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Heir to the throne? But I'm far too young!!

posted May 8, 2018, 7:39 AM by Helen Mooney   [ updated May 8, 2018, 8:10 AM ]
Now
is the time to prepare for queen rearing and
I am sure many seasoned bee breeders have already started grafting. Grafting is lifting 24 hour old larvae out of a worker cell and placing it in an artificial cell in a downward vertical position.  This induces the bees to feed the larva royal jelly exclusively and this, in turn, triggers the queen developmental pathway. All fertilised eggs are 'totipotent'- they can become either queens or workers, depending on the physiological triggers they are later presented with, be that artificially or not. It is handy to get your eye in on what a 24 hour larva looks like.  I have magnified three larvae by a factor of 20 here, the youngest of which barely occupies the bottom of its cell and is not yet c shaped.  This is the correct age to graft.