There has been, in the past, a great deal of discussion about Queen Rearing. There is another term which has not received a lot of attention, until now, which is Queen Breeding. I have been studying under Adam and Kelly Finkelstein for the past few weeks as part of my requirements for the Master Craftsman Level of the SCBA MBP, and that study has brought to the fore front the difference between Queen Rearing and Queen Breeding. Today, in the May Farms LLC apiary, we began our mentoring of Queen Rearing. In some respects, we also began our practice of Queen Breeding by virtue of the fact that we grafted larvae from a hive that over wintered successfully, and did not have a single Varroa destructor during the entire season. It was a control hive, not treated with Oxalic acid. This is truly amazing since every other control hive tested positive for Varroa.
We have three(3) “finishing colonies” in the Apiary, and we collected about 5 pounds of bees from two(2) of them and placed them in our “ swarm box for queen cells”. Next, we entered hive (# 23) and removed a frame containing capped and open larvae. From this we grafted 30 (24 hour larvae) , placed them in the queen cups on a frame and placed the frame in the swarm box. The swarm box was fitted with a pollen patty, 1:1 sugar: water, and a wet sponge. It will remain in a cool, dark location for two days and then be placed in “finishing colony” #1.
The process that we follow will be posted in the “blog” section of www.mayfarmsllc.com web site for all to review. Should you wish, you are more than welcome to join us in the apiary to view the operation first hand. Hands on is the only way to really appreciate a new procedure and that is what we have promoted for several years. Just give us notice of your interest. The main interest we have is to promote a queen rearing group in this area to share in ideas and techniques. Will you join us? We will practice every aspect of queen rearing, including banking of virgin and mated queens as time go forward.
Best regards, and have a wonderful Easter.