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CraBee

Protected cells

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Last Autumn I did a heap of protected cells to re-Queen hives.  This Autumn it has only been two so far - mid last week 

I decided to re-Queen two nucs where I wasn't happy with the Queen.  The protected cells went in as per normal and

I did a quick check today and saw that Virgin Queens had emerged from these cells, but the mated Queen was still

happily in residence and there was no sign of the Virgin's.  Does anyone have any idea why this would be?

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Many people swear by protected cells but on the two occasions when I tried them out and then went back and physically checked whether there was a new Queen or not I was quite disappointed. Each time I did it it was for 40 hives, I would have to go back to the records but from memory I think it was less than 50%. I have heard that most of the losses occur when the virgin returns from mating flight and is killed by guard bees but I don't know if that's true or not. It seems to be something that works sometimes and not others and it's supposed to work better when the bees are getting a honey flow. No way would I be putting out cells this time of year, protected or not. They might still work but the odds are not good enough.

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i kind of like the idea of popping a protected cell in. it's so un- german.

agree with the info by @john berry and would like to add, don't disturb the hive in any way for at least 3 weeks after you put your cell in, not even to see if the cell hatched.

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It would take considerably longer, but killing the Hives own queen first should considerably improve the probability of the desired outcome.

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Protected cells have become popular as beekeeping skills have declined and a huge percentage of New Zealand beekeepers no longer have the skills to find queens quickly enough to make killing the old Queen's a viable option.

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Frank Lindsay has some comments on protected cells too:

"Most commercial beekeepers requeen all their hives during the honey flow by placing a 10-day-old protected queen cell somewhere in the hive that is covered by bees."

http://lindsaysapiaries.co.nz/publications.feb2016.html

An aside - I've got the last of my cells to go out Weds-Friday, the weather up here is reasonably warm, settled and there are good but declining drone numbers about.

Tom, yes I agree re checking time, in this case though these were tests, and I'm glad I didn't put eg 40 cells out it may have been costly and a waste of time.

 

 

 

 

 

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thought I could re-fresh this topic, and ask: Has anyone put protected cells in a single brood box hive?  

51 minutes ago, Gino de Graaf said:

thought I could re-fresh this topic, and ask: Has anyone put protected cells in a single brood box hive?  

to clarify, in order to requeen via super cedure. 

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3 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

thought I could re-fresh this topic, and ask: Has anyone put protected cells in a single brood box hive?  

to clarify, in order to requeen via super cedure. 

thats pretty normal. 

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thanks Tristan.  Could the success rate be different between Single broods versus 2 Broods.  Thinking that a 2 Brood might have better success because the virgin has more space to harden and be accepted as the bees in the Second Brood are generally a bit nicer than their sisters below. I run singles over summer- be a bit of an effort to break the hive down in January to add a cell.  I also read that some beekeepers placed ripe cells on the floor boards... can't imagine that working so well. 

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18 minutes ago, Gino de Graaf said:

thanks Tristan.  Could the success rate be different between Single broods versus 2 Broods.  Thinking that a 2 Brood might have better success because the virgin has more space to harden and be accepted as the bees in the Second Brood are generally a bit nicer than their sisters below. I run singles over summer- be a bit of an effort to break the hive down in January to add a cell.  I also read that some beekeepers placed ripe cells on the floor boards... can't imagine that working so well. 

 

The other one I hear of is putting a cell in the honey supers during the flow, but surely then all you end up with is brood in the supers or a drone layer if she can't get out....?

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i don't have an stats on it but i doubt there is any difference between requeen single vers double brood.

putting cells in during honey flow would be a pita. typically its done once the number of supers has been reduced. but every area is different. autumn requeening has its risks as well.

 do not put cells on the floor or in supers. they need to be in good contact with bees and in the brood.

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45 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

The other one I hear of is putting a cell in the honey supers during the flow, but surely then all you end up with is brood in the supers or a drone layer if she can't get out....?

That's common practice also. No queen excluders used.  And yes, brood can be a prik once in honey boxes.  You have to scrape the brood off.  

The reasons I have heard for not using an excluder- more honey and good for putting cells in.  And i guess less gear to worry about. 

