mr clemens sezs:
they don't always continue caring for them and finishing them. Though I carefully grafted a new group of larvae into cell cups, them introduced them to the bees, four out of ten were initially accepted and had begun to be constructed, then tonight, three days later, I checked that cell bar and discovered that even the four that they had begun to care for were no longer in an accepted state, they were empty and had been torn back down to cell cup status.
this is a sign that resources are insufficient for the girls to finish the cells and this is why some folks employee finishing colonies where limited resources or bees will not limit the number of cells that come to completion.
I had read in another thread online that you can use a thin coating of Gorilla Glue to seal it, but that is awfully expensive. Is there a cheaper alternative?
it is quite common here for flat roofed commercial building to be insulated with this kind of expanded foam product. it is my understanding that the product is sealed with an acrylic surface about 5 thousand of an inch thick which protect it from the elements and most especially uv. this dimension is approximately the thinkness of most (heavier bodied) paints. I have not tried this myself (since I don't build stuff using that kind of foam) but I would suspect a coat or so of good quality acrylic paint would work just fine.
Feeding is helpful to keep them building the cells. Sometimes I think they see a lack of stores coming in and decide they might not need that many queens...
I realize now that I should have been feeding them, and they would likely not have aborted those cells. They have several frames of pollen, some honey or nectar in most frames, but not much (there is only a very weak flow going now), but I gave them another cell bar, and only boosted their nurse bee population without giving them any carbohydrate supplementation. I am planning to give them a break. I have left them with one nearly ripe queen cell from this last successful batch, and plan to leave this queen in there until she has laid up several frames, then when her brood begins to hatch, move her to another hive, still needing a new queen and switch this hive back into cell-starter/finisher mode.
I have a hive, adjacent to this one (in two supers), that has a majority of frames with emerging worker brood. They have been queenless for a few days now and have lots of pollen, I will feed them while I provide them with grafted cell cups, that should probably work better.
Concerning using styrofoam sheets designed for wall insulation:
The sheets I have been using have a transparent film (which is advertised to help make the foam termite and insect-proof) on each side, one side has blue printing describing the product and its intended uses, the opposite side is blank and appears milk-white. I turn the printed side to the inside and the blank toward the outside, this makes the finished nuc appear almost entirely white from the outside, most reflective of our intense Summer sunlight. I assemble the pieces using hot-melt glue and after assembly seal the seams, inside and out, with a bead of the same, and anywhere the film has been compromised. Each one cost about $4 for foam and another $4 for my labor and the glue, it takes me between 15 - 20 minutes to cut out the parts and assemble one. I use segments of old prescription bottles cut to the thickness of the foam and coated on their inside surface with beeswax to reinforce the circular entrances (keep the bees from attacking the unprotected foam). I cut a 4x8" opening in the center bottom, glue in a piece of #8 hardware cloth for ventilation and 6 pieces of scrap foam for legs (to ensure that the ventilation has clearance to function).
I constructed my first nuc using this material, just fooling around. It has been in use now for several months and the bees have been doing well in it and they have not yet compromised the film on the inside surface of their styrofoam home. If they ever do, I am prepared to coat the foam with whatever is necessary to keep it habitable for the bees and workable for me.
Well, one of my 5-frame medium depth mating nucs (populated 1/2 with my wild-type bees, and 1/2 with golden Cordovan Italians), with 3 frames of pollen nectar and honey, 1 frame with emerging brood, and 1 frame of mostly empty comb. This morning, about 8 days since their virgin Cordovan Italian queen emerged, I checked to see if she was laying. Surprise, the only bees still there were a drone and two workers. All 5 combs were entirely empty and dry -- not even a few robbers trying to lick traces from the bottoms of cells.
Considering the unusual swarm-like activity I observed on the opposite side of the apiary, yesterday afternoon, I am wondering if on her mating flight she and her hive population may have joined another colony there, which hive also had a sister virgin of the same age. I will need to check that out come tomorrow morning, perhaps at least one of these virgins is now mated and heading a somewhat stronger colony.
"...After interfering in my bees lives by directing their process of queen raising, I find that the appearance of queen cells that I have conspired to enjoin my bees to produce is one of the most beautiful sights..."
You have it backward...you have not directed or trained them to do anything...
They have YOU trained!
It IS addictive.
"I like big butts and I cannot lie!"
"Who let the DRONES out? Who who who who!!!"
Rap seems to be speaking the language of queen raising :eek:
I think I have been addicted. I have ordered my first breeder queen from Glenn Apriaries for April 2008.