The book I am reading on Raising Queens, says to transfer my grafted larva into a strong colony, made Q- the day before.
My question is, what stops the bees from taking one of the larva already present in the hive and making a queen from it?
Does the mear presents of having larva in a queen cup cause the bees to use only those cells?
There are alot of ways to raise queens. But somewhere it should be noted in your book, that removing frames with eggs along with the queen is needed.
Not only will they not have any place to put the royal jelly for a day, which then helps in the grafts you place into the hive. But they also will not start raising thier own queen.
This forces them to build the queen cells in the only place you want. On the queen cell bars you provide.
Most starter hives(with brood) will start at least a few queen cells from larvae still in the hive,often from older ones that will emerge before your graft,so you have to go in and cut these ,after there is no longer any possibility of them starting their own,but before the first virgin can emerge.(Dont count on removing all the eggs and larvae when setting it up ,there are usually a few hiding that you will miss).I like to leave a good frame of very young larvae to concentrate the nurse bees ,then remove it(gently shaking the bees off) just before putting the frame of grafts in its place.that way ,the nurse bees jump right on the grafts.The less unsealed brood left in the hive the better,as that can pull attention away from the grafts.
[This message has been edited by loggermike (edited December 11, 2004).]
I actually try to have some open larvae on the frames on each side of the cell bars. This seems to help get nurse bees tehre to feed the queen cells.
I try not to have the hive queenless for more than overnight. In other words I set it up the afternoon before and put the cells in that morning. That way they know they are queenless, but haven't had time to start a queen cell. You still have to take into account that there may be an egg somwhere you don't know about, even if you try to get them all out, so it's very possible there will be a queen cell, but if your larvae are 3 to 4 days old when you put them in and you take them out three days before they emerge, so even if the bees started a cell it's no older than mine and mine are gone before that one would have emerged.
Still it's always worth checking for cells when you set up the cell builder and again when you check for cell building on the bar. If there was a capped cell somewhere when you set it up, you will lose them all.
I like to do much the same as MB has stated. In my case though, I will remove the bars from the starter, once capped, and put them into an incubator. But you still need to check for queen cells. If you are going to put the old queen back in, she will destroy most of the cells you get her back in in a timely matter. Remember, she has to find them, to destroy them, and bees tend to build queen cells in different areas. Further, what does not look like a queen cell today, can be one tommorrow.
This actually happened last year when I came back from Dr. Sue Cobey's class on Queen Rearing at Ohio State. Second batch I raised wouldn't draw out the queen cells on the grafts. I checked my notes and she had told us one of the most common reasons for failure is missing a queen cell the bees have started to raise before you put in the grafts. I went back and, sure enough, they had a couple of nice queen cells of their own going on one of the frames. Now I always go back and check every frame to make sure this hasn't happened. Good luck!