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The Poor man's method (Hopkins)

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  • The Poor man's method (Hopkins)

    Hello all.

    I hope today will be the year I do some queen rearing for myself.
    I have a surviving beehive that threw a swarm last year (the swarm did not survive winter) and I'm thinking to myself: "These bees are getting adapted to my local environment."

    That's why I want to go ahead with this hive and make some more queens from this line.

    This is what I'm thinking of doing. Any feedback is welcome.

    - - - - - - - -
    1. I'll wait untill I have a hive that's building up really nice.
    2. I'll look for the Q in that hive and put her in a new box with all eggs I can find and move that Q to another apiary. (with enough bees so she can build up again)
    3. From my surviving hive I'll remove a frame of eggs and young larvae and put that frame (without the bees) on top of the queenless hive - using the Hopkins method - this will be the only source to draw queens from.
    4. I'll harvest the queens on day 9 leaving one or two for the hive and move them into mating nucs.
    - - - - - - - - -

    Any comments? Suggestions?

    Waregem - West-Vlaanderen - Belgiƫ (Flemish/Dutch)
    Waregem - West-Flanders - Belgium (English)
    My Blog

  • #2
    I've never tried this or even heard about it. I'll check out the link to the Youtube video. Good luck.


    • #3
      To give you an update, a project came my way with breeding AMM (Apis Mellifera Mellifera). This took up all my time and I didn't start up the Hopkins methode this year.
      The AMM project gifted me some grafted larvae but only 45% were accepted and drawn out.
      Of those only 25% got mated properly!
      I was hoping for higher rates...
      Waregem - West-Vlaanderen - Belgiƫ (Flemish/Dutch)
      Waregem - West-Flanders - Belgium (English)
      My Blog


      • #4
        As to the original plan, I find the important thing is that the starter and finisher are strong so that the queens are well fed. Setting up a queenless colony in a new place does not accomplish this. Making a strong hive crowded by removing all the empty space and making them queenless by putting the queen in a new place gives you a strong queenless colony for a starter/finisher. But I really prefer to have a starter box (swarm box) to get them started and then a queen right finisher. The swarm box is full of shaken nurse bees, honey, pollen and queen cells. In the case of the Hopkins method, I make a shim to fit on top of a nuc to hold the frame so I can make a starter.

        The queenright finisher is just a strong hive that is sorted. I sort all the frames into these categories: honey/pollen, mostly open brood, mostly capped brood, mostly empty drawn comb, undrawn frames. Then I stack it up like this from bottom to top: honey/pollen, mostly drawn comb with one of open brood, queen excluder, mostly capped, mostly open. I remove all of the undrawn unless it is to finish out one of the boxes. The queen cells (if grafting) are put in the top box of mostly open brood so there will be plenty of nurse bees. If doing the Hopkins method, add an empty box to the top, put an empty frame (no foundation) at an angle on the top bars. Put the Hopkins frame (from the starter) on top of that. Fill the rest of the box with rags so the bees don't build comb in it. Come back 9 days or so after you had put the newly hatched larvae in the starter and cut out the cells to put them in the mating nucs.

        As to results, to me the important thing is the quality of the queens. But it is frustrating when the results are not as high as you think they should be. My old location (30 miles from my new location) I would get about 80% of the virgins mated. Here it is more like 25%. Very frustrating. I keep experimenting trying to figure out how to fix that but haven't succeeded yet.
        Nehawka, Nebraska. My website: en espanol: auf deutsche: em portugues: My book:
        -----"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin-----


        • BobTheBuilder
          BobTheBuilder commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for sharing Michael! Another proof of how valuable your website is! I'll return to it during winter to read up on what I have already forgotten!