which  is one indication.  Nosema is a fungus that causes the bees to have something similar to a stomach ache.  They won’t eat as much, they can’t process pollen properly and generally don’t do as well.  The only way to know for sure is to have a bees gut analyzed, but according to a 2005 study by Virginia Tech, around 50% of the hives in Virginia had Nosema when tested.

Luckily it is treatable, with an antibiotic, Fumagilin-B, which is widely available through any beekeeping company.  I happened to have some so I mixed up a half gallon according to the directions and gave the medicated syrup to the colony.  It so happens this was one of the overwintered nucs, so there are only 5 frames of bees.  A larger hive would require a full gallon of medicated syrup.  I also went to the trouble to mix in a bit of Honey B Healthy, as that is supposed to help and also make the syrup more attractive.  According to some online research I did spraying the bees directly with the medicated syrup seems to be effective, so I went the extra mile and did that as well.  The theory is that they will clean the syrup off each other and get the medication even if they aren’t actively feeding from the feeder.  Makes sense, but seems like the dosage would be very small.  I’ll let you know if I see an improvement.

I'm fairly sure the stained front entrance you see here is a result of Nosema.

On a brighter note I moved two of my overwintered Nucs into 10 frame hive bodies as they are doing well, and I anticipate them growing rapidly now.  While I was moving them I snapped a couple of photos of the queens.  You’ll see a white dot on their thorax, which I placed there last year.  These are two of the queens I raised in August 2011.  They came from different lineage, which explains why they look a little different.