Cell Grafting and Queen Raising Course
Maintaining colonies Queenright can be challenging and, if left to their own devices, swarming and supersedure Queens produced by colonies themselves can introduce or strengthen undesirable characteristics in successive Queens, perhaps reflecting through the stock as traits of truculence, over-active colony division and swarming, and so on. On the other hand, purchasing mated Queens from Queen suppliers can be expensive and sometimes even reputable suppliers experience poor years with the Queens delayed in mating and, sometimes, failing altogether.

The Oxleas Wood Apiary Cell Grafting and Queen Raising Course comprises a mix of classroom and coordinated practical sessions that introduce and practicably demonstrate the whole Queen raising process, from cell grafting through preparing the virgin Queens for natural mating:

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The two classroom modules introduce i) the timing and phasing of Queen production, the natural virgin Queen raising cycle, and genetic selection and ii) identification and explanation of the equipment required to cover the complete Queen breeding and raising cycle.

Queen2017No41 The Oxleas Wood Apiary Cell Grafting and Queen Raising Course comprises a coordinated mix of classroom and practical sessions in the Apiary that introduce and practicably demonstrate the whole Queen raising process, from cell grafting through preparing the virgin Queens for natural mating:

The three practical sessions in the Apiary provide hands-on experience in preparing the nucleus colonies required to start and mature the new virgin Queen cells and then transferring the sealed, ripe cells to individual and Queen 'castle mating' nucs.

The classroom and field sessions are staggered over several weeks so that the whole Queen rasing process, from cell grafting, ripening, mating and introduction of mated Queens to new colonies are drawn together in sequence.
This short course, commencing in the Apiary during the first weekend of May and then in the classroom on the evening of Tuesday 8 May 2018, with coordinated Apiary sessions following on Saturdays or Sundays, runs for three successive weeks and aims to see through the raising of new fertile Queens for introduction into the existing bee colonies of Oxleas Wood Apiary or, for those enrolled who already have bee stocks, the chance to reQueen.

The main syllabus elements and Apiary Hands-On sessions comprise:-
Apiary - either day of 1st weekend of May
  • Making a Cell Ripening Nucleus Box
  • Filling a Cell Ripening Nucleus with Nursery Brood
  • Constructing a Queen-Filling Funnel
  • Shaking Down the Nursery Bees
Classroom - 2nd Tuesday of May
  • Introduction to Queen Rearing
  • Queen Egg-to-Imago Sequence
  • Preparing a Queen Ripening Nuc
  • Cell Grafts and Alternative Methods
Classroom - either day of 2nd weekend of May
  • Cell Grafting and Alternative Methods
  • Loading the Ripening Nuc Box
  • Insulating the Nucleus Box
  • Shaking Down the Nursery Bees
Classroom - 3rd Tuesday of May
  • Separating Ripe Queen Cells into Mating or Finishing Castle
  • Queen Mating
  • Equipment
  • Record Keeping
Apiary - either day of 3rd weekend of May
  • Transferring the Sealed Queen Cells to a Mating Castle
  • Marking Previously Mated Queens
  • Caging Mated Queens for Transportation
  • Marking Queens