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1 minute ago, Gino de Graaf said:

That's common practice also. No queen excluders used.  And yes, brood can be a prik once in honey boxes.  You have to scrape the brood off.  

The reasons I have heard for not using an excluder- more honey and good for putting cells in.  And i guess less gear to worry about. 

 

If I lift brood above the excluder in Spring and there is a top entrance, I can often get a mated Queen up there making a mess in the honey boxes.  I cant see how it is any good apart from providing more brood to make up more nucs at the cost of honey.....also scraping brood out of honey supers / frames so you can get honey is really time consuming having to check all the frames and scrape them, i'll only do it if there is only a little brood.

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39 minutes ago, tristan said:

i don't have an stats on it but i doubt there is any difference between requeen single vers double brood.

after this years requeen effort, I would consider Protected Cells again.  I tried a yard last year and didn't think it worked that well, but like you, can't give stats. 

I have just read as much as possible on the world wide (all so true..) web.  No hard evidence at all.  Some study in South America- dismal results using Protected Cells. 

Another one in Netherlands- pretty average. 

Then Murray Reid here in NZ got great results -I think he's the developer of the method, can't find his research though. 

In a newsletter- from SNI - Arataki use 48 hour cells straight in.  And Tweedale place ripe cells on the floor on beehive, near the cluster.... 

@jamesc puts them in protected during a flow. 

And very little evidence of success rates  it seems. 

My feeling, I agree with james, a flow is best- bees are busy and totally ignore you so probably accept a virgin more readily. 

What I did discover though-  caged virgins a few days old - not good at all. 

Seems too easy to be true to expect a 70% success for a minute a hive.  

 

1 minute ago, CraBee said:

 

If I lift brood above the excluder in Spring and there is a top entrance, I can often get a mated Queen up there making a mess in the honey boxes.  I cant see how it is any good apart from providing more brood to make up more nucs at the cost of honey.....also scraping brood out of honey supers / frames so you can get honey is really time consuming having to check all the frames and scrape them, i'll only do it if there is only a little brood.

Yeah, but on a good flow with good timing and using nice combs the queen does usually stay down in the two broods- so these guys run double broods.  

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I think I mentioned a while ago, somewhere, when we had a Canadian beekeeeper for the season. He lived in a place called 'Love' ..... and it suited him. Anyway, he reported back on a trial they did in the Saskatchewans Beekeeeprs Inc ...... protected cells    ..... 17% success.

We still do it when we have spare cells . Every year is different.  Like the other day when we found old and young queen busy laying away on each side of the frame.

 

And whatever does'nt succede, or supercede, gets a make over in the spring.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

And Tweedale place ripe cells on the floor on beehive,

that would not surprise me, i have heard of many horror stories from that outfit.

2 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

That's common practice also. No queen excluders used.  And yes, brood can be a prik once in honey boxes.  You have to scrape the brood off.  

The reasons I have heard for not using an excluder- more honey and good for putting cells in.  And i guess less gear to worry about. 

theres been a bit of discussion around that as many beeks are finding honey is failing CFU count. brood in supers is typically the no1 problem.

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3 hours ago, jamesc said:

 Anyway, he reported back on a trial they did in the Saskatchewans Beekeeeprs Inc ...... protected cells    ..... 17% success.

 

Interesting you say that, i was already going to post that success rate is something around 20%, if you are lucky.

 

I have worked for a large outfit that used to do it, and best i could tell, hardly paid. I've also done it myself when I've had spare cells. Around these parts i always have some black or mixed hives and when I end up with some spare cells i may go and put them in some hives i don't like the bees. I can tell it mostly doesn't work by seeing there is no change in the colour of the bees several months later. Get the odd success though, my view, it's not worth raising cells dedicated to using for this, but if you got some cells that would otherwise be wasted, could be worth a punt.

3 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Tweedale place ripe cells on the floor on beehive, near the cluster.... 

 

LOL, I'm going to dub that The Tweedale Method.

