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View Full Version : Queen Rearing Kits and Mini Nucs, Which One?


Ando
4th May 2010, 03:25 PM
Hi All

Being a newbie to Queen Rearing, I was looking at ordering a Queen rearing kit and Mini Nuc, there are a few different ones out there and wondered which ones you prefer and which ones to keep clear off?

Any Advice would be great thanks.

Mark.

jezd
11th May 2010, 09:05 PM
My first year in serious queen rearing, have 10 x Warnholz Mating nucs and also a number of home made mating nucs that I inherited, just waiting for Cupkit system to arrive. Weather looking better after this week and we have drones finally so 'play ball'.

Others on here have lots of experience - for myself I am avoiding grafting at this stage.

JD

Poly Hive
11th May 2010, 10:03 PM
If you are serious about Queen rearing then I seriously urge you to learn to graft.

Why?

It means you can short cut the "system". Because and trust me on this if the bees can they will avoid the cups and leave you with a bonny liad up kit, and no "grafts".

I have in the past literally grafted out of the Jenter as the Q had avoided every last plug.

These kits are invented to save the novice having to graft but grafting is in reality pretty easy and a huge tool to have on your side.

PH

Hivemaker.
11th May 2010, 10:17 PM
If you are serious about Queen rearing then I seriously urge you to learn to graft.

Why?

It means you can short cut the "system". Because and trust me on this if the bees can they will avoid the cups and leave you with a bonny liad up kit, and no "grafts".

I have in the past literally grafted out the Jenter as the Q had avoided every last plug.

These kits are invented to save the novice having to graft but grafting is in reality pretty easy and a huge tool to have on your side.

PH
Absolutely agree,grafting is the way to go.....easier..faster,and a much more flexible method.

Mike a
11th May 2010, 10:27 PM
I bought two Swi-Bine 's and to be honest I don't like them. I'm sure they will wear in but the door slides and under tray are very stiff, plus the feeder at the back is fixed in place which limits the amount of usable space for the bees to build comb in.

So I bought four Kieler mini nuc's from the supplier in Devon who is an active member of this forum. The nuc is larger over all and the feeder is removable which frees up space for two more mini top bars when required.

I made my own top bars and like jezd this will be my first year in queen rearing as I have 4 association members waiting for colonies this year so far.

Poly Hive
11th May 2010, 10:48 PM
Will take pics of mine. Mini's that is. LOL

PH

Bcrazy
12th May 2010, 02:08 PM
I have tried both methods Cup kit and grafting (with a fine glass pipette) and must agree that the grafting method is better than the kit method. the bees seem to take to the larvae in the containers (cant think of the name of the little cup that fits onto the frame). they the bees for some reason seem shy of the little brown cups with larvae in. Just an observation.

Onge
12th May 2010, 05:43 PM
So do you also recommend making your own cups (as in dipping wooden dowels in wax), and sticking these to a bar?

Bcrazy
12th May 2010, 06:28 PM
Hi Onge
I don't make my own cups I use the plastic pop in coulored cups, I also place the empty frames in for a couple of days so the bees put their smell over tha cups and frame.

beebreeder
12th May 2010, 09:21 PM
Bees will build queen cells when in the right setup, ie a box crammed with bees that have no queen and a huge population of nurse bees with lots of stores, introduce a frame of grafts and I have found that bees will build cells in all the different cells both wax and plastic and some straight from the box and onto the frame. Its as important that box of bees are ready for the job..

Bcrazy
12th May 2010, 09:32 PM
a box crammed with bees that have no queen and a huge population of nurse bees with lots of stores,

I don't mean to bee pickety but we can as i do raise queens in a queen right colony and as you rightly say it needs loads and loads of house bees,

Ando
24th May 2010, 03:29 PM
Hi Guys

Thanks for all the replies, just got round to reading through them all.

I going to have a go with the cup kit I purchased, with the Apidea Nucs I also brought to see how they go, I want to replace some queens and fancy trying these out.

I am also 3 weeks into a Queen Rearing Course with my local BKA, which we are going to learn to graft as part of the course.

I have really got the Beekeeping bug and long may it continue.

