(The instructions below are those you receive with the kit)
Before describing the details of this method, let us first understand the terms used to describe the various parts that make up the kit:
- Plastic comb box. This is a plastsic box containing a sheet of plastic foundation, which is coated, with a thin layer of wax. This plastic foundation has 90 pre-drilled holes in it.
- Cell Plugs. These fit into the pre-drilled holes. They are removable, and will contain the eggs and larvae at a later stage. They are hollow and beeswax must be imbedded each time they are used.
- Cover plate (rear). The plastic box has a removable rear cover plate, which allows access to the cell plugs, for their insertion/removal.
- Queen excluder (front) the front is covered with a plastic queen excluder material, the center of which can be independently removed to insert the queen into the comb box and release her.
- Queen cell starter cups. These are small open-ended cones. Which simply fit over the cell plugs. They are used once the cell plugs have young larvae in them. They will form the beginning of the queen cell.
- Yellow cupholders. These larger open-ended cones conveniently hold the cell plug/queen cell start cups in place on cell bars.
The Jenter Method of Queen Production
This system is used to produce young larvae to subsequently transferred to the cell starter.
Equipment Needed: The complete Jenter queen rearing kit, a drawn brood fram, and a sharp penknife. 2 small wood screws, and a medium brood foundation or other foundation.
Pre-Requisites: A breeder queen, a cell starter colony, a cell finisher colony, and mating nuclei.
How it works: The breeder queen is confined on a small piece of drawn comb inside the plastic comb box containing removable cell plugs. She fills the comb and cell plugs with eggs. These will be allowed to hatch and the larvae are then transferred to a cell starter and later to a cell finisher and finally to a mating nuclei.
How To Do It
Select a well-used drawn brood frame, full of unsealed honey. Using a sharp knife cut out a piece 4″ wide out of the center of the frame. Attach the two top legs of the plastic comb box to the underside of the top bar. Screw the top legs in place using the two small screws. Try to adjust the position of the plastic comb box, so that the frame will fit back into the brood box at it’s normal spacing and the front of the queen excluder if flush with the face of the drawn comb. You can also cut the legs off and simply slide the box into the drawn frame and the bees will attach the box to the frame.
Use the blade of a small knife to gently pry off the rear cover plate. Rub the four holding pins that hold this plate in position with some beeswax to make removal and insertion easier.
You must prepar the hollow cell plugs by pushing them down into a piece of medium brood or some other form of beeswax by twisting them and embedding the wax in the hole and on the face of the plug. This give you a beeswax base in the tip of the cell plug for the queen to lay her eggs on and each time you use these plugs you must embed a new coating of wax. Push 90 of these plugs into the back of the cell box and then replace the rear cover plate.
Place the complete frame and comb box into any healthy strong brood box. Feed the colony with one gallon of heavy syrup (2 parts sugar to one part water) in a feeder. In a couple of days the cells will be drawn out and filled with honey. The frame can then be removed and any surplus bees can be gently brushed off into their original colony. At this stage no queen has had access to the comb box and therefore it will have no brood in it.
Obtaining Young Larvae From the Breeder Queen
The complete frame and comb box is inserted into the colony from which you wish to obtain eggs. A s long as the queen excluder remains in place in the comb box, the brood frame and comb box can be left in the colony ready for use until you want to start the egg laying again. You should leave the frame in a colony until you want to use it again.
Five days before you wish to transfer the larvae to the cell starter. Confine the queen in the Jenter comb box. This is accomplished by temporarily removing the central queen excluder plug from the front plastic excluder, finding the queen, and putting her in the box via the center hole and replacing the plug confinining her to the comb box. Check the frame after 10-12 hours. Usually the bees will have removed the honey and all the cells and cell plugs wil be filled with eggs. If the colony is less active, it may take 24 hours for the frame to be filled but an inspection at 12 hours is still necessary in order to know the exact age of the eventual larvae. There must be frames of eggs on either side of the fram ewith the cell box or the bees might remove the eggs and move them somewhere else.
As soon as eggs are present, pry off the complete front queen excluder and ensure the queen walks out of the comb box to the adjoining frame.
Replace the queen excluder and return the complete frame to the center of the brood nest of the breeder queen.
The larvae are clearly visible and are at all times surrounded by food.
The beekeeper can spot and discard poorly developed larvae at an early stage. The method is very quick and extremely dependable once you have a little experience under your belt.
Should hou not understand cell builders, cell finishers, or mating nuclei we offer the following books:
- Practical Queen Rearing
- Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding
The Jenter System
Components of the Jenter Kit
Day 0: Attach the plugs to the other pieces. Transfer to the Cell Starter.
- Cell plug containing larva
- Starter Cups
- Assembled components
On day 0, Larvae are at the most suitable growth state for transfer from the cell donor to the queen cell starter.
Note: Honey Run Apiaries does not sell the Jenter Kit
It may be purchased though other beekeeping suppliers.
Mann Lake Ltd. – carries the Mann Lake Queen Rearing Kit which is similar.
Swienty – carries the NC Queen rearing system, similar and appears identical to the Mann Lake Kit.
If you know of anyone else who carries the Jenter Kit (or similar) please email firstname.lastname@example.org.