For many backyard beekeepers the thought of grafting queen cells sounds similar to performing brain surgery or rocket science. While there are many methods of making queens (Advanced Beekeeping) Randy Oliver has produced a great powerpoint presentation that provides an easy and understandable step-by-step tutorial on grafting queen cells. The advantages of creating your own queens are numerous. They include cost savings as queens in our area sell for $25-35. Also time savings as allowing a split nuc to create their own queen takes about 50 days to produce a laying queen. This means the building of your colony and honey production are delayed 50 days. Maybe most important of all, grafting your own queens from your strongest colony allows you to control the future genetics of your colonies. This allows you to participate in creating your own disease resistant, hygienic, local, survivor stock which may be the most important aspect of the future of beekeeping.
While the grafting process can be performed at any time mating is possible your local swarm season is best. All that is required is a frame of pollen, a frame of young brood and lots of nurse bees. The tools required are a grafting tool (Urban Bee), plastic cell cups and a damp towel. A magnifying jeweler's headlamp is optional. Queens emerge 10-12 days after grafting. To check out Randy's detailed powerpoint on grafting view and/or download Queens for Pennies in Pdf format or Queens for Pennies in powerpoint format from our Beekeepers' Library or go to ScientificBeekeeping.com.