Cheers

Mark.

andypigeon
24th May 2010, 04:53 PM
i have a cupkit one and i dont like it at all, its much easier to graft.

beebreeder
25th May 2010, 01:12 AM
I have 2 cupkit boxes and have had great success with them in the past but they do require repeated visits to the colonies and in distant out apiaries that becomes unpractical, this year with hivemakers encouragement I have been grafting all the time with a 00 paint brush straight into new brown cells and I have now got up to an average 75 % take, the only way I would go back to cupkit is if I get the shakes or bad eyes.
The cupkit system is good because each queen cell can be caged just in case one emerges early, the cells can also be moved and strored in an incubator to keep the routine going.
kev

Polyanwood
25th May 2010, 09:52 AM
I tried grafting last year and am trying cupkit this year. I think cupkit is easier. Perhaps the take rate is less, but that doesn't worry me. What would worry me would be if I was getting less good queens... but no evidence of that is there?

Ando
25th May 2010, 12:02 PM
My kit is the one that Marcos sells, the NC one, forget the rest of the name, I have put it in the hive this morning before work, will check it at lunch to see if she has laid any if she has I will let her out. I'll try and get a pic or 2. I like the look of it as I think the bees don;t have to draw out the comb on it unlike other kits I have seen at the local BKA. So I'm interested to see if HM likes it or not.

Also I didn't put all the brown cups on it as I wont have room for them all if she does lay, I have put about 60 in, as I only want to try about 10 or so at a time. Will it matter that they aren't all there?


Cheers

Mark

susbees
25th May 2010, 01:05 PM
I am also 3 weeks into a Queen Rearing Course with my local BKA, which we are going to learn to graft as part of the course.



Sounds like a lot of coffee drinking. Three weeks and no grafting ;)??

Got Keilers here. Main issue with the grafting we found on our course was finding right age larvae in dark comb with no magnification. And that was the same for everyone. The light stuff was doable :).

Ando
25th May 2010, 04:08 PM
Sounds like a lot of coffee drinking. Three weeks and no grafting ;)??.
lol Yep there does seem to be a lot of coffee drinking going on! Its mainly down to the weather the first week it was to cold to look through the Hives the next week we had a quick look at them to see which ones were going to be chosen, then last week a good inspection through them to choose 2 for honey production and the rest to raise queens, manipulate with new QC etc. then we had a look at Grafting and the ways to do it, this week I think we'll be doing a bit more after a look in the apiary. but its not got a time scale really just seeing how things go and sort of managing the hives between the peeps on the course but being shown the techniques to raise queens in different ways.

It has got me really hooked on Bees now, but like how Marine Fish tanks and Growing Corals did a few years back.

Cheers

Mark

Polyanwood
25th May 2010, 04:59 PM
I have had a problem wiht the bees making brace comb inside the feeders of the Kieler mininucs, but not with the Apideas or the the cheaper copies of Apideas, as they both have thin plastic crownboards... which I now plan to have a go at making to fit to the Kielers!

susbees
25th May 2010, 10:54 PM
The Keilers on our queen raising course had a thick polythene "crown board" attached with drawing pins. Now I see why ;)

jezd
30th May 2010, 01:51 AM
I tried grafting last year and am trying cupkit this year. I think cupkit is easier. Perhaps the take rate is less, but that doesn't worry me. What would worry me would be if I was getting less good queens... but no evidence of that is there?

Working cupkit here too, started a little late due to drone shortage but just checked for eggs tonight and she had layed in every single cup - very pleased. In terms of preperation I used a new kit but applied honey to each cup with a kids paint brush and left for a couple of days. Next I placed it in with the bees to warm it up and clean it out for 24hrs, once clean I locked the queen in the cupkit cage for 24hrs and hey presto part one done and 100 eggs.

Will be using a large double brood hive to act as starter and finisher, using cloake board to make top part queenless (as QC starter) for a few days before reuniting (as QC finisher).

JD

Polyanwood
30th May 2010, 08:43 AM
I was told to paint the outside of the cups on the bar with wax... not sure if it helps... not heard of painting the inside of the tiny cups the queen lays in with honey, but I see it makes sense.

jezd
30th May 2010, 11:49 AM
I was told to paint the outside of the cups on the bar with wax... not sure if it helps... not heard of painting the inside of the tiny cups the queen lays in with honey, but I see it makes sense.

My first time on this system, I may have heard wrong in doing the honey thing in the cup, but it worked and every cell had an egg in it.

This was a brand new kit mind.

marcros
30th May 2010, 05:16 PM
My first time on this system, I may have heard wrong in doing the honey thing in the cup, but it worked and every cell had an egg in it.

This was a brand new kit mind.

When I use the cupkit system, I take a piece of brace comb if available, and smear it over the face of the cupkit cassette (with cups in place). I put it in the hive for 24 hours. After this time, it has been cleaned out by the bees and the cups are readily laid up.

