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Thread: queen cell cups

  1. #1
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    Default queen cell cups

    Does anyone use wax cell cups? Wouldn't plastic cups work just as good?
    I would like to hear from someof you all with some expertize in this . Thanks Warren

  2. #2
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    Re: queen cell cups

    Plastic is best... much easier to handle and great take... we use them with wooden cups to get 44 cells per bar, 2 bars per frame, so 88 cells per frame... Also, the plastic cells can be litely scraped and reused.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    I'm not an expert but I have used both with equal success. The only reason that I prefer wax cups is because I can dip a full bar's worth at a time. My dipping jig has 19 dowels, so I can make 19 X 6 bars = 114 cups in short order. The number of bars represents the two queen cell frames with three bars each. There are other ways of fastening plastic cups to make it easier so it is probably a matter of personal preference. The wax is free, however.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    My acceptance rate with wax cells is a bit higher than plastic, but plastic is much easier to work with, in my opinion. And contrary to a previous post, reusing plastic cups is a huge waste of time. My take with reused cups is nearly zero.

    I think the bees attach wax to a wax cup more readily than to plastic, which is the reason for my higher acceptance rate.

    I've been making a hybrid queen cups now for a couple years. Basically speaking, I'm dipping plastic JZBZ queen cups into wax to build up the lip of the cell cup. The bees can then easily attach more wax and draw the cups out themselves. This is a "Modified Miksa" cell cup method, which is outlined in Larry Connor's book, "Queen Rearing Essentials" and which was a story in one of the bee journals a while back.

    DS

  5. #5
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    I reuse them. Maybe there is a little less acceptance. I can't tell the difference. The new ones smell like plastic to them. The used ones smell like queen cells...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Re: queen cell cups

    We have scraped and reused plastic cups for many many years. Over 10,000 at a time and have a slightly better acceptance rate with reused cups than with new. There are many variables that can increase/decrease your rates...but with proper handling and knowing how to clean the plastic cups without scoring the inside, they are very much reusable.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    ...with proper handling and knowing how to clean the plastic cups without scoring the inside, they are very much reusable.
    This begs the next question: How do you clean the cups?? (I'd love to save money where ever I can.)

    DS

  8. #8
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    Re: queen cell cups

    We made our own tools by using paring knives and removing the egde so that there is no blade, just a perfectly sized flat bar with a comfortable handle for our staff. Simply remove the ring from the top and gently roll the inner rim and finally blow a puff of air inside to remove any debris. Not ALL of the wax needs to be gone, just the build up. This gets the cup back to the smooth shape with a very thin layer of wax (if any). Wear lab gloves while handling them to keep the scent of wax (not human oils or lunch. lol), and make sure that they are lab gloves so they are not powdered.

    My father used smoke from pinestraw in a smoker to puff on them after he cleaned them to mask all scents.. but the gloves work best.

    Hope this helps.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    My problem with "dirty" cups is the residue left behind from old royal jelly and sometimes the larva that has been left behind and dried. Both form a sort of "scum" inside of the cup that needs to be cleaned out somehow. Since I build up my cups with wax before grafting, additional wax built up on the rim of the cup isn't a major concern to me.

    Thoughts on how to remove the residue inside the cup?

    DS

  10. #10
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    Re: queen cell cups

    Never seen that... rarely ever see a larvae left behind but never a residue of jelly. The bees clean out any cells that they won't use. (This could just be our strains). But they clean out any jelly that is on the larvae or in the cell first thing and only put jelly back into the cells that they accept. We dry graft...meaning we do not use any jelly or other substance to prime the cells before we transfer...this may have something to do with it... if not I would think maybe try more nurse bees in your primer and make sure that you are pulling enough nurse bees to the top of your cell builder for the number of cells on the frame. If its the hatched queen cells that you are having jelly build up in, just give them another full day to crawl in and clean it up... then pull it from the nuks. We pull the old cells as we are catching the mated queens, and we plant the new cells all in one motion.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by rrussell6870; 11-20-2010 at 12:00 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    If you have time just place a whole frame of cell bars in a strong hive and let the bees clean them. Next day, Presto!, clean cups.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    Negative. I've kept the cells in for weeks and they never polish them to the point of being smooth, clean or usable. The residue is crusty and a milky color, and sometimes has the remnants of the larva in it, although most times it's been eaten. It's almost like milk left behind in a cereal bowl.

    And THAT'S why I had the question of cleaning them, and also had problems with reusing used cells. For me, it's just much easier to use new each time.

  13. #13
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    Re: queen cell cups

    Yeah...like I said different bees do different things. All of ours come out of the nucs clean... In your situation, I would definitely just use new ones each time... I have never tried waxing the inner cell though... is that what you do on all of them?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    No. I just wax the outer part of the JZBZ queen cup and create a higher "lip". It more resembles a queen cell that's a day or two away from being sealed.

  15. #15
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    Re: queen cell cups

    Interesting idea. Never tried it. Have you noted any differences in the development time, or shape or size of the queens?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: queen cell cups

    No difference in development times, at all. As far as size and shape go, well, my queens are definitely long gals with what I've termed "alligator butt". They're definitely easy to pick out when searching for queens.

    This is a modification of Dave Miksa's process that was detailed in Larry Connor's book, "Queen Rearing Essentials". I dip my cells a little differently, but our end result is the same. And, while I haven't bought any of his queens, the Miksas are reputed to have really long, good sized queens.

    And I have to agree. The process seems to result in good sized queens! Most of the time. (There's always a caveat, isn't there?) Occasionally, I'll get a short queen. But she still seems to lay good patterns of approximately 16-1800 a day in the summer time. Dave Miksa, it's said, would squish her simply by her appearance.

    DS

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