To begin with - there are some valid criticisms of our work.
One is the queen rearing. Already 100 years ago, Rudolf Steiner said, that if we continue like this, with the kind of queen rearing which we operate, the bee, in 100 years, will be infertile. And he was not entirely wrong. But there are problems at the beginning and we need to quickly adapt to new situations and change quickly the genetics of many of our hives.
I must not do that much longer, and Dee has ceased some time with it some time ago.
Now I will tell about things, where a few will say that I'm crazy, because you simply cannot believe it, but I have tried and it worked exactly as Dee told me.
I have already mentioned – it is quite simple - we must multiply the hives, that better defend themselves against the diseases, and those who are less able to handle it, we must eliminate. Ie do not kill, but you have to solve the health problem, then remove immediately the queen and replace her with one, that we have bred after certain criteria.
So we need to breed queens, does not matter how, because there are many kinds. I often use the Cloake board, but it is the same.
The trick that is applied by Dee, is briefly explained as follows:
Dee does not search the old queens, but mimics the process of a supercedure queen in a hive. For this purpose, she breeds virgin queens, who have no smell, that is the most important factor. And she adds them to the hive with the use of smoke in a stress free situation. I could not believe it, made it many times and can say that it works to 90%. The new queen is accepted, is mated and the old one - no one knows what exactly happens, have discussed a lot about it, disappears.
The question is: how do we get the virgin queens odor-free?
We do the grafting and wait until the queen cells have been capped.
Very important in my experience is, that we feed the hive, that builds the cells, strongly with honey. The cells are quite long and there is plenty of royal jelly left inside. I pour a pound of honey every day, just over the frames and in addition, with a feeder, I feed honey. And the other trick, that they accept many cells on the first day, is to place the frame with the grafted cells very close to the next frames (without separation) The next day they are placed at right distance.
We do not do the grafting with water but with a lot of royal jelly, diluted with water - the one day old maggots are swimming in jelly.
If we now have capped queen cells, we put them in thin flat-bottomed glass tubes and then in the incubator.
I bought a cheap but very good incubator in which I installed a weather station sensor that monitors moisture and temperature, also with alarm.
There, the queens hatch, resting first a couple of hours in sleep, usually on the back and then we can introduce them into the selected hives.
Thus you can control this babies beautifully whether you like them in every aspect and you can keep them alive even up to 24 hours, or longer. These are babies, you have to feed them, clean them, give them to drink, etc. But it is best to use them straight on when they wake up. This can often be stressful for the beekeeper to get up several times at night to check them.
But most important is NEVER touch the virgins by the fingers, or they take the smell.
Now comes another trick.
I do not know if you ever have worked your hives at night. This works well with red light, which can not be seen by the bees. I have a head lamp with red bulb and red glass, open the hive and the bees remain absolutely quiet. They cannot see us (so you can open most savage hives, and even search the queen - but beware of the bees run anywhere, preferably in the pants from the bottom).
I smoke some times with the smoker through the entrance hole until it comes up through the opened lid. Then I free the virgin from the glass tube, without touching her, in a place where I suspect, that the old queen is not present at the moment. Close - ready. The most important thing is, that the bees are not stressed and we can observe that the virgin enters vehemently, the bees touch her and its finished.
Your not going to believe it, I didn't believe it either, but I have learned it. Just try it out;-)
My son Luca has put together a video where Dee also appears at the end:
In Spanish, but you can see quite a lot
Video of Michael Bush about queen rearing and selection