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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jennifer Berry and Queen Rearing

Tonight Jennifer Berry talked to the Metro Atlanta Beekeeper's Club meeting about queen rearing. She talked a little about grafting, but focused on choosing the bees from which to rear your new queen. I was most interested in what she said about hygienic queens.

She chooses the hive from which to make a queen based on many factors including honey production (which she said was 15% genetics and 85% management), hygenic behavior, gentleness, and several other factors. She said to determine whether a queen was raising bees who were hygenic, you can do the following:
  • Cut a section of comb out of a brood frame - about 3- 4 inches round or square
  • Count the number of empty cells, ones with pollen, or ones with honey so you'll know how many in the section did not contain brood to begin with
  • Freeze the section overnight in the freezer
  • Return the section to the brood frame and toothpick it back in place
  • The next day (24 hours later) check on the section and count the empty cells.
Since all of the brood in the frozen section will now be dead, what you want to find is that the bees have cleaned out the cells in the section. This will be a great indicator of good hygenic behavior and will then indicate a hive from which to raise a queen. If they don't do a good job of cleaning out the dead cells, then you wouldn't choose to raise a queen from this hive.

Isn't that fascinating?

BTW, her reference for a good book about queen rearing is Successful Queen Rearing by Spivak.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:41 PM

    I totally agree, hygienic bees are the ones to breed from.

    ReplyDelete

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