Queen rearing with 6-day-time-schedule

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blackforest beekeeper:
Hi beeks all over the world!

As concerning queen rearing:
I am visiting my yards in the time of swarming in fixed 6-day-intervals. In this one day, from dawn till dusk, I do all the beework (for the outer yards). I have more or less been able to rear queens with this schedule, but am not content with the method:
In Germany a popular method is the following, which I have been using mostly:
Take out (mostly sealed) broodframes with bees, put em in a box and drive it away. After 9 days break all emergency cells (I did it at 6 days with success, but had to check on cells on the frames 6 day after again) and graft.
Now there are two ways to go from that: either you let em all hatch out and divide the cell builder into nucs with a queen each (one frame of bees is suggested, I like to take two at least). This way mating nucs are best done.
the other is dividing up cells between nucs (can be off different colonies, not only from the cell builder).

the last option - dropping cells into freshly built nucs is my main concern.
Also, I would like to maintain the cell-builder for several rounds of grafts - 6 days from each other.

So if setting up the cell builder in the morning, grafting in the evening, this should give me the opportunity to drop cells 12 days later in the morning (before noon, that is). graft again in the evening.

How to set up such a builder, (no open cells at the same day, if need be 6 or 12 days earlier, but I dislike it as the time-span for queen rearing is sort of short)
How to maintain such a builder? (Like carrying nurse bees to it, only sealed brood or something)

There might be solutions around. Would appreciate comments.

For info: In spring I need about 100 queens, for summer another 100.

greetings from the black forest.

That?s how it was done by my swedish mentor:

At his home he placed the two or three strongest colonies to be the cell builders.

Provided them with a cloake board.

After grafting he checked the queenless part for QC and introduced two grafting frames each ( maybe three in spring, we did this in summer, he does this all year round ).
After the queen cells were capped he put the frames in the incubator. Shortly before they hatched he introduced the cells into mini-mating-nucs to breed the mated queens for shipping, the yard was at his home and the most isolated from neighbors.
All this was done at his home to have no time pressure.
He had a transport box for the cells when he introduced the cells into outyard colonies which were made queenless by splitting or had lost their queens.

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blackforest beekeeper:
What method of queen-rearing (setup of builders, maintaining builders asf.) do you apply?
Thankful for your time and effort!

Michael Bush:
Friday morning I shake a lot of bees from brood frames into a "swarm box".

It's overflowing with bees.  In the process I also look for two frames of pollen and two frames of nectar/honey.  This is closed up (not free flying).  You now have a lot of nurse bees that were nursing brood and now have no brood to nurse.  Their hypopharyngeal glands are overflowing.  Meanwhile, while they are setting in the shade, I start grafting.  When I've grafted three frames or so of cells (mine are 3/4" thick so three frames will fit in the five frame swarm box along with four frames of honey and pollen) and add them to the swarm box.

I set up a cell starter.  To do this I sort all of the combs in a strong hive into: mostly open brood, mostly capped brood, mostly honey, mostly pollen, mostly empty and try to find the queen in the process.  I arrange these boxes with honey on the bottom, then pollen, then an excluder, then a box with empty comb, some kind of drone escape and the queen.  Then another excluder.  Then the capped brood and finally the open brood on top.

Now I start going through the mating nucs that are already set up, or if they are not set up yet, start setting them up.  My mating nucs are one frame of brood and one frame of honey and the bees shaken in from another frame of brood.  That keeps me busy Friday and Saturday I continue and start putting the cells from the last batch in.  If I have enough cells and mating nucs to keep me busy this continues into Sunday.

If the weather is cool, I wait until Sunday (48 hrs)  to put the started cells in the finisher.  If the weather is hot I put them in on Saturday (24 hrs).

I repeat this every week from about the first of May until the bees lose interest which is usually October if there isn't a dearth causes by a drought.

Great videos Michael. I really appreciate you posting them. Very helpful. Maybe we can do a little grafting at BeeFest this year. What do you think?


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