Topbar Beekeeping

I'm an urban topbar beekeeper in Albuquerque, NM. I manage hives in backyards and small organic farms within city limits. These hives are probably pollinating your veggie patches right now. Visit my website at:


Queen Grafts

A good friend and I were in the beeyards today doing the first queen grafts of the season. The reason I'm grafting is because I have 2 horribly nasty hives... Canada and Switzerland that need to be requeened ASAP. Go figure, the hives I named after the most peaceful countries are my jerk hives. I hope to pass the fantastic genetics of my dream hive, Mexico on to other hives. My big plan this year is to have an heir and a spare at all times, just in case one of my queens dies on me.

1. So here is the process for the down and dirty beeyard grafts I used today. First, we rolled up the windows to the pickup truck, wet a towel and let the truck's cab heat up and get moist.

2. Next, we opened up the dream hive Mexico and found a comb of brood with very young larvae swimming in small pools of royal jelly. Did you know that all bees get fed royal jelly in the beginning? We brushed off the bees and rushed the comb to our hot and moist Toyota Cab. You don't want those tiny nuggets of larvae getting dried out or chilled.

3. Then we took a cool tool with a plunger on one end and started moving the larvae directly into the queen cups. They actually make these things for grafting. You can also use a blade of grass or pull a twig off a tree and use the green pith for this. When transferring larvae, you have to make sure to pick up the lavae and place it in the same way, otherwise the larvae might drown in the royal jelly if it's body is flipped.

4. We then rushed the queen cups to a very strong queenless hive with plenty of pollen and honey stores, placed the queens in the middle of the brood, closed up the hive and said a prayer. I'll check next week to see if any of the grafts "took" (if they are actually making queens with them). I will make sure to move the queens to their new homes before they emerge and sting each other to death.
Empty Queen cups. Yes that is duck tape. 

Picking up a larvae

Eye Check. The future Queen

This truck is hot!

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