Mogens Jensen has been working with the Asian hive bee, Apis cerana in Bangladesh and India for many years. He has developed a new method for queen rearing with Apis cerana, simple and easy to use at village level.
Making things simple is often very complicated! Last year I finally found the missing piece in the puzzle of how to rear successfully Apis cerana queens. Tests during a one month training course held at the Danish Beekeepers\' Fund/Palni Hills Conservation Council Beekeeping Project in South India were successful. Since then some of the trainers have reared queens and new colonies. More than 50% of the graftings resulted in emerging queens.
Reasons for designing The Jensen Method
The Jensen Method
The Jensen Method differs from others in three main ways:
Basics of the queen cup
To make the queen cups two bamboo
sticks are needed. One with a diameter of 5.9 mm and one with a diameter of 5.0 mm. The 5.9 mm stick is dipped in pure melted Apis cerana wax three to four times at a 90° angle to the surface of the wax, and then cooled in water. The stick is then tilted to a 45° angle to the wax surface and dipped until a tip forms. Use three fingers to draw the tip longer and make it pointed. (see picture right)
The queen cup is cut with a knife at a length of 6-7 mm from the base. The queen cup is transferred to the 5.0 mm stick and the entrance of the cup is shaped to the size of the stick. (see picture below)
Grafting is the process of moving a one day old worker larva from her cell in to a queen cell. At one day old the larva still has the potential to develop into either a worker bee or a queen bee. If the beekeper gets conditions right, inside the queen cell the grafted larva will develop into a queen.
The process of moving the tiny larva nees good light, good eye sight and a steady hand. A shaped piece of matchstick, a toothpick or a special grafting tool can be used to do this. The end of the tool must be smooth and shaped to lift the larva without damaging her.
First published in Bees for Development Journal No. 55