Technically Speaking – Queen rearing without grafting – Biological Mite Control

This is going to get a little technical, but for the bee buffs out there who really take their hobby seriously this is one thing you don’t want to miss.  Imagine being able to raise your queens, split your hives and control mites all at the same time!!.  That’s what I have learned to do using OTS (On The Spot) Queen Rearing Method developed by Mel Disselkoen.  All credit goes to him in addition to my thanks.

After studying Langstroth, Doolittle and Miller and replicating their experiments, Mel realized the bees would create queen cells right inside the hive by “notching” a row of young larva.  Notching is the breaking down of the bottom third of a cell wall using your hive tool.  The bees treat these larva differently.

So in practice the process works like this.  I took three of my strong hives and create an artificial swarm.  That is, I removed the queen and two frames of brood plus a shake of bees and created three new hives.  Inside each of the hives that was now queenless I “notched” larva cells as described in Mel’s book.  A week later I returned to check the hives and each of them had brand new queen cells.  Please notice I did this only in strong hives, each with at least five frames of capped brood. 

The beauty of this is that it is possible to take a strong hive with 8 frames of capped brood, create one new hive with an artificial swarm, and create 3 more new hives after queen cells have been formed by taking two frames of brood with a couple queen cells to form the new hive. 

Another benefit of doing this is that you get a brood break.  Approximately 30 days will pass from the time of the artificial swarm until the queen is bred and begins laying.  A 30 day break in brood means mites do not have larva to feed on and most of them will die. 

So what do you do with the hives in which you kept the old queens you may ask?  On about July 1st, you can dispatch the old queens and notch larva cells in these hives.  The new queens that emerge will outlay the mite population because they have been born after the summer solstice.  Bees are sensitive to the seasons and in the winter, after the winter solstice the queens begin to increase their egg laying.  In the summer it works in reverse and they begin to reduce their egg laying after the summer solstice.  However, new queens raised after July 1 will lay eggs just as a queen in the spring lays eggs and will outlay the mites and maintain a strong hive going into winter.

This is very exciting research to me and trying my own hand at it and having successful results is even much more exciting.  I encourage you to go to Mels web site to check this out, buy his book and learn how to do this.  It will completely change your approach to beekeeping and should entirely eliminate the need to use any kind of chemicals or miticides within your hives.  Contact information is below.

website –

email to order book –


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s