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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Yes that can be normal which is why some people keep their starters in a dark room. It's also a risk with screens flat on the bottom, that bees will clog it & block ventilation, which is why many swarm boxes have 2 screens running along the lower section of the swarm box wall, so it's harder for bees to block them off.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    My screens are on the sides. Thanks for the info. My starter is in my bedroom closet. I keep the door cracked for ventilation, and that is where the light is coming from.

    mike
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Hmmm.... The bedroom? I don't know if my wife would let me go to that extent!

    Well sounds like you are doing it all right, ought to be fine. Long as no fly sprays or similar get used in the house.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #24
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    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Oldtimer - Which do you think will produce better QUALITY grafted queens, A queenless starter or a queenright one? Does it make any difference?

    Mike Palmer likes Brother Adam's approach of combining swarming and queenless responses. You mentioned in the Cut-Cell Method thread that queenright worked fine. I understand that the goal is VERY intensive queen cell care by LOTS of nurse bees for the first 24 to 36 hours. Dr. Laidlaw believed that this was much more critical than the finisher period or subsequent care.

    Do queenless bees feed more royal jelly than queenright bees, or is it the other way around? (I think I'm going to have to do this in side-by-side observer hives and use an infrared video to know for sure.)

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    They have been in 24 hrs. Now what?

    mike
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  6. #26
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Checked cells, about 90-95% take. I am shocked as this is my first graft.

    mike
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  7. #27
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Mike you might want to read Oldtimer's thread of 6th January, 2011 regarding the Cut Cell Method and take it from Day 5 or 6 - the part about transferring to the finisher colony.

    I just went back and re-read it. I was wrong, he uses a separate, queenless starter and a separate (initially queenless) finisher, and re-unites the queenright part of the colony on Day 9.

    The thread should be easy to find - it's at least 14 pages long and has a 5-star rating.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    P.S. Congratulations on the high rate in your first graft! My first 4 frames averaged C- to D+. I didn't have enough combs nor a queen bank for last year's efforts and gave away several of the survivors. A few made it by winter (so far) in terribly small colonies.

    At this point, I might just combine them to get more combs going faster. The colonies that are already big are sure cranking out the combs, compared to the graft effort bees in the nucs, which are still working on drawing out their 3rd or 4th comb. So, if I combine them, my end result a year later is down around 5%.

    Lessons learned: build your equipment early, start making queens as soon as you have drones, try lots of methods, FEED THEM ALL WINTER, concentrate on increase colonies, don't be afraid to pull back and combine colonies (lose a queen) so that you don't lose two small colonies.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Oldtimer - Which do you think will produce better QUALITY grafted queens, A queenless starter or a queenright one? Does it make any difference?
    OK there is no yes or no answer to that because there are so many variables. For example the "mood" of the hive, ie if they are strong and in swarming mode they will build great cells straight from day zero even though they have a queen.
    When I was a full time queen breeder we used the queenless starter for 24 hours before transfering to a queenright finisher, because it was a method that performs consistantly across a range of other circumstances such as time of year etc. For large scale production it is nessecary to "standardise" to some degree. But that doesn't make all other methods wrong, it's just another way. I've got huge respect for M Palmer and the way he does things, along with many other contributors to the site.

    Personally though I do believe the first 24 hours can make a difference to queen quality I'll always have the cell starter colony pumping.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher Apiaries View Post
    They have been in 24 hrs. Now what?
    As the bees are confined, the attention to the cells will drop off as they get more panicky about escaping the box. The cells should be moved to a finisher hive.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher Apiaries View Post
    Checked cells, about 90-95% take. I am shocked as this is my first graft.mike
    Awesome! Isn't this queen breeding great when it all comes together!

    Pic?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Well the take was not as good as when I looked at it earlier, more like 10 out of 17. That is good considering my lack of knowledge and skill.

    OT- Can you put multiple days of grafts (I.E. Fridays graft with mondays graft) in the same finisher? I am thinking of getting some more going.
    Mike
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Cells!!!!!!!

    Starter and Finisher next to each other. Starter homeade out of scraps-
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  12. #32
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Mike - I'll let Oldtimer answer your question - but bee careful! If the first queen emerges before you separate them, you will only get one queen! My buddy watched one emerge on day 14. He has separated them on day 11 or 12 ever since. Day 14 on Friday's batch would be day 11 on Monday's batch. You could pull this off, but why risk that much work? I see you use only one cell bar per frame, but mine have 48 cups each on them (3 bars of 16 cups). Losing 2 of those (95 queens + 1 survivor) would be a bit of a setback. Better to use one queen cell frame per starter (keep it down to <60 cells, change bees after 2 runs) and one or two queen cell frames per finisher colony made and installed the SAME DAY.

    Oldtimer - I love the way you answer questions! You always make so much sense. I am trying running them separately mostly for learning, and also the Cut-Cell Method due to the fact that you said it often produced better quality queens - better mating resulted. Robert Russell mentioned he judges them 12 to 15 days after they begin laying. Any other suggestions on judging queen quality, especially early in the game?
    Again, THANK YOU!
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 02-26-2011 at 11:22 PM. Reason: addition

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Yes good advice.

    The 10 out of 17 for a first attempt is excellent. The pic looks like plenty of bees in the starter so you should be heading for some high quality queens.

