I've often thought about raising queens, for myself, and others. This year I have actually begun to work at teaching myself how to do it. I am especially interested in producing, not just, good queens, but superb queens. It has so often been said that the fate of a colony depends on the quality of their queen. I want to experience having outstanding queens.
My first success was when I removed the queen from the colony I had chosen to be the cell builder/finisher. After 2 days they began making their own queen cells. I removed all of them except those on one frame. On that frame I swapped their growing queen larvae with larvae from my chosen breeder queen. To my amazement, it was a complete success. I was able to produce 3 queens by larva substitution. They should be mated soon, when I will wait to see how they perform and how their offspring turn out.
Next I was determined to succeed by grafting into artificial queen cell cups. My first two attempts did not achieve any live queen cells. My first try, I grafted dry. No takes. My second attempt was using stored royal jelly thinned with a little water. No takes. My first successful try (number three) was with fresh royal jelly transferred, on the spot, from spontaneous queen cells, built by the bees of my next cell builder, recently made queenless.
Bottom line - queen raising is addictive. 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, next to the sight of so many gorgeous queens. I may never get enough of this -- I am certainly glad that the season in my area is nearly, year-round.