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Thread: grafting 101

  1. #21
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    Thanks everyone!,

    This weekeend is going to be cooler than I expected. How about grafting at 50 degrees? It was probably 55 last time I grafted.

    Also what about cold temps during cell building? I was thinking as long as its warm enough to raise brood, the temperature should be OK. I'm not worried about mateing flights and drones as it was warm before and soon will be warm again.

    And, would it be a good idea to put like 50 grafts in one cell builder, knowing that they probably all won't take? I'm using a frame with about 25.

  2. #22
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    What was your take the first time round?

  3. #23
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    Good question, frost, work schedule, and cold winds have prevented me from pulling the frame out to look.

    How cold is too cold to look? When I'm there, its been cold enough that "I" wouldn't open any regular hive and expose brood frames.

  4. #24
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    If its above 50 and no wind, I could see lifting the frame just long enough to count the cells. 5 seconds or less would not hurt.

    Something to keep in mind...Sometimes the bees, even in a strong hive, will cluster and leave the end cells exposed if it is cold enough.

  5. #25
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    Well, it was finally warm enough yesterday afternoon to check. One out of 25 took. I guess thats better than zero, must have done something right. I also had some queen cells on frames and made up one mating nuc out of that. I grafted again and it went alot better. I went ahead and put in 50 this time since I had a low percentage. There isn't any open brood now either for them to feed. I added two full frames of pollen and shook some more bees in an empty box on the top seperated w/newspaper.

    I'd say I was grafting at 55 degrees again, but this time I had a heater and humidifier going in the shed. Maybe it was mid 60s in there. I should be able to check this time in a few days.

    Seems like I read not to uncurl the c shaped larvae when grafting, is this right? I didn't think about it till I lifted a few from one end and the other end stuck long enough for the larvae to straighten.

    Also, if I need to, how about a third grafting session late in the week? Is there anything I can do to maintain moral in a queenless cell builder?

    Newbie tip: When covering your cell bars with wet cloth for humidity, make sure to ring the rags out as much as possible and let them hang a while to dry, or the cell cups will end up with water in them.

  6. #26
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    You need to lift the larvae with the jelly, and lay the jelly down. Don't actually touch the larvae. They are easily damaged. Also, they have to lay in the same position. If you flip them over they will drown.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #27
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    Oh,

    How do you tell if your lifting the jelly and not touching the larvae?

    Also, I'm thinking that when you make one attempt with the grafting tool, if it dosen't lift out perfectly the first time, you should skip that cell and try the next one?

  8. #28
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    >How do you tell if your lifting the jelly and not touching the larvae?

    You can tell by how the larvae and the liquid move. At least you can if you can see that well. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    >Also, I'm thinking that when you make one attempt with the grafting tool, if it dosen't lift out perfectly the first time, you should skip that cell and try the next one?

    If you think you bumped it or flipped it over, yes. You may as well just move to the next one.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #29
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    Most queen grafting instructions I read state to use dark brood comb. Is this so you can more easily see the larvae for grafting? Or does it effect a queen's willingness to lay in it quickly?

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  10. #30
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    well waya it was explained to me years back that the darker comb aided in seeing the larvae, although I (with the assistance of a magnifying lens and light) see young larvae on both equally well.

  11. #31
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    I've been forced to use young comb with white plastic foundation.

    I would cut some cells out to start queen cells, if it wasn't for the plastic.

  12. #32
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    >Most queen grafting instructions I read state to use dark brood comb. Is this so you can more easily see the larvae for grafting? Or does it effect a queen's willingness to lay in it quickly?

    It's easier to see AND you don't poke a hole through the bottom of the cell so easily.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #33
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    The results are in from my second grafting attempt.
    10 out of 50 took to capping. 20%s better than 4% I suppose.

    However I had mostly short stubby finished queen cells. What is it that causes this?

    The cell starter had plenty of bees, pollen, and feed.
    Most of my mateing nucs had finished queen cells in them already since my best hive swarmed leaving loads of queen cells and some real nasty bees.

    I decided I had done enough damage to my apiary this spring and combined the cell starter with a week hive. I have 3 colonies starting swarm preparation and will split it up after the cells are finished to fill out my mateing nucs. Kind of depressed about my grafting results, but I will try again this summer for more practice.

  14. #34
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    >20%s better than 4% I suppose.

    It keeps getting better.

    >However I had mostly short stubby finished queen cells. What is it that causes this?

    Some are larger than others and I don't know why. Some think the small ones aren't as good of queens. I haven't noticed any real difference.

    >The cell starter had plenty of bees, pollen, and feed.

    Plenty of bees is overflowing. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    >Most of my mateing nucs had finished queen cells in them already since my best hive swarmed leaving loads of queen cells and some real nasty bees.

    Meaning you did or didn't put your cells in them?

    >I decided I had done enough damage to my apiary this spring and combined the cell starter with a week hive. I have 3 colonies starting swarm preparation and will split it up after the cells are finished to fill out my mateing nucs.

    Those are my favorite queens anyway. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    > Kind of depressed about my grafting results, but I will try again this summer for more practice.

    It may not be the grafting. It may just be too early.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #35
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    >Meaning you did or didn't put your cells in them?

    I put my grafted cells in, in addition to the swarm cells. I figured if one cell is good, 3 is better?

    >It may not be the grafting. It may just be too early.

    Possibly, I'm not really experienced enough to know, although the hives had no problem building their own cells. I'll stick with it, try and build some skills this summer, when I don't have to worry so much about my meddling slowing down the bees.

    As a side note, my checkerboarding experiements went great until I ran out of drawn comb. Everything went into swarm mode as soon as they finished it all out. I opened the hives to checkerboard empty frames throughout all the medium boxes, and realized I was too late. I would have needed to do it about 2 weeks ago to make the room when they needed it, but I really think it was too cold for them to draw comb. Perhapse just the extra space would of helped, I don't know. Maybe I can find out next year.

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