In 1986, a New Zealand beekeeper
introduced me to this method of rearing queens that does not require grafting bee
larva. He described the method during a visit to Fiji, then kindly sent me a Jenter
kit through the mail as a gift.
The cell-plug queen rearing method is similar
in most ways to other queen rearing methods, but overcomes difficulties that novice
breeders often have grafting larva. The Jenter queen rearing method was awarded a
Gold Medal by Apimondia in 1987.
The method involves confining the
breeder queen in a plastic box, where she lays eggs in cell plugs.
A few days later, the beekeeper moves
the plugs, now containing young larva, into queenless cell-raising colonies.
There are several versions of cell-plug kits
sold today. A cut-away view of the original Jenter box from Germany is shown at the
The cell-raising colonies feed and care
for the queen cells. When the queens are ready to hatch, each cell is moved
to a mating nucleous colony.
The guy in these photographs is my friend
Robert Hutchinson of Dallas, Texas. He raises more than one hundred queens a
year now with this method. Robert was awarded the Texas Beekeepers
Association's "1996 Beekeeper of the Year" award.
I have been very satified with the quality of
the queens that I raise, and attribute this to several factors:
damage to larva during grafting
queen cells in each cell-raising colony than commercial breeders typically use.
of feeding and availability of pollen during the cell-raising period.
that are well-adapted to local conditions.
Robert and I wrote an article on this queen
rearing method that was published in Bee Culture magazine, December, 1990, and in a Speedy
Bee newspaper the next year. The Jenter kit is available from Brushy Mountain Bee
Farm (see my Links page).