Queens for Pennies – Randy Oliver

This is the article that is the basis for our current queen raising technique.


The Ohio State Beekeepers Handbook for raising queens

A nice guide to queen rearing. Chapter 4 (the Doolittle Method) is in line with what we are currently doing.

There is a paragraph about the queen schedule.

A queen schedule
The development time for a queen from egg to emerged adult is 16 days plus or minus
a few hours. There is nothing we can do about changing this time line. Once a queen
cell is started, queens will be emerging on what I call the Queens Schedule. In a hive
about to swarm, the queen leaves with the swarm before the young virgin queens
emerge. Often some queen cells will be delayed in their start by the bees. Thus the
first virgin queens that emerge will try to destroy the oldest queen cells and according
to research not tear down the youngest queen cells. It is often that a hive will issue
secondary swarms with virgin queens – sometimes several virgin queens in the
swarm. The prime swarm will contain the original mother queen. When we use the
Doolittle grafting method, or any of the non grafting methods discussed, we are
starting with larva already four days old. In the order of things, this means that new
queens will be emerging in 12 days from the time of the graft or even earlier if the bees
feed larva five days old (3 days as an egg/ 2 days as a larva). The emergence of a
young queen from her cell does not take long. Once she begins to cut her way out of
the cell, it is only minutes before she emerges. Sometimes the bees in the hive will
delay her emergence.

So by my calculation, it is likely that at least one or more of the grafted larvae could be day 5 larvae. In order to move the cells by day 14, we have to move the cups on the 9th day. As we have been grafting on Sundays, the move has to happen by the second Tuesday. For Q2, we waited until Thursday (day 16 for one or more queens) and they had emerged.

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