The Study Group's Queen Rearing Diary


We four are a study group for the FIBKA Senior exams and have chosen to rear queens as a co-operative group. We decided to choose the apiary of Eamon Magee in Derrybawn as the location, as it has strong stocks, plenty of space and a building with spare equipment etc, nearby.


7th May: Selection of a Breeder/cell Raiser Colony

Colony no. 5(?) at Derrybawn was chosen as the best breeding stock because of good showing in the colony records and because it has a Mac Giolla Coda queen.


21st May: Put Cupularve Cell Transfer Kit into Breeder Colony

We met at Derrybawn to insert the Cupularve kit into the breeder colony. We discovered that the breeder colony had swarmed, and so chose a different colony (no. 4) as breeder / cell raiser. While 2 of us inspected the colony and found the queen, marked bright yellow, the other 2 attached the Cupularve to a brood frame. We inserted the frame with Cupularve kit into the hive in order that it acquire the colony (or, according to Bro. Adam, hive) odour.

We took the opportunity to harvest a queen cell from the swarmed colony and to insert it in an Apidea box with a scoopful of bees. Simon will use this F1 Mac Giolla Coda descendent in another colony. Update October 2004. This Queen mated successfully in her Apidea mininuc, and then absconded into a bait hive on the garage roof. The colony is now fully established.


29th May: Queen Confined to Cupularve

In the morning we inspected the colony again, found the queen, and confined her to the Cupularve. That evening we checked the colony to ensure that all was well with the queen. She was settled in the kit and accompanied by workers.


30th May: Transfer Eggs onto Cell Bars

The big day. We saw to our delight that the queen had laid eggs in the Cupularve cells. Each charged cup was gently removed from the Cupularve frame and fixed to a cell cap cup. Each of these is in turn fixed to a cell bar fixture that (dark brown, below) has been nailed to the cell bar.

We transferred twenty charged cells to the cell bars prepared earlier and inserted them into a brood box above the queen excluder, which had been prepared for this purpose. The queen was released - gently - and the Cupularve removed and packed away.


2nd June: Check Progress

Eamon Magee checked on the progress of the queen cell building and larva feeding.


9th June: Distribute Queen Cells

We met at Derrybawn with Apidea boxes charged with grumpy bees all ready to receive the queen cells. We ended up with eight viable - looking cells, which we distributed into the Apidea boxes.


October, Final update

Our Queen rearing efforts have yielded about half a dozen mated queens. (Eamon reports that one virgin Queen was mistreated in its nuc and had to be fostered in an Apidea, where she thrived). We also acquired a heck of a lot of knowledge.

Joe Kelly, Eamon Magee, Liam McGarry and Simon Rees



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