    Yes more 24 hour old cells can be put in the same finisher with older cells. Best to wait till the previous ones are capped then add a new batch. But with the finisher only having 10 cells there will be no issues adding more, even before the first ones are capped.

    One thing to bear in mind, is that a finisher may have ample resources to finish a large number of cells well. But if too many are added, or in the wrong sequence, the bees may finish some of them poorly, and this is because, to them, they only need one queen. If we add say 60 cells, then a few days later another 60, then a few days later another 60, to the collective hive mind, they decide there is no way they need 180 queens and they will finish them badly, if at all. Despite having food and everything they need. As what the bees will do varies seasonally and other factors also, experience in your area, with your bees, is the best teacher.

    Judging queen quality is a hard one, there is only so much a beekeeper can do before the young queen is sold because of the limited time he owns the queen. So what we looked for was size and healthy body shape, anything not right was pinched. The other thing is brood pattern but this can be tricky because when a queen is first mated her pattern can be a bit funny for the first week or two and then she comes right. Anything laying more than 2 weeks should have a good brood pattern or we pinched that also. But a lot got sold before they had been laying 2 weeks. Having said all that, very few actually got pinched. If the cells are raised and handled properly, there will be very few problems.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #34
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    See what I mean? Oldtimer's answers are the best! Thanks for your input again!

    The more I hear, the more I'm convinced that longer stays in the mating cage (plenty of time to set up a good laying pattern and judge brood pattern), LARGE push-in queen introduction cages, and long stays in those intro cages are the right way to do it. Beekeeping is about the opposite of city life in Southern California, where most of the people never have enough time to do it right, but inevitably have plenty of time to do it over again while blaming someone else!

  15. #35
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Mike: Looks like you are off to a good start. A couple things: Don't let a warm day fool you, It WILL get cold down here, I really don't like to put those cells all the way out to the end bar. Make sure they are always sandwiched between two nice frames of brood/larvae, if the choice is keeping brood warm or cells warm they usually choose brood. It should go without saying that if you do as Oldtimer suggests and use a builder for more than one days grafts (somehing I don't really like to do until the first cells are capped over on day 5) make sure your grafts are well marked. Its easy to get greedy and overuse builders, don't underestimate the resources it takes to build cells, my rule of thumb is an average of 8 cells per day per builder is sustainable, 10 takes exceptional bees anything over that is probably borrowing against the future. Finally cell building requires a lot of patience, good organization and record keeping; it can be very, very unforgiving.
    Last edited by Barry; 02-27-2011 at 02:02 PM.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    For what its worth, I just figure it safest and least stressfull to limit one queen cell frame to a cell builder colony, then cycle them back to normal life, or let them keep one queen and overwinter them.

    One QC frame per finisher, then return them back to business as usual. They need their colony and their colony needs them. Too much human encroachment is what's behind the mass bee disappearances. We're already asking a lot of our bees - forcing the queen rearing cycle - that stresses them. Feeding them corn syrup stresses them. All your work, all the bees work - all could be lost in short order.

    This is why I build them up 3 deeps tall before I start. A strong colony can take it, but why push it? Let them recover.

  17. #37
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Why push it? Because the nucing season for anyone wanting to get a crop of honey off their splits up north is all compressed into less than a month and the demand for cells in that time is great particularly since most of the good hives have been shipped to California. That dosent mean bad cells are being raised, you will quickly find out what they are and arent capable of and additionally good cell raisers will cull what they don't like the look of. The fact that some beekeepers raise a lot of cells does not mean they are doing it badly.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    I was just saying, "Why push the one starter?" Run all the frames you would normally, just run more starters and more finishers, and cycle them out after one run. Its a LOT less stress on the bees, and they distribute the absence from gathering / nursing duty across more hives, not heavily penalizing one. I would consider it doubly so up north, where gathering season has longer days, but fewer of them, making each day (and each bee) more valuable. The hive needs those loaners back, but by all means, raise all the queens you should. I'm not implying that raising lots of them is doing it badly, although there are probably limits beyond which plusses and minuses to pushing them have some points of diminishing returns.

    Like I say, "For what its worth." The large commercial operators aren't going to do it that way, you don't have to, I just do it that way, probably because I try to think like a bee for at least 20 minutes a day. (Here come the Weirdo in California comments!) Try it before you criticize it. The bees start showing you things as clearly as Oldtimer tells them.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    Howdy Kilocharlie (love that name btw, I'm imagining Frisco in the 70's). Just giving you things from a commercial perspective. Wish I didnt have to push my builders but thats just kind of the reality of the nucing season. If your beekeeping situation allows you to raise cells in that manner then you are right on the mark let em rest and roll with it. Peace bro.

  20. #40
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: Filling starter/finishers

    My real name is Casey. Everyone thought it was K.C., so my CB radio call handle was "kilo charlie" (military phonetic alphabet for KC). That was back in the 70's!

    Tough schedule up north. Price of fuel (and everything else) will probably see the mobile honey production operators who winter here and go up there wiped out in our time. You guys will be critical to the total honey supply. Gotta do what you gotta do, and I cringe to think of a missed day or a lost bee in your latitude. You have my absolute respect. I like how your instincts work - you know your game and don't miss a beat.

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