There are many methods to induce the bees to create queencells.
Queen Cell Starting Methods
Skep beekeeping would seem to have propagated the swarming impulse at
the expense of the others. It has also been common for beekeepers to
use swarm cells to make nucleii with or to re-queen stocks. There is
a difference between using swarm cells and using the swarming impulse
in a deliberate queen rearing system.
Miller method... this involves a comb that has a zig-zag
edge at the bottom of the comb portion. The comb can be produced from
scratch by mounting triangular portions of foundation in a frame to
produce the zig-zag effect. The gaps between the strips will be
enlarged in a ragged fashion and also utilised for queencells.
Or a used comb can be cut to shape with a sharp knife. The comb will
be recycled anyway so it matters little, which way is actually chosen.
Alley Method... also known as the 'Alley Plan' whereby a
strip of cells containing one day old larvae, is removed from a comb
and placed with the cells pointing downwards and every 2nd and 3rd
larva is destroyed, leaving adequate spacing for queencells to be
started and finished without surgical skills being needed to separate
the sealed cells.
The queencells in this illustration are exagerated in size, but the
positions that they are shown in were taken from an actual comb.
This is the most promising feature to be cultivated for future bee
improvement as it may help redress the ballance. Skep beekeeping
methods tend to select for swarming propensity simply due to
constantly re-hiving early swarms (swarm of bees in May Etc. Etc.).
Thus many of the strains of bee we have today are derived from these
A last resort for the bees, and should be considered so by the
beekeeper. The practice of splitting or artificial swarming utilises
this impulse which may be OK for the odd increase or re-queening, but
should not be considered seriously for a deliberate breeding program.
Written...24 July 2000
Revised... 20 December 2001