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  1. #1
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    Jun 2009
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    Republic, MO
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    Default Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    I am reading up on queen rearing in an effort to try my hand at it (on a very small scale only for my yard) this summer. I understand why a cell starter must be queenless (or at a minimum packed to the gills with bees), but why is the cell finisher queenright?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    960

    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    In using a method that uses a queenright finisher, it makes sense because the queen keeps on laying lots of eggs that will turn into young nurse bees for the next cycle, also to keep the colony strong, and to keeps things fairly normal, reducing stress. There really isn't a reason for it to not be queenright after the queen cells are capped, just so long as they are separated from the queen (usually by an excluder), and there are NO rogue queen cells that may emerge earlier than the grafts.

    The nurse bees are important for the STARTER colony to feed the unsealed queen cells VERY INTENSIVELY, especially in the first 24 to 36 hours. This is why many methods involve the addition of young nurse bees to the starter box with the newly grafted cell bar, and extra frames of brood earlier, before grafting day.

    Read what Michael Palmer wrote in post #5 on the thread started by Beewrangler "...This will be my first year raising queens..."

    Michael's post begins, "I think you're asking an awful lot from 16 colonies. ..."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,104

    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    >I understand why a cell starter must be queenless (or at a minimum packed to the gills with bees), but why is the cell finisher queenright?

    It doesn't have to be. I often simply make a moderately strong colony queenless and compress them (remove any excess space to crowd them a bit) and then add the cells, using them as starter and finisher. The disadvantage is that they are burned out after two rounds of queen cells. The advantage, if you needed mating nucs anyway, is that you can break that hive up for mating nucs and, leaving one box at the old location with a queen cell, let them get a queen out of the deal.

    Is this the most efficient? Probably not. A queenright finisher will not burn out. That is the advantage. You can do one round after another.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    Velbert mentions in another thread that adult foraging bees will make good cell builders in your starter, too, especially if you leave them queenless a little longer - up to a week. That could save you making a shaker box, but I'd make one anyways. It sure is reassuring to know you have plenty of nurse bees.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    Oldtimer wrote in the thread about rearing queens without grafting (Cut Cell Method) that his finisher starts out queenless and is reunited with it's queen on day 9 (at about which time the queen cells would be capped). Admonition - the queen is separated from the queen cells by an excluder.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    I think in queen breeding, even more so than many other aspects of beekeeping, there are multiple ways that can all be succesfully used.
    Some would work better at certain seasons of the year while others would be fairly consistant across all seasons
    Some are more useful in one situation than another, for example some of the more complex methods would be less use to a hobbyist only wanting a few queens, but produce more queens on a less work per queen basis, for a large producer.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    People underestimate what 15-20 hives can do. I have 20 (including 2 new medium nucs) plus a double mini and a 4 way queen castle. In a few weeks I will make up 25-30 deep nucs....it can be done. I also run a starter and a finisher. The starter gets shakes of bees from a bunch of different hives, may have to quit that for a week b/c they are getting lean on the brood to bees ratio. I know this is a little ot but in the context of the last line of KC post I think it is similar to the subject line.

    mike
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    1,830

    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    To answer your question.
    Think about the starter first. You pack a box full of confused bees from several hives, do not give them any brood (not even a cell) and then a few hours after queenless you give them a bunch of nice larvae conveniently in the cell cup ready to go. What do you think they are going to do? Works like a charm.
    On the CB, you need plenty of young brood to rotate to around the queen cells above the excluder (to attract nurse bees), so instead of hitting up other colonies why not just have the brood in the same hive?
    With that being said I plan on experimenting with the single queenless starter/finisher.
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    mike
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    Like Oldtimer says - so many ways...and different situations. Pond Creek's intentions are a few queens for his own yard, and the guy Michael Palmer was warning that he was "asking a lot of 16 colonies" was trying to sell queens in his first year.

    Any of us can make queens, and the bees will do it themselves anyways. To consistently make excellent queens and improve one's stock takes dedication. Pond is starting out right - read, study, ask questions, build equipment, start doing it, get experience, try different methods.

    As stock increases: become selective; develop yard, queen, and production recording / analysis systems; develop a parentage tracking system; track queens; drone flood a DCA; eliminate undesirable traits, out-cross them; take classes in bee genetics and AI, track drones, ...learn, revise, adapt, innovate, ...learn, revise, adapt, innovate...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,062

    Default Re: Cell Starters vs. Finishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher Apiaries View Post
    With that being said I plan on experimenting with the single queenless starter/finisher.
    Me too - I just put the finishing touches on the hive setup for it yesterday, and took stock of my mating nucs. I like that system because I want to keep the process going all season, but I don't want to produce a ton of queens this time. With the queenless S/F I can graft only every 10 days. If I produce 3-6 queens every ten days that has real value for my apiary, and I should learn a lot by the end of this summer - without over committing the amt of time I have to put into it.

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