Note the strong retinue response  


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Ohio Queen Bees
Locally raised queens for local beekeepers

Ohio Homestead Gardens & Apiaries
Lancaster, Ohio
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   Raising queens with the Nicot system (or equivalent) seemed interesting to me. My queen apparently did not want to lay in the cells in the first 24 hours. After 48, most of the cells had eggs in them. Four days later, I removed the cells which looked the most promising. In other words, cells that had hatched eggs, and appeared to have received some attention from the bees (well fed). It seemed to me that the attention given the cells was somewhat lacking and I wonder if I should have left them in another 12 hours or so.

   Two frames of 16 cells were transferred to the queenless cell starter/builder. I decided to leave the hive queenless for the entire cell building process. 

   After 10 days (from egg lay) the cells were checked. Twenty-one cells were built and were now capped. Above are 10 cells on one frame with bees still covering the cells. Below are the cells with the bees brushed (gently!) off.

   Finally a close-up of two cells...

   Pretty fun! Even though 21 out of 32 cells is probably not commercially acceptable, the equivalent of ordering queens by mail (21 x $15 (+S/H)) is acceptable to me! Providing of course, that they get well mated. I will update with a success rate on that.

   Mating success was probably about average. Out of 21 cells, 2 were destroyed, and 5 either did not mate or would not lay. Dana Stahlman said in a workshop that 75% mating success was about normal.  This leads me to believe that to produce 100 viable queens, you should probably plan to raise 200 queen cells and then work on better acceptance and mating.