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Special Frames for Egg Transplanting



Exclamation Mark As of May 2004 this page has been replaced by a new version which resides at
http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/transplantframes.html
Please transfer to this new page which will open in a new window if you click on the link.


The frames of comb (of whatever size you are using) need to be equipped with pairs of plant pot rims. It helps if these combs have only a small number of cocoon skins in the cells as the presence of these causes a certain amount of tearing.
73 mm 'Fruit Can' Cutter A cutter needs to be made from a 73 mm diameter food can, as in the sketch at left.

If difficulty is experienced in cutting a circular hole in the comb the edge of the can should be filed to produce small fleam shaped teeth that will cut through the fibrous skins if the cutter is used with a rotary motion (back and forth not continuous).
The small (1 mm) sized teeth are sharpened, using a triangular "Swiss" file, one on the inside face and the next on the outside, continuing all the way around the can.

The cutter produces a hole that has parallel sides, but our inserts are tapered. The outer pot rim has melted beeswax painted around the outside and a modified soldering iron from the embedding tools page is used to shape the hole to fit the insert and to fuse the rim in place.
Fleam Teeth Shape


If female eggs are our aim the plug that has been removed from the comb can be installed in the inner rim by similar methods after the inside of this rim is painted with melted wax. Petroleum jelly is then smeared on the mating faces to act as a release agent. (For drone eggs start with foundation as described on the previous page.)

Transplants in place The two leftmost illustrations indicate the placement of the inserts within the thickness of the comb.

The positions of placement of these inserts on the face of the comb will vary between those frames intended for drone transplanting and those that are intended for transfer of female eggs for queen rearing. It also makes a difference whether the frame is intended for the laying of the eggs or the reception of laid up inserts.

Transplant placement
The red ellipses indicate the normal brood nest boundary which of course will vary according to the position of the frame within the box.

The frames can be half or one third width if those types are commonly used in your system. Care should be taken in obtaining developing larvae from nucs and mating nucs (for queen cell starting) in case the larvae concerned may not be fully nourished.

To have large quantities of pre drawn inserts laid up a taranov swarm can be placed in a closed swarm box that is equipped with a generous sized syrup feeder, the box containing a number of specially made plywood frames that have several outer rims glued in place.

Transplant insert laying up frame This frame is a sheet of 18 mm plywood with a top bar that is 22 mm x 9 mm (the illustration is scaled at 1 pixel per mm and is of B.S. size) Eight holes are cut that would be 76 mm square, but the corners are not fully cut leaving a bee space diagonal slot where each corner should be. The rims are fixed in place using "no nails" type glue (a dollop half the size of a grape in the centre of each side) wipe off any excess glue immediately.

Nailing does not work! as even the smallest gimp pin heads cause the grip to be lost between inner and outer rims.

This frame, being only 18 mm thick, violates normal intercomb spacing, but as the only place the bees can quickly work is in the inserts, there is little interest in building extra comb on the faces of the plywood. However many white knobs of wax are deposited which would become brace or burr comb if they were left. Removal of these aggregations is made much easier if the exposed parts of the plywood are generously coated with petroleum jelly once the outer rims are firmly glued in place.

The bee spaces around each insert ensure that the complete mass of clustering bees is in contact. This transparency allows the frames to be utilised in full sized colonies, but in a more central position within the nest (even the centre) without dividing the bees into two groups.

Swi Bine 'frame' with egg laying insert This single insert version will fit into the Swi Bine Mating Nuc. If you choose to use these small hives for this purpose, you should ensure that the inserts have had the comb drawn by other means so that it is merely a matter of the queen laying up the insert.

The 10 mm holes around the edge of the insert, perform the same function as the slots in the full sized version that is shown above.

When the 76 mm holes are cut by using a holesaw or trepanning cutter, it is very likely that the plywood block will break into two pieces. This is of no consequence, providing that the two halves are positioned correctly at assembly. "No nails" type glue is ideal for assembly and no further fasteners are required.


Egg transplanting using specially adapted tweezers was conducted by Steve Taber...Date?...% viability?

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Written... August 2000, Revised... 26 February 2002, Revised... 25 June 2003, Transferred to New Domain... 17 May 2004,

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