Before describing various methods of graft free queen rearing, I would like to discuss some of the benefits of raising your own queens. One is genetics. Many beekeepers are wisely looking to genetics as a means of a long term solution to solving the problems associated with the exotic pests and diseases. When you raise your own queens, you can select for desirable traits e.g. disease resistance, hygienic behavior. Usually everyone has a favorite hive or knows a fellow beekeeper that has a hive with desirable traits. The queens in these hives are the cornerstone of improving an apiary.
Genetics is an excellent foundation. You can build on this foundation by controlling the conditions in which the queens are raised by selecting the genetic stock, using chemical free comb and ensuring that they are well fed as they develop.
Finally we all accept the fact the young queens are more productive and less likely to swarm. Having extra queens readily available means being prepared for emergencies; e.g. accidental death of the queen. Because of these reasons, many beekeepers want to take charge of the situation and raise their own queens. Most erroneously assume that grafting is the only way to accomplish this. However, this is not the case. There are multiple methods of graft-free queen rearing. Four methods are presented: Swarm cell, Nucleus, Miller and Hopkins. The reader can choose the method that best suits his/her comfort level and the number of queens desired.
Another consideration before venturing into queen rearing is preparation. Populations need to be strong; a decision needs to be made as to which will be the queen breeder (queen mother) and drone mother hives, and what additional equipment is needed. An adequate supply of protein supplements and feeding stimulants should also be on hand. A schedule should be made especially if the Hopkins or Miller methods are used.
Graft free queen rearing requires between one and four hives depending on the method used. Each will be discussed separately with the corresponding method. At least one mating box/nuc is needed for every queen produced. Early on it will be necessary to decide the number of desired queens and prepare the appropriate number of mating box/nucs.
A large drone population is needed in the cell builder hive(s) in addition to a large worker population. Drones do much more than serve as fodder for bee humor. They are an important, yet overlooked, part of the mating equation. It takes about 12 to 15 drones to mate with a virgin queen. Think of them as flying gametes.
To build and maintain the population of drone mother hives start feeding them a 1:1 sugar syrup solution with a feeding stimulant at least one month before starting to raise queen cells. Feeding needs to continue until the new queen has been mated. If the bees perceive a slow down in nectar flow; e.g. the feeding, they will stop drone production and also start removing developing drones from the hive. Drone production needs to continue right up to the time the queen is mated.
Swarm cell method: Ten to 15 quality queens can be produced from swarm cells. While a swarm cell situation can be created by stimulating a hive, the focus here is the situation where you did not plan for swarm (queen) cells but discover them during a hive inspection. You see that the workers have already built numerous, capped queen cells.
The Queen Development chart shows that the capped cells you are seeing are at least 8.5 days +/- .5 day old. How do we know this? This is because queen cells are capped over at about 8.5 days +/- .5 day. The presence of capped queen cells indicates that the old queen has already left with a swarm which usually leaves within a day before or after capping. Reduced population is also a clue. This can be confirmed by observing a reduced worker population in the hive and the fact that no eggs or very young brood are present.
Although you did not actively work to produce these cells, many of the parameters for producing quality queens are present in this situation. The swarm cells have been produced in a hive that has survived winter, is prospering, and has a population that is healthy and vigorous enough to outgrow their home. These cells are well fed and made in a queen right hive.
Now that you have swarm cells, you have to decide how you want to proceed. You can re-queen the hive, make divisions (nucs) or produce mated queens in mating boxes. If you decide that you have enough hives and simply want to re-queen the mother hive, simply cut out all but one or two queen cells. Let the bees raise their own new queen.
To increase hive numbers you will use the queen cells to set up mating boxes/nucs. The goal is two queen cells per division. Sometimes a queen cell is empty and using two cells increases the likelihood of success.
The number of divisions or mating boxes will be largely dependent on the strength of the hive and the number of available queen cells. In an ideal situation you will find a few brood frames with a couple queen cells each. The frames could be used as is. But more often the queen cells are clustered with many on a single frame. In this case, the cells will have to be removed and distributed to maintain two queen cells per mating box/nuc.
Step 4: Cut out well mottled queen cell(s) from the original hive. These cells should look roughly like the shell of a Virginia peanut. Remove some of the surrounding comb along with the queen cell to avoid damage the developing queen. The extra comb also provides a means to attach the cell to another frame. (See next photo) These cells will be used to set up the queenless mating boxes/nucs.
Step 5: If the nuc or mating box remains in the same yard as the mother hive, add an equal amount of bees to the nuc/mating box to compensate for the fact that the field bees will drift back to the original hive. Be sure the queen is not included when adding the extra bees.
Step 9: Evaluate the results. You should find a laying queen with a good brood pattern. If this is the case, transfer the bees into a standard box. If you were not successful, return the frames to the original hive.
Step 3: If the nuc remains in the same bee yard, brush an equal amount of bees into the nuc to compensate for the field bees drifting back to the original hive. Be sure the queen is not included when adding the extra bees.
Step 6: Wait at least a month before evaluating the results. Looking at queen development chart you can see that she has not been mated until day 20. Virgin queens are flighty and may get lost if they loft. I like to give her another 10 days to settle down and establish a brood pattern. You should find a laying queen with a good brood pattern. If this is the case, transfer the bees into a standard box. If you were not successful, return the frames to the original hive.
Step: 12: Wait 3 weeks before checking the results. You should find a laying queen with a good brood pattern. If this is the case, transfer the bees into a standard box. If you were not successful, return the frames to the original hive.
Unwired frames need be used as this will make later queen cell removal easier.Re-arrange the frames to create a space in the center of the queen mother brood box. This is done by removing a little used frame on the outside edge of the brood box. Brush off the bees and place this frame in another hive.Place the Hopkins frame in the space created in the queen mother hive.Step 4: Day 5: Remove queen from the cell builder hive.
Step 9: Wait three weeks to check the results. You should find a laying queen with a good brood pattern. If this is the case, transfer the bees into a standard box. If you were not successful, return the frames to the original hive.
His characterization is very all over the place and incoherent. He constantly thinks of himself as a man and yet has been placed in the body of an insectoid hivemind queen. However his thought process doesn't match either of these people- he acts like an angry, petulant little child, uncaring of both the higher noble ideas he supposedly followed as a man and the desire to grow, expand, and nurture the Hive that the Hive-Queen is supposed to have.
The premise of a human becoming an alien hivemind is wasted on this main character. One of the things that I find interesting about these sci-fi bug swarms, these devouring swarms, is that they have an intense loyalty to their queen and their race. They are unwavering in their determination, single-minded and unyielding, unwaveringly directed towards their goals at all time. Sure they're generally evil and want to consume the world, but they're also really cool and have a bunch of interesting skills and advantages from all being one mind. Exploring that coolness through a hive-mind with human morality, where they can repurpose that drive, determination, and loyalty towards noble goals, sounds like a super interesting read. But the main character trivialises the whole thing. He has little to no maternal instinct and sees all of the drones as mere tools to do his bidding. He takes little pride in his creations and has no particular fondness for them despite the fact that they came from the Hive Queen's body and are literally his children. The Vex themselves also don't have any spark of individuality themselves besides protecting the queen when in duress, which was dissapointing.
Marcus is advertised as a college student who's had a rough go with job finding and gets isekaied. Anyways despite being this resilient man in his past life, as a hive queen, he just turns into a dummy.
The personality of Marcus in his past life doesn't match up with his actions and thoughts as a hive queen. And I get that turning into a hive queen is gonna have some mental trauma, but the sudden nativity and overly trusting nature, especially when factoring that he was exploited in his previous life, is very offputting. 2b1af7f3a8