 

Walk around the site and flick queen cells in the front door. Whole site requeened in 5 minutes ha ha! 😉

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The problem I have with protected cells is that it's just too variable. You can put them out in the same hives at the same time of year and do well one year and terribly the next. You also end up with a percentage that are queenless with early research suggesting it was around 10%. I have tried it in the past and then gone back and carefully checked results and they weren't good enough for me. I have heard it said that most losses occur when the new Queen returns from a mating flight rather than in the hive but I have not verified this myself. I think  protected cells have mainly gained favour because they are easy to use and relatively cheap , couple this with a lot of modern beekeepers distinct lack of knowledge and skill when it comes to finding queens and you see why so many people use them.

If you really must use protected cells I suggest you do every hive every year ,preferably when there is still some sort of honey flow on . Beware! Putting out protected cells to early can lead to a percentage of swarming occasionally..

I have heard it said that Tweeddales put the cell straight on the floor but I have also heard that they tip the box back and place the cell between the bottoms of the frames.  Not sure which is true but cells are a lot tougher than we give them credit for. I once forgot a couple of cells which I had sat on top of a lid and although it was a fairly cool autumn night, the next day they were emerging quite happily.

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3 hours ago, john berry said:

 

I have heard it said that Tweeddales put the cell straight on the floor but I have also heard that they tip the box back and place the cell between the bottoms of the frames.  Not sure which is true but cells are a lot tougher than we give them credit for. I once forgot a couple of cells which I had sat on top of a lid and although it was a fairly cool autumn night, the next day they were emerging quite happily.

As one of Tweeddales  cell suppliers ( there are 4 ) the above is correct.

start out with going on floor and later in season the cell is place up in combs from underneath to be in contact with the bees .

as far as I am aware most hives are run as single broods with a queen excluder 

cell is supplied on day 11 to be closer to hatching.

Their floor is solid with a permanent winter entrance, hives are slid forward for summer to give a full entrance .

All hives that weren’t requeened by splitting in spring are given a cell over January to March period, a team puts out up 500 cells in a day 

 

The floor method came about due to queen excluder use to keep brood out of extracting room  and the resulting low bacteria counts which gave a premium from corporate honey buyers .

The logistics of moving 10,s of thousands honey boxes to put cells in was not a valid option or finding queens and killing them 

 

Another customer queried how successful the method was having found all cells had hatched but wasn’t seeing a brood break where the virgin had killed the old queen.

Told him it is highly variable, working on a supercedure principal and you may not see a brood break , the ideal would to kill the old queen to give a good result and that is a fairly big logistical effort or you could go fishing,

fishing won out as far as I’m aware

 

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20 hours ago, john berry said:

The problem I have with protected cells is that it's just too variable. You can put them out in the same hives at the same time of year and do well one year and terribly the next. You also end up with a percentage that are queenless with early research suggesting it was around 10%. I have tried it in the past and then gone back and carefully checked results and they weren't good enough for me. I have heard it said that most losses occur when the new Queen returns from a mating flight rather than in the hive but I have not verified this myself. I think  protected cells have mainly gained favour because they are easy to use and relatively cheap , couple this with a lot of modern beekeepers distinct lack of knowledge and skill when it comes to finding queens and you see why so many people use them.

If you really must use protected cells I suggest you do every hive every year ,preferably when there is still some sort of honey flow on . Beware! Putting out protected cells to early can lead to a percentage of swarming occasionally..

I have heard it said that Tweeddales put the cell straight on the floor but I have also heard that they tip the box back and place the cell between the bottoms of the frames.  Not sure which is true but cells are a lot tougher than we give them credit for. I once forgot a couple of cells which I had sat on top of a lid and although it was a fairly cool autumn night, the next day they were emerging quite happily.

I think the success rate depends on the quality of the existing queen.  If she is old and worn out your chances of success are very high but if she is still laying well and presumably producing plenty of pheromone your success rate will definitely be lower.  Agree that the best option is to re cell every year to ensure you get the old worn out queens - if the bees decide to keep their existing queen she's probably good enough for another season anyway.

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Aka John Berry .... the success to requeening is the competent beekeeper ..... the eyes and brain that crack the lid and make the decision on the hive which then dictates it's future.

The good beekeeper will recognise the failing queen and depending on the time of year, remedy the situation to ensure the colonies ongoing survival, whetehr that be a protected cell, new queen, or 'Maori Split'.  

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