Well, today was the day I went back to school. Today, myself and 12 others attended David Burns' 2011 Queen Rearing Course at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms near Danville, Illinois. There was quite an assortment of beekeepers at this school who came from Arcola, Centralia, Peoria, Chicagoland, St. Louis...the the farthest traveler came from Nova Scotia, Canada!! Dave took us through the basics of Queens to help us understand their nature...you don't change the bees, the bees change you. Dave is a wealth of information (he is one of only two Master Beekeepers in the State of Illinois) and his propensity for bee facts made by trivia-designed brain spin with enjoyment. Did you know that Virgin Queens mate with upwards of 25 dones? That a Virgin Queen will travel about a mile away to mate? That dones congregate in the same area for mating year after year even though no drone ever survive the winter to tell the new drones where to go? That the Virgin Queen's mating flight only lasts an average of 13 minutes? That after successfully mating, the Queen stores in her spermatheca 5-7 million spermatozoa that she will use over her lifetime to lay worker eggs? That if the Virgin Queen doesn't mate within her first 20 days she will lose the urge to mate and will only lay drones? OK, enough of the trivia. At the end of the training I was able to graft 15 cell cups with larve from Dave's beeyard for transferring into my starter hive. In a few days I will see if my grafting worked!
Dave Burns in his Queen Yard looking for a
frame of young larva for the class to graft.
Dave Burns holding one of frames of grafted Queens.