RoofTops
30th May 2010, 07:02 PM
Priming the cups with honey is what Nicoplast, who make the simliar Corpularva casette recommend. Another tip is to use one of the cream coloured sockets to remove the brown cup from the back of the cassette as sometimes they can get stuck, particularly if you have sprayed them with sugar syrup.

jezd
30th May 2010, 07:18 PM
the biggest trick I have used to date was to apply petroleum jelly to the box cover/QE fixings, they are too tight when new and would have caused damage trying to open up when on the hive

darrenperrett
30th May 2010, 07:30 PM
the biggest trick I have used to date was to apply petroleum jelly to the box cover/QE fixings, they are too tight when new and would have caused damage trying to open up when on the hive

Good idea Jezd.
I thought i was going to break the QE when i went in to release the Queen.

BTW, I Didn`t prime my cups with anything and she had layed them up ok. Whether i manage to get any mated Q`s out of it is another question.
My enthusiasm always seems to be well ahead of my practical experience, lol.

Darren.

Poly Hive
31st May 2010, 09:57 PM
Bcrazy? Whyn on earth are you using a pipette? Suction applied to a larvae cannot be good at all for her. Bearing in mind she is to head your hive for three years would it not be good practice to practice what all the serous queen rearers do which is to lift the larvae out GENTLY.

Using a grafting tool, you can press the metal into the wax of the cup to allow a gentle landing of the grub.

All these ideas are not new, they are tried and tested over (I guess by now millions of grafts)

so why try to invent a new way?

PH

jezd
6th June 2010, 03:35 AM
Update on my first run, from 20 egg cups I have had only 2 taken and almost capped off - bit disappointed but I will start the process again this week.

The hard part with the cupkit system is getting the cup out of its box socket, I need to find an easy/quick way to do it.

JD

RoofTops
6th June 2010, 09:20 AM
The hard part with the cupkit system is getting the cup out of its box socket, I need to find an easy/quick way to do it.

JD

See my reply above - use the cream coloured socket the cup is going to be fitted to as a tool for removing it from the cassette.

Sorry to hear the acceptance was so poor. The main thing with queen rearing is to have lots of well fed nurse bees but changes in the weather can make them change their minds about queen rearing. I used a beefood containing pollen this year and smeared it on the grafting frame as well as a larger amount above the brood frames. The bees wolfed it down. I only got 10 out of 16 sealed cells and the ones which were not accepted were mostly the first ones I grafted and I think they dried out while I was grafting the cups at the other end of the bar. A solution to this might have been to prime each cup with diluted royal jelly stolen from an unsealed queen cell but the best solution might be just to get better and quicker at grafting! Or use a Cupkit of course.

jezd
7th June 2010, 12:17 AM
thanks, I think I just need to be quicker on transferring cups.

next batch starts tomorrow.

Jez

robertodemarco
5th July 2011, 01:22 PM
can you give me the suppliers name & addressx of the nuc's pleaswe.

The Apprentices
30th July 2011, 09:44 PM
Hi All

Being a newbie to Queen Rearing, I was looking at ordering a Queen rearing kit and Mini Nuc, there are a few different ones out there and wondered which ones you prefer and which ones to keep clear off?

Any Advice would be great thanks.

Mark.

Have you had a flick through Dave Cushman's site yet, there are several tried and tested methods there including cell punches.

Crg
31st July 2011, 11:53 AM
My first time on this system, I may have heard wrong in doing the honey thing in the cup, but it worked and every cell had an egg in it.

This was a brand new kit mind.

I used to apply wax to the cells, but this year ran an experiment and found it doesn't matter. What matters is how much the queen wants to lay eggs, which you can help by providing plenty of neopoll/pollen if there's not much pollen coming in.

Crg
31st July 2011, 11:53 AM
Update on my first run, from 20 egg cups I have had only 2 taken and almost capped off - bit disappointed but I will start the process again this week.

Did you transfer the cups as eggs or larvae?

Crg
31st July 2011, 12:05 PM
thanks, I think I just need to be quicker on transferring cups.

You have a fair amount of time. People have taken grubs from my place and transported around London before putting them in queen raising colonies.

The acceptance has varied from a couple accepted to 90% accepted, and I think that's more to do with the bees in the queen rearing colony that anything.

Some bees are more accepting than others.

Spomenko
30th August 2011, 07:30 AM
You can drill holes in wood, the size of the cell, then soak in the wax, put the egg (larva), a little royal jelly from other cells, all to put on the frame, frame in a good colony of bees with a blocking Queen nut and that's it.

drstitson
30th August 2011, 04:02 PM
live material for grafting is well recognised to survive transatlantic travel if wrapped in damp cloth so cross london no problem.