I’m running a nursery….for bees

grafting larvea

In my last post I described the technique and process for grafting larvae in an artificial queen cup. I was fairly successful from my last graft……so now I’m grafting for the 3rd time this year. The hive I’m using for the larvae is a swarm I caught back in April, and requeened with one of my 1st grafted queens. She is a big, warm-honey colored, beautiful queen (I spotted her today on a frame of new eggs but didn’t have my camera to take a picture). She’s laying wall-to-wall, in a solid brood pattern. Brood is bees not yet emerged from the cell: eggs, larvea, and pupae, or in other words–baby bees. (See picture below) AND these bees are very gentle and easy to work with, which is important to me – I don’t like playing with bees that want to sting me!
The Header photo shows the tip of a grafting tool positioned above a larvae that is about the right age to graft (3 days). You can see the milky colored royal jelly that the larvae is floating in. Just to the lower left is an older larvae (too old to graft), and above to the right is an unhatched egg. The egg is usually described as looking like a grain of rice standing on end and you can see it really does look like that.
The queen cells will be ready to move into mating boxes in a week, and if all goes well my new queens will be laying eggs in about 2 weeks after that.
I am hoping to graft one more time this year, so that I can build my apiary back up – I lost 7 hives last fall to varroa mites and want to have at least 20 hives and several nucs going into winter.

One Response to I’m running a nursery….for bees

  1. Your Comment
    Very interesting lesson which I enjoyed reading…Learned a lot from your photos and descriptions. I hope you can build up those hives with all this work you are doing!

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