A special frame with self-made queen cells just
taken out of a cell builder hive (consists of 3 bars
with approx. 20 cells per bar). Not every cell
becomes a producing queen- some cells are not
accepted, some virgins get killed on their mating
A look inside a hive, in
between the frames
Brushing the bees off of the cells with a stalk of
These two frames are one of our first attempts and
the rate of acceptance was not spectacular. The
blue cups that are not built out were not accepted
by the bees and the larvae was cleaned out. The
capped cells are put into a cell protector and each
placed into their own nuc (mini hive) to hatch and
go out for their mating flight. The picture to the
right is of mating nucs at one of our yards. Each box
is seperated in half, housing two nucs, each with a
queen cell. Soon we can see how well we and our
bees have done at queen rearing... the more queens
emerged, mated and laying, the happier we (and
the bees) are!
The nucs are painted with different colours
and symbols or placed at different angles so
the queens returning from their mating
flight can differentiate between the nucs and
enter the right one. If two queens end up in
one nuc one will most likely be killed and one
nuc will be queenless.
Since buying queens is expensive, making your own
can save a lot of money, but takes more time and
Here we are grafting 1 day old larvae into blue
Grafting is scooping the tiny larvae from its cell and
transferring it into the blue cup.
The queen cups with larvae inside are hung upside
down and set inside a confined artificial swarm of
bees that is queenless, broodless and frantically
As soon as you hang the frame inside, the buzzing
subsides into a low hum and you can tell the bees
are happy to have something to do!
This swarm will start building out the cells and feed
the larvae a lot of royal jelly.
Later the frame is hung in a builder hive where the
larvae mature into pupae and the cells are capped.
These cells are called queen cells.
Left: Coloured cells = pollen and capped cells = brood
Right: orange cells = pollen, cells nearby have eggs and young larvae
Summer Work: Checking the Hives
Starting the smoker in a strawberry field.
Beautiful frame full of honey!
Nice frame of brood!
Tim, and a few years later his brother Ian, in the same
beesuit! Tim has since graduated to size L !
Leah is helping extract honey in summer
These are the "girls" that get the job done!
Bees on a freshly made comb of honey!
Calming down the hive for better inspection with
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