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tudor

Notching cells

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I am working on "On the spot" queen rearing and splitting, and preparing a document.  People talk with confidence about the need to notch cells containing either a very new larva or an egg, up to the mid rib.

@tommy dave  has used the "Walk away" system  with success. Would he and others like to comment on notching cells, or do the bees make good enough queens using ordinary worker cells to start and then elongate them ?

thanks,

Tudor.

PS lovely few days now ...

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i can't comment on notching cells as i've never heard of it. I think the key to success with walkaway splits is to make sure that you're splitting from a very strong hive. Then do what needs doing to minimise the risk of bee drift. And then make sure the bees have drawn/capped a cell or two you're happy with about a week later.

 

The only walkaway split failure i've had was when i moved a split too late - i.e. after the queen had emerged but before she was laying - i suspect that she got lost trying to return from a mating flight.

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The theory of notching cells is this. - If a hive is made queenless and the bees have to make a new queen from larvae in an old black comb, they will commonly float the larvae out to the top of the worker cell on royal jelly, so that they can then build a queen cell in the normal downwards position. Problem with this is that to feed, the larvae sometimes have to reach up and around the corner into the worker cell, meaning they can end up less well fed than a queen raised in a normal shaped queen cell.

 

The idea of notching is that suitable eggs or larvae on a comb are selected by the beekeeper, and the cells immediately below them are scraped away, so that it is easy for the bees to re shape the queen cell and build it straight down with no curve in the cell. The bees seem to realise this and will preferentially build queen cells where the comb has been scraped, or "notched".

 

It's not that all emergency raised queens are rubbish, some can be excellent. Notching just gives that little extra advantage.

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Thanks, Dave, I'll send you a draft of the doco in the next few days.  The principle is to remove the queen into a nuc and take her away, and then check the hive in 7 days to find out whether nice queen cells have been made, and then act by giving 2 open  juicy cells per split etc. etc. , and if its all custardy just give the queen back.

 

I will probably do a couple of 4 hive apiaries, and notch 2 hives and not notch 2 others, stats may be rather difficult to reach significance levels ...

 

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Your "easy" gets more subjective every season.....

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Thanks for the comment.

As I have learned a bit more each year, the confidence has come to make things easier and try them - and use them if they work, and don't if they don't.

Bit like the KISS principal.

:)

 

Edited by tudor

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2 hours ago, tudor said:

I am working on "On the spot" queen rearing and splitting, and preparing a document.  People talk with confidence about the need to notch cells containing either a very new larva or an egg, up to the mid rib.

@tommy dave  has used the "Walk away" system  with success. Would he and others like to comment on notching cells, or do the bees make good enough queens using ordinary worker cells to start and then elongate them ?

thanks,

Tudor.

PS lovely few days now ...

it does help. but like grafting picking the right age is important. i've had a few where they ignored the eggs and made cells else where. so i think doing it on early grubs works better.

it is still simple, you look at the cells, give them a flick with the hive tool. takes seconds to do.

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I always notch eggs with a walk away split.

Particularly with dark comb but also with light comb

Usually about 6 notches across the frame 

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Bees raising cells in emergency situations are notorious for selecting brood that is older than optimum. Notching helps but does not completely eliminate this problem. I regularly fix up queenless hives by notching brood in an emergency but for any serious re-queening or dividing I use cells. I do however occasionally allow an exceptional hive that's not quite breeder quality to raise its own which helps with genetic diversity.

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3 minutes ago, john berry said:

Bees raising cells in emergency situations are notorious for selecting brood that is older than optimum.

Can't this be partly ameliorated by going through & squashing the oldest cell ?

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12 minutes ago, john berry said:

Bees raising cells in emergency situations are notorious for selecting brood that is older than optimum. Notching helps but does not completely eliminate this problem. I regularly fix up queenless hives by notching brood in an emergency but for any serious re-queening or dividing I use cells. I do however occasionally allow an exceptional hive that's not quite breeder quality to raise its own which helps with genetic diversity.

are these always grafted cells?

what about superseded queens. do they choose good size lava then?

