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Steve Rose Method

A method of raising queen cells

There are many different methods of raising queen cells and many variations on them. They all use similar principles, but different ways of doing them. At first glance this method, like many others, may appear to be complicated, but I suggest you spend a little time on it. Understanding what any method is trying to achieve is very important, otherwise failure is the most likely outcome.

Steve Rose keeps his bees in rural North Wales where the conditions are rather harsher than most of us experience. He has developed this method over a number of years to suit his bees and his conditions by modifying a method that was modified from another method, that may have been modified from a previous method, etc! This is often how different beekeeping methods develop. Steve has tweaked it to the point where it is so different from the original that I think it can justifiably be called the "Steve Rose Method". He has had some high success rates that others in more favourable conditions would be envious of.

In May 2015 Steve and myself jointly presented two - 2 day courses on bee improvement at Steve's home apiary, where Steve demonstrated his method. Some of the attendees used it at home soon afterwards and reported good results, despite having only used it for the first time.

Steve Rose usually only grafts larvae, but I see no reason why other methods such as cell punching and cell plugs couldn't be used too. I suspect that Miller and Alley methods may be slightly less successful, but in any case I think that anybody who is likely to set up the Steve Rose Method will probably not use them, but one of the other three methods mentioned.

The method does require special equipment in the making of some half boxes, but these can easily be made by a reasonable carpenter using external grade plywood. It wouldn't cost much to use brood box "seconds" and cut the end pieces down. With a little thought these could be made into a "half box system" that could be used in several other ways. I have a number of half boxes that I put above a standard nuc box when I unite queen mating nucs at the end of the summer. I find they overwinter very well. The point I am making is that half boxes without floors will never be wasted. If you don't have half boxes, then I see no reason why a standard brood box that is divided can't be used, in which case a standard queen excluder could be used.

At the time of writing I have not used this method myself, but I have enough experience to know it will work well. I believe this is one of the methods that will suit continuous queen cell production very well. It could be suitable for the larger queen rearer or a queen rearing group where a steady flow of queen cells are required throughout the summer.

This method has been published in a number of places. The button on the top left will take you to a PDF of the latest issue.

I have known Steve Rose a long time and he is very innovative, so he will be looking for improvements where he can. For that reason I suggest visiting this page occasionally.

Roger Patterson.