I've always found the names of queen rearing methods a bit confusing. The more I researched them the more confusing I found them. Here are some of my discoveries:

Queens Rearing Methods and names in chronological order:

Doolittle Method from Scientific Queen Rearing, 1846

Transferring larvae into artificial queen cups.

Nichel Jacob was a German scientist/beekeeper who discovered that workers could raise a new queen from a young worker larvae in 1568.

Schirach, based on this work was the first to graft that we know of. -- A.M. Schirach, ("Physikalische Untersuchung der bisher unbekannten abet nachher entdeckten Erzeugung der Bienenmutter," 1767):

M. Schirach's famous experiment on the supposed conversion of a common worm into a royal one, cannot be too often repeated, though the Lusatian observers have already done it frequently. I could wish to learn whether, as the discoverer maintains, the experiment will succeed only with worms, three or four days old, and never with simple eggs. --Francis Huber, New Observations on the Natural History of Bees Letter IV.

Which Huber repeated in 1789 and published in 1794:

"I put some pieces of comb, with some workers eggs, in the cells, and of the same kind as those already hatched, into a hive deprived of the queen. The same day several cells were enlarged by the bees, and converted into royal cells, and the worms supplied with a thick bed of jelly. Five were then removed from those cells, and five common worms, which, forty-eight hours before we had seen come from, the egg substituted for them. The bees did not seem aware of the change; they watched over the new worms the same as over those chosen by themselves; they continued enlarging the cells, and closed them at the usual time" --Francis Huber, New Observations on the Natural History of Bees Letter IV.

And Doolittle repeated in 1846:

In this work I often found partly-built queen-cells with nothing in them, or perhaps some would contain eggs, which, when I found them, I would take out, substituting the larvae in their places. As a rule, I would be successful with these, as well as with those that were put into the cells that contained royal jelly, but now-and-then a case would occur when only those placed in royal jelly would be used. -- G.M. Doolittle, Scientific Queen Rearing Chapter V

Doolittle does not take credit for inventing the queen cup:

I remember that away back in some of the bee-papers, some one had proposed making queen-cells to order, on a stick, for a penny a piece, and why could I not so make them? It would do no harm to try, I thought; therefore I made a stick, so that it would just fit inside of a queen-cell, from which a Queen had hatched, and by warming a piece of wax in my hand, I could mould it around the stick, so as to make a very presentable queen-cup.

So the "Doolittle method" was not, by Doolittle's admission, invented by Doolittle. This should be the "Schirach Method" or maybe even the "Jacob Method".

Alley Method from The Bee-Keeper's Handy Book I, 1883

Starting in a swarm box and cutting worker comb and attaching vertically instead of horizontally

Alley only used the "swarm box" as a way to convince the bees of their queenlessness. Then he put them in a queenless cell starter hive. So the concept of starting cells in a "swarm box" did not originate with Alley since he never actually used it.

Alley suggested using old brood comb and he attached it to the bottom of existing comb and not a "cell bar".

Elements of this show up in the Hopkins and Smith methods, but no one, that I know of, is using the Alley method commercially.

Miller Method from A Year Among the Bees to Fifty Years Among the Bees, 1885

Cutting a new comb in a zig zag or a foundation in a zig zag and strips

Albert Cook published this in 1876. As far as I know Miller never claimed he originated this method, he just popularized it. So the "Miller" method is really the "Cook" method. There are still hobbyists doing this. I know of no commercial queen breeders doing this.

Hopkins Method aka Case Method, Isaac Hopkins from the Australasian Bee Manual, 1911

Turning a comb of worker brood horizontal with larvae destroyed to make gaps between the queen cells

But Isaac Hopkins gives credit to an unnamed Austrian beekeeper for inventing the method that is usually attributed to him. This method is in the 1911 version.

His own method was a modified "Alley method" with new comb instead of old comb waxed to cell bars, instead of the bottom edge of some comb. About his own method Hopkins says:

I have tried several methods for raising queen cells, but none have given me so much satisfaction as the one I first saw described in Gleanings in Bee Culture for August, 1880 by Jos. M. Brooks and which I have since practiced. It is very similar to Mr. Alley's method, explained in his "Handy Book" --Isaac Hopkins, The Australasian Bee Manual 1886 Chapter XII pg 211

So Hopkins actually used a modified Alley Method, basically substituting new comb for old comb which he lays no claim to, but instead gives credit to Joseph Brooks.

I can't find information on what "Case" recommended, so I can't say if this is really the "Case Method" or not.

Smith Method from Queen Rearing Simplified, 1923

Starting cells in a "swarm box" and grafting larvae into cups

Smith gets credit for originaing starting the cells in the swarm box, rather than just using it to convince the bees of their queenlessness. Smith, however gives that credit to Eugene Pratt. Grafting, of course, is the "Doolittle method" which was invented by Schriach. Usually when referring to the "Smith Method" as opposed to the "Doolittle Method" the distinction is in the use of the "Swarm Box".

Smith's Better Queens Method 1949, Better Queens

Cutting strips of new comb with worker brood and destroying every other cell and putting it on a cell bar

This, of course, is the actual Hopkins method (or more accurately the Joseph M. Brooks method), which Hopkins wrote about 63 years before Jay Smith did. Which is really only the Alley method with new comb. I have no doubt Smith came up with it himself after observing emergency cells on new comb compared to emergency cells on old comb, but the main concept is a rehash of the Alley method with new comb and a cell bar. Of course there are many details that Smith had refined over the years, but the basic concept, as Jay Smith says, is just the Alley method with new comb.

If it deserved a new name to distinguish it from the "Alley Method" this should be the "Hopkins Method" or, better yet, the "Brooks Method" or maybe just the "Alley Method with new comb".

Of course it's too late to straighten it all out now.

Michael Bush

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Copyright 2006 by Michael Bush

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