Edited by kaihoka

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Supersedure is a bit different, the bees get the queen to lay an egg in an existing queen cup, and that larva is brought up right, from day one.

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3 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Supersedure is a bit different, the bees get the queen to lay an egg in an existing queen cup, and that larva is brought up right, from day one.

my best queens are supercedure queens.

is there a method of getting a the bees to make a supercedure queen .

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55 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

is there a method of getting a the bees to make a supercedure queen .

i havn't tried it but apparently a beek overseas rips a queens leg off and the bees go into supercedure mode.

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35 minutes ago, tristan said:

i havn't tried it but apparently a beek overseas rips a queens leg off and the bees go into supercedure mode.

oh no that sounds awful.

i can not even stand to kill bees with an alcohol wash

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The other method was to remove the mandibles. That works. 

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8 minutes ago, Dave Black said:

The other method was to remove the mandibles. That works. 

still awful

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Some breeders used to frown upon supersedure but I like queens that do. There appears to be both a genetic and an environmental component. I see far more supersedure queens after a poor honey crop than a good one and I suspect in a poor season they have more time on their hands for that sort of thing. As for squashing the bigger cells, I suppose you could but as a commercial beekeeper I don't visit my hives more often than I need to and I'm certainly not going back just to see if a cell is any good or not. My preferred method whenever there is a dud Queen is just too kill it and paper a spare hive on top. I had a hive today with an unmated virgin and from the way she was running round I was pretty sure she was about to become a drone layer so out with Madame guillotine- newspaper and spare hive.

There were drones but no mature ones so there was no chance she was any good.

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2 hours ago, kaihoka said:

oh no that sounds awful.

i can not even stand to kill bees with an alcohol wash

Toenail clippers are the perfect tool for Bee amputations. 

They can be modified to be very precise.

 

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38 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Toenail clippers are the perfect tool for Bee amputations. 

They can be modified to be very precise.

 

Could you really do that .

I think you are taking the Piss.

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On 15.09.2017 г. at 11:49 PM, tudor said:

I am working on "On the spot" queen rearing and splitting, and preparing a document.  People talk with confidence about the need to notch cells containing either a very new larva or an egg, up to the mid rib.

@tommy dave  has used the "Walk away" system  with success. Would he and others like to comment on notching cells, or do the bees make good enough queens using ordinary worker cells to start and then elongate them ?

thanks,

Tudor.

 

The short answer is that the worker cell become full to the edge with royal jelly within a day.

 

 The longer is - that the oldest method of queen rearing is grafting (Doolitle). All others - Alley, Miller, Hopkins-Pehacek.... improvements.

You might also find interesting the method of a Serbian beekeeper - Milos Corbic. The hive raises about 50:50 ratio of workers:queens :)

 

The evidences that the beekeepers are bad in accounting should not even be mentioned.

Starting a hive with open brood takes normally 11 days for the queen to hatch and 7-10 days to start laying = 21 days without laying queen (8 frames of brood lost), and after 21 days the split will have half of the bees than in the beginning (adding of brood may be required). 21 days the split is like sitting duck  (no queen pheromones = low foraging activity)

Starting with a queen cell/virgin - 8-10 days of disrupting the activities of the hive. Plus some percentage of failure

Starting with a laying queen  - about 3 days for the queen to start laying

 

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On 9/16/2017 at 3:41 PM, Philbee said:

I always notch eggs with a walk away split.

Particularly with dark comb but also with light comb

Usually about 6 notches across the frame 

I would like to ask if 6 notches across the frame would result in 6 supercedure cells most of the time?

 

I would like to raise a few (3) queens and thought I might try this method. I was thinking to take a split from my best hive-a nuc box with 1 frame of eggs, notched- a frame of nearly hatched brood, a frame of stores- what is best for the other 2 frames?

Or would I be better to remove the Queen to the nuc box with drawn frames and about to hatch brood- and leave the notched frame in the original hive?

 

Either way is  it best to remove the nuc to a different location?

 

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Your second idea, you'd be better to move the queen and a few bees away and have the larger queenless unit raise the cells.

 

Doing 6 notches will not guarantee 6 cells, but the stronger and more healthy the cell raiser hive is the more cells you are likely to get.

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