I was reading through several of the older threads and saw a few discussing problems particularly at the stage where the cell bars with eggs/larvae are given to the cellbuilder. Here are a few thoughts on how to minimize this problem. Other comments are welcome.
The key to getting good acceptance of eggs and/or larvae is to get the cellbuilder colony up to almost swarming strength. Feeding with dilute syrup or honey for at least 2 weeks is one way to achieve this. you can also transfer appropriate age brood from another hive a week or two before cellbuilding begins or combine two colonies if that is appropriate.
The cell bar and cups should be assembled and given to the bees for 24 hours to polish and clean. If this stage is omitted, acceptance will be minimal. Once clean, remove the frame and use it within 24 hours.
Its best if the cellbuilder is queenless for at least 12 hours before cells are given. I usually manipulate the colony to queenlessness the night before and then about 16 hours later add the cells.
One of the most important things is to put the cells cups in with minimal disruption particularly don't use much smoke. I leave an empty frame slot next to the wall when making up the cellbuilder then on the day the cells are added, I very gently lift the lid using one or at most 2 puffs of smoke. I then slide the frames apart in the middle and add the cell frame.
Anyone else have good tips on raising queens?