A few things I learned the hard way in queen-breeding – John Caldeira

A few things I learned the hard way in queen-breeding:

First, if you want 40 queens, graft 100 queen cups. Maybe 70 or 80 will take, and some can be cut to reduce the number in each cell-raising colony to 20 max so they will be well-fed.

Then choose only the largest cells – destroy the rest. And start 50 nucs because some won’t mate successfully.

Numbers will vary depending on conditions, but you get the idea – there will be losses at every step in the process.

Secondly, graft a few more cell cups 3 or 4 days after the main graft. Check the nucs the day after the first grafts should have emerged (a nice, round opening at the bottom of the cell), and put a second ripe cell in the nucs that look like the first didn’t emerge successfully.

Don’t leave them out of the hive very long, as they need to be well-fed. Best to limit the number of queen cells in each cell-builder colony so the queens will develop to their full potential with plenty of royal jelly.

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