Queen Rearing Questions
A few questions:
Anyone keep their breeder colonies (donor mother) in different yards then their cell builder? If so, how do you trasport your grafting bars?
Anyone harvest queen cells and move them into different yards? Do you just lay the cells on their side while in trasport?
II have potential breeders in almost all my yards at this point, but I prefer to manage the cell builders at home because they need work more often. So typically I'll just pull a frame from the hive (or hives) to be grafted from, including nurse bees, stick them in a 5 frame nuc (or incubator if it's cool out), and transport them home to graft.
Transporting queen cells is no problem at all. A day or so before they hatch and they are relatively tough (they even can be shipped overnight). Laying them on their side for awhile won't hurt, though I prefer to keep them in their natural orientation. I took a 2" thick piece of foam insulation, and melted holes in it with the head of a bolt heated with a torch. It makes a great holder for queen cells (use cell protectors if you are worried about damaging them). Then I can just throw them in a portable incubator, or cooler with a warm water bottle if the trip is more than a few minutes.
I will Graft into the brown cell cups that come with the Nicot system for non graft.
I will usually place 5 cups on the frame that I am grafting from by pushing them down into the wax. this way they are at the wright angle and close I will also prime them. I have a wet blue shop towel I place the cell cups in after grafting and when finished grafting I place them in a container with a lid with a a couple holes for air and then transport them to my cell builders in a out yard. After I get there I open up the cell builder to get ready to place the graft. then I go back to the truck and put my grafted cell cups onto the cell bar and place them in a frame and then into the cell builder that I had open up this way they are not exposed to the elements to long.
What I like best is having the breeder in the cell building yard. And do it like mentioned above.
Ripe Q Cells
When I make up the Mini Nucs for the first time in the early spring I will collect my bulk bees take them to shop (leave in shaker box for 24 hours) where the empty nucs are. First I will fill the feeds 3/4 full with HFCS Stake them up with in arms length and set and fill each nuc up with a 12 ounce cup of bees put in the Queen Cell, then leave in a cool dark place 4 days
I usually do all this late at night the bees are calmed down and don't all try to fly off ( I also will have a hand squeeze spray bottle with a very very thin HFCS dilution to keep spraying on the bees as I go about scooping them up this will help keep them from crawling all over the place.
Four days eh? I tried that last year and when I put them out in the field, a lot of them crawled out... fell on the ground... and were "walking" away from the hive. Not sure what I did wrong there.
Well, I was thinking of finding the breeder colony I want to use and depending on population, split them, take the queen in a nuc with me to the house and go from there. I can keep my cell builder and breeder at the house and my mating nucs out in another yard.
That seems to be the challenging part... where to keep everything as I can really "have" two colonies at the house.