Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Queens, Natural or Grafted

Queen Bees....Natural or Grafted.......This is a subject that I'm still not sure about. I first of all by every means believe that the best way is the Natural way. I love watching the process of the bees when they are making way for their new queen. They have this way of knowing if or when they will need one, but sometimes all of a sudden they sometimes find themselves queenless with no warning at all. This is our first summer with more than one hive and we have had a time with them keeping a queen. We have no idea why we've lost queens out of perfectly strong, healthy hives. Since this can happen over night (per se) it's important to go into the hives on a regular basis. In my last post I wrote about this particular hive where we went "up the country" to get a new queen.....that is a "grafted" queen. I know I should know about this grafting process by now but I don't. I've just been depending on the bees to take care of that for me:O) But I will be studying up on the subject and will let you know what I think about it. NOW...if there is anyone out there reading this and would like to give me some insight on this I would love your input. Please feel free to leave me a message/comment.PulllleeeaaaassseeeeeeeI went back into the hive Friday morning to see if the bees had eaten through the candy end to release the queen, but they hadn't so I helped out a bit....I took a nail and made a small hole into the candy and put the cage back into place, closed up and left them til Sunday afternoon. The whole time on my way out to the hive I'm saying to myself.... please let the queen be alive..... please let the queen be alive.....from what I've read it's very hard to get a hive to except a new queen.
I removed the box and no queen...still mumbling under my breath...please let the queen be alive...
Sooo I start with pulling every frame out and examining it carefully! First frame...no queen no eggs...which I was glad there were no eggs because at this point I would probably have freaked out thinking the nurse bee found her way back and started laying all over again.
Another note...if you have a layer worker (nurse) bee she will destroy the queen cells if the bees do try to hatch a new queen and if she had found her way back she would've killed the new queen!
I went through seven frames and saw nothing but bees....the eighth frame I found eggs! Oh.... My heart didn't know if it should drop or jump! I did feel a slight sinking until I pulled the ninth and last frame...
AND here she is!!!!! I have two white arrows pointing at her. I want you to notice her color.....because in the pictures at the end of this post, I have a new queen that another hive just hatched out "naturally" and I found the colors are so very different. The "grafted" queen is pretty much solid in her color on her abdomen.
Here she is again (white arrows) the blue arrows are pointing to drones, they are male bees and have really big eyes.....(they're so handsome):O)
Now this picture above and the ones below are of a new queen that just hatched from another hive we have. See her colors (she's at the bottom of the frame and arrows are pointing at her)
Here she is again, the tip of her tail is black and she has faint dark stripes. I think she's beautiful!! I also think the "grafted" one is beautiful too......I really do need to google and search the web for more information about this "grafting" thing. I've got lots of books on honey bees but none of them go into this subject...they advertise for you to "buy" one but I haven't been interested in "grafting" a queen so haven't bothered. Well....now my curiosity is up....
Gotta go surf the net.....:O)
Until next time.....


  1. Yay! I'm so happy they've accepted the new queen! She's beautiful!!

    I don't know much about grafting a new queen either, but the guy we bought our hives from grafted new queens every two/three years into each of the hives. He felt it helped keep the hives stronger. And I've met a few people on various forums that graft new bees regularly to control the temperament of the hive or to introduce a more disease resistant breed. In your case, I think you did exactly the right thing! Your bees are very lucky to have such an attentive and proactive mom!!!

  2. Thank you Penny! You always give such sweet and thoughtful compliments:O) I think I'm going to start raising my own queens....I found some info today and it's right up my alley:O) Will keep you informed.