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16773Re: [Beekeeping] Re: Using the Dicot system

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  • Mike S
    Nov 7, 2012
      Good evening.  You asked:


      what is the "punch" method?


      The Cell Punch  Method is a means by which the larva is not handled directly at all. The general classification of this method would be “cell punching.” In this method the entire worker size cell with an egg or appropriate age larva is removed by cutting or coring it out with a variety of tools. Two of the hazards of grafting (mechanical damage and starvation) are eliminated. Since the whole cell is removed, the larva is not touched directly in any way and it is removed intact with its food supply uninterrupted. The cell is now mounted on the exact type bar used for mounting artificial queen cell cups in the Doolittle Method.

      This “cell punch” method is the method that I have used until recently. The selected queen is isolated on a frame of drawn medium (or regular) brood wax foundation. After two to two and one-half days this frame is used to cell punch eggs, thereby assuring that the youngest possible age larvae will be used for queen-production. The younger the larvae that are used, the more ovarioles, or egg-producing structures, the queen will have and thus her vigor and productive life will be greater. This method is still somewhat labor intensive, but it eliminated the hazards that I was concerned about and so I was satisfied with the procedure and the results.<Jerry Hayes>


      The kit I got was produced by one of the members of the Alabama Beekeepers Association.  It included a “punch” ring with a handle, some wooden bases upon which to attach the “punched” cell, some wax which is used in melted form to attach the punched cell to the wooden disk, and about six wooden disks to use as the base for the queen cells that are built.


      The actual cutting ring which is used to cut out the desired cell is a very short piece of tubing with an inner diameter about the size of a dime which has been sharpened on one side.  This is attached to a wire handle with a wooden handle on the other end.   The wooden disks were disks cut from an old broom handle.  Personally I would use a dowel rod with a large enough diameter that it would allow the queen cell to be hung between two brood frames and have the wood disk rest on the top bars of the two adjoining frames. 


      The cutting ring is heated by placing it in a can of water which is heated by a heat source (a portable heat plate) along with a small can of wax which would be used to attach the cut-out cells onto the wooden disks.   The frame which contains the cells you wish to punch should be a frame with wax foundation, drawn out, and containing eggs or one day old brood.   Personally, I think I would prefer the cells with one day old, or less, brood so there isn’t as much danger of the transferred cell drying out during the transfer from the brood frame to the queen cell frame.  The selected cell is centered inside the cutting ring and then the hot ring is pressed all the way through the drawn comb and the circular ring of comb is withdrawn from the comb.  Gently handled, this cut tube of comb is then attached to the wooden disk with a couple of drops of hot wax..  This base is then attached to the bar on the queen cell frame with more drops of hot wax.  This is done multiple times until you have as many queen cells attached to the bars on the queen cell frame as you desire.  All the time that you are doing this, you keep a warm, moist towels covering over both the frame of brood when not being manipulated and l over the queen cell frame.   This is done to keep the eggs or young larvae in the transfer cells from drying out.  Upon completion of the placement of prospective queen cells onto the queen cell frame, the frame is then placed in the queen cell starter colony. 


      That is the cell punch method of obtaining initial queen cells.


      MIKE in LA


      Source of the Jerry Hayes introduction is actually a description of the Hopkins method of queen raising: 

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