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Queen Rearing

The Hopkins Method of Queen Rearing

Last Part of Chapter XII page 108 of the Australasian Bee Manual Fifth Edition 1911 by Isaac Hopkins. The section titled "Another Method of Raising Cells."

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Transcriber's preface.

This is the last section of the Queen Rearing chapter. The first part is similar to the Chapter from his 1886 edition.

This is the Hopkins method in his own words.

If anyone knows where I can find an explantion of the "Case Method", preferably in Case's own words, I would love to see it.

I will try to get the pictures as I get time.

If you find any typographical errors or you wish to make comments please send them to:

email address

The Australasian Bee Manual

I've also published the Australasian Bee Manual and you can also buy the book from most online bookstores including:

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Barnes and Nobel US | Booktopia AU

This chapter as well as the 1886 version is also published with other classic queen rearing books in the "Classic Queen Rearing Compendium"

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The Hopkins Method of Queen Rearing

Chapter XII page 108 of the Australasian Bee Manual Fifth Edition 1911 by Isaac Hopkins.

QUEEN REARING.

Another Method of Raising Cells.

The method I am about to describe was, I believe, first tried and described by an Austrian Bee-keeper, but so far as I am aware, I was the first to give it a trial in this part of the world. At the Government Apiary, and with excellent results as Fig. 66 indicates.

A new bright (wired) comb of the previous season's construction was put into the hive of one of our breeding queens; when fairly full of eggs and newly hatched larvae it was removed and laid flat on a bench. A thin-bladed knife was run along each side of every fourth row of cells, cutting down to the mid-rib only. The three intermediate rows of cells were scooped out with the blade of a broad bradawl, as shown in fig 65, an easy matter, leaving every fourth row intact. Two out of every three eggs or larvae in the standing rows, were killed, as in the Alley plan, and also all eggs and larvae between the rows. This is important. The cells on the opposite side of the comb were not touched.

A strong two-story colony was in the meantime prepared for cell building in the manner already described, an empty half-story was placed immediately over the brood chamber, an empty frame being laid flat on the brood frames and the prepared comb (prepared side downwards) laid flat on the empty frame. The latter was covered with a light mat, and the upper story replaced.

In due course we obtained sixty good cells in our first experiment, and over eighty as shown in fig. 66 in our second trial. The above illustrations were made from photos taken by myself, the cells being fore-shortened in the view look smaller than they really were. As soon as the cells are well started a queen excluder may be put on and the queen returned in the manner previously described.

Caution.

The comb lying flat over the brood chamber is subject to considerable heat, and we found in one case part of the comb had sagged down owing to the softening of the comb, and weight of the bees. We then would wire around the frames between the standing rows of cells, which checked the sagging. Either wire or thin splints of wood will do. We obtained some very fine queens by this method, and as a wholesale way of raising cells, I consider it immensely superior to raising them on the swarm box plan with a small force of bees from artificial cell cups and transferred larvae. Plenty of ventilation should be provided when raising queen cells in this manner.

From Frank C. Pellett's 1929 book, "Practical Queen Rearing"

BIG BATCHES OF NATURAL CELLS BY THE HOPKINS OR CASE METHOD

Many extensive honey producers who desire to make short work of requeening an entire apiary, and who do not care to bother with mating boxes or other extra paraphernalia, make use of the Case method, which has been somewhat modified from its original form. This method is advocated by such well known beekeepers as Oscar Dines of New York and Henry Brenner of Texas. The plan was first used in Europe.

To begin with, a strong colony is made queenless to serve as a cell building colony. Then a frame of brood is removed from the center of the brood nest of the colony containing the breeding queen from whose progeny it is desired to rear the queens. In its place is given a tender new comb not previously used for brood rearing. At the end of four days this should be well filled with eggs and just hatching larvae. If the queen does not make use of this new comb at once, it should not be removed until four days from the time when she begins to lay in its cells. At that time nearly all the cells should be filled with eggs and some newly hatched larvae.

This new comb freshly filled is ideal for cell building purposes. The best side of the comb is used for the queen cells and is prepared by destroying two rows of worker cells and leaving one, beginning at the top of the frame. This is continued clear across the comb. We will now have rows of cells running lengthwise of the comb, but if used without further preparation the queen cells will be built in bunches that will be impossible to separate without injury to many of them. Accordingly, we begin at one end, and destroy two cells and leave one in each row, cutting them down to the midrib, but being careful not to cut through and spoil the opposite side. Some practice destroying three or four rows of cells, and leaving one to give more room between the finished queen cells.

We now have a series of individual worker cells over the entire surface of the comb, with a half inch or more of space between them. The practice varies somewhat with different beekeepers beyond this point. However, this prepared surface is laid flatwise with cells facing down, over the brood nest of the queenless colony, first taking care to make sure that any queen cells they may have started are destroyed. In general, it is recommended that the colony be queenless about seven days before giving this comb. By this time there will be no larvae left in the hive young enough for rearing queens, and the bees will be very anxious to restore normal conditions. Some beekeepers simply take away all unsealed brood, rather than leave the bees queenless so long.

As generally used, this method requires a special box or frame to hold the prepared comb. This is closed on one side to prevent the escape of heat upward and to hold the comb securely in place. Some kind of support is necessary to hold the comb far enough above the frames to leave plenty of room for drawing large queen cells. It is also advisable to cover the comb with a cloth which can be tucked snugly around it, to hold the heat of the cluster. By using an empty comb-honey super above the cluster, there is room enough for the prepared comb and also for plenty of cloth to make all snug and warm.

Strong colonies only should be used for this, as for any other method of queen rearing. If all conditions are favorable, the beekeeper will secure a maximum number of cells. From 75 to 100 fine cells are not unusual. By killing the old queens a day or two before the ripe cells are given, it is possible to requeen a whole apiary by this method with a minimum of labor. According to Miss Emma Wilson, it is possible to get very good results by this method, without mutilating the comb, although it is probable that a smaller number of queen cells will be secured. By laying the comb on its side as practiced in this connection, the cells can be removed with a very slight effort and with a minimum of danger.

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The original book is in the public domiain. This arrangement of the book Copyright 2004 by Michael Bush