Queen Rearing Class

First I’d like to start off with a big shout out to the Forsyth County Beekeepers Club!! All of the members did an amazing job with putting this class on and teaching everyone about queen rearing!

We started the class with the biology of a Queen as well as a brief biology of drones. This, however, will be for another discussion. The workers will decide which larvae will become Queens and are faced to make this decision within 3 different scenarios. Swarm, Supercedure & Emergency

Swarm Cells: are going to be towards the bottom of the frame and are usually created because the hive is crowded, but are great for requeening!

Supercedure Cells: are created by the little ladies because they know/sense something is wrong with the current queen and can be found towards the top of the frame.

Emergency Cells: is a smaller cup found randomly throughout the frame, ready for an emergency. This is not ideal for requeening.

Queen rearing allows a keeper to speed up the process of natural queening. If a keeper chooses to naturally rear a Queen, he/she would lose both time and honey. So, there are 3 main ways to rear: Cell Punch, Hopkins Method & Doolittle Method.

Cell Punch: is exactly the way that it sounds. You punch one of the cells out of the frame with a cell punch tool. There is no grafting necessary and is not a popular method.

Hopkins Methods: another non-graphing method is where a beekeeper drawls lines across the cells and then lays the frame horizontally across the top of the brood box, this then allows the little ladies to create queen cells. This method is also not preferred because the queen cells are very messy!

Doolittle Method: is definitely the most preferred method of all. You can either use a master grafting tool, the hook grafting tool, an artist brush, toothpick, goosequill, or most popular the Chinese grafting tool. With this method you would remove the larvae and the royal jelly from a cell and graft it into a queen cup. The most ideal larvae are anywhere between 4 to 6 days old.

Once grafted, allow the ladies to nurse the new queens in a swarm box for about seven days. A swarm box should have at least one pollen frame, one honey frame, one feeder, one drawn comb, and one empty frame with all of your queens grafted into the frame within the bars. Right before the queens hatch, they will need to be transferred to a hive of their own. But introduce slowly (queen cages) so that the other bees accept her.

Now it was our turn to try and graft our new queens! We used the newer Chineese Grafting tools and plastic queen cups!

Update 06/07/2015: ALL 4 of my Queens survived! So I am grafting the 4 queens into 3 nuc boxes! 1 I am giving to my neighbor, and the 1st nuc will have 1 Queen & the 2nd nuc will have 2 Queens (may the odds be ever in her favor)! I am breeding the Queens with a club member’s drones on his property and should be able to pick up in 2 weeks (give or take)! Updates to follow!


Stings – How to Treat

Yesterday I was stung, through my suit… Thank goodness it was only one little lady that sacrificed her life! But, one of the most uncomfortable feelings is a bee sting. Every person reacts differently to stings. I am allergic, not highly allergic, but uncomfortable allergic. My stings usually last about 2 weeks; this is because I am highly allergic to yellow jackets & wasps (emergency room allergic).

Number 1 rule when getting stung: remove the stinger with a credit card, or similar card, by scraping it against the skin. This allows the stinger to be removed in one piece. If a stinger is pulled out by tweezers, you are likely to disconnect the stinger & leave some of it in the skin allowing more toxins to be released. Once the stinger is released, be prepared to itch and itch some more! Here is a picture of what my sting looks like the day after:


As you can see the toxins have really caused a number to my thigh! The swelling is intense & feels about the size of a golf ball, maybe a little larger. 

To treat the sting, I tried applying liquid Benedryl topically. This didn’t work for me, so I resorted to backing soda/water paste:

This option has definitely taken the itch out. We’ll see about the swelling…. So I’ve had no luck with the baking soda. Benedry was my next resort, unfortunatly its not working as well either. Next step, toothpaste… I’ve heard that it works to draw the itch out. Only time will tell 🙂

I’ll update more treatments as soon as I try!

So now we are 1 week out & it still itches and looks like a bruise… Now, every person is going to be very different and how their body reacts to stings so my remedies maybe different from yours. So all week I have been taking 1 teaspoon of liquid Benadryl every 3 to 4 hours, and applying Cortizone 10 to the affected area. This was the only thing that would provide relief! 

Hive Activity

I can sit for hours to watch my hives! There is nothing more interesting or more calming than watching my little ladies come and go! They each have their own jobs & each have a sense of duty that is just contagious! Here’s a short video of them coming and going. This one I named ‘Honeybee Highway’ & this one is just more hive activity! Don’t forget to follow my YouTube Channel for more videos!


Another Swarm?!

WOW! Is this the year of the swarms?!?! I believe it may be! Looks like I may have another swarm on my hands! This could be great or this could be my worst nightmare. Great because I get another ‘free’ hive of bees! Bad because I don’t want my hive to simply disappear! 

So about 3 days ago I had checked on this hive, which was the one that split/swarmed last week & saw some queen cells. I kept them in tact because the queen they kept was laying sporadic brood & I didn’t like her brood pattern. So I thought, what the heck! Replace her! But that’s not what it looks like is happening… What do you think?


Now… Don’t judge my boxes LOL – the bottom is a brood box & the second one up is another ‘brood box’ (although it’s a super). I was working with what tools I had available to me. Mind you, I’m going back to the bee supply store Saturday for some more frames! So this hive goes: brood, brood, queen excluder, super, super.

To Catch A Swarm

Monday, I was lucky enough to catch a swarm! My oldest hive split & swarmed into a tree about 40 feet into the air! So we were faced with the issue of how to get them down… Step 1: find a huge pole, Step 2: hit tree with pole & knock bees into box! 

Well my father and I couldn’t make it that simple. LOL – So, we shot a hand held crossbow with a string attached to it, up & over the branch. We then tied a rope to the other end and shimmied it up and over the branch. Once we had that side, we tied a hand held saw to that end and tied another rope to the other end of the saw & shimmied it up and over the branch until the saw was at the branch. This is when we start sawing… And sawing… And sawing… And…. 


Well… We got tired of that, quick!! So we tied the rope to dad’s four-wheeler & pulled till the rope broke. Next idea… Shoot the branch down! So we took the AR, locked & loaded, aimed and 10 shots later… Nothing! So, what to do next?! Pull the branch till it breaks! And it worked, but those smart ladies landed back into the next branch over! 


Finally, our pole was long enough to continually hit the ladies into the nuc box! Six to seven hours later… SUCESS!! All my ladies were happy & comfortable in their new temporary home!