The Bee Guy

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Queen Rearing For Dummies

Why do beekeepers avoid making their own queens? Grafting Queens is so simple, even a child can do it. To prove it, I hired my two apprentices, Tator Tot and Spud Head to do the grafting for me, mostly because their young eyes can see the nearly microscopic larvae better than me. Grafting involves removing 12-24 hour old honey bee larvae from cells and placing them in prepared queen cells and putting those into a queenless colony. The bees feed them, turn them into queens and just before the queens emerge, we will take them out and put them into small "nucleus" hives to mate and hopefully grow into large colonies.

Kids love contests.

“We’ll each graft ten queens. Whoever has the most accepted by the bees, wins a prize.”

“Yay!” they both shouted in unison. “What’s the prize?”

I led them to the back of the barn and opened the secret treasure drawer. “This.” I said, “Is a genuine young beaver skull. The Iroquois used to remove the incisor teeth, lash it to a handle and sharpen it into a crooked knife. They’d use it to hollow out wooden bowls.”

“Ooh!” shouted the girls. “Let’s go!”

Will Tator Tot and Spud Head graft successful queens?

Who will win the coveted beaver skull prize?

How did a young mouse get lost inside Tator Tot's coveralls?

And what about Collapsing Colony Syndrome?

Tune in next week for “Preparing the Cell Builder Colony”

To be continued…

Labels: , ,