Adapting the brood frame
An empty brood frame was adapted to take the Jenter cage. Two vertical wooden struts were fixed to the frame so that the kit would push-fit in place. (A second frame was also made for use later in the operation).
To prepare the frame for use the central part (where the Jenter would eventually go) was fitted with a push-fit small frame containing worker foundation. The two outside areas were left empty so that the bees would build drone comb.
This frame was place in frame position 4 in the chosen colony in the third week of March so that drones would be available at the end of April.
The Jenter Cage
In the third week in June this special brood frame was removed and the central mini frame, now containing worker brood, was exchanged for the Jenter cage. The frame was replaced in the hive for the next 24 hours so that the bees would become familiar with the Jenter cage.
The mini frame with the worker brood was placed in the second brood frame (prepared as above) and placed at the edge of the brood nest (frame 7).
Transferring the royal larvae
At 10 am the Jenter cells containing the royal larvae, which were hardy visible, were removed and fitted to the plastic plugs on the cell bar frame. This was then immediately replaced in the Harden box and left for 10 days. A check was made after 5 days to ascertain if indeed any queen cells had been formed. A check was also made on the open brood frame just in case queen cells had been started here. The lower photo shows that only 5 queens cells were formed on the bottom cell bar.
Making up the nucs
On the 12th day 5 three frame nucs were made up. Each nuc consisting of one frame of sealed brood sandwiched between two frames of pollen. A queen cell was introduced to each nuc on the 14th day; the queen emerging two days later.
The overall timetableA timetable summarizes the method as a pop-up
Introducing the Queen
The next day at 6 pm the queen was found and sealed in the Jenter cage.
(It is important that there are no workers in the cage otherwise the queen could be attacked and killed. It is difficult to understand why the workers would want to attack their own queen but this has been learnt by experience.)
Exactly 24 hours later again at 6 pm the queen was removed after laying up the kit with eggs. The frame was replaced in the brood nest and left for 3 days and overnight.
A one day old egg seen standing upright in a Jenter cell