Tried my hand at grafting today, 36 JZBZ wide base cups got filled. 18 from a local MH queen (open mated) and 18 from a prolific VSH hive. I was hoping to graft from one of Russell's Sunkist queens I ordered, but the weather messed that up. I tossed as many nurse bees as I could into a ventilated cardboard nuc box, and sealed it up for the night (or perhaps up to 36 hours). I'll keep everyone posted on how it turns out.
I did learn quite a bit. For starters, I hate chinese grafting tools. So hard to work with (I thought). I'm going to have to order a few other types, see what works well.
But I did have a few questions that I was hoping to throw by you guys:
I did my best to find the queen in the second hive (the one all the nurse bees came from), but alas I wasn't able to find her. Wicked aggressive hive, and definitely going to have to requeen them soon. You could grab a frame and see a cloud of bees rush for the veil, a few seconds later smelling bananas. They made the whole thing rather uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, after I got done grafting, I walked around the house to the front door and went inside. A half an hour later I saw a bunch of bees bumping into the screen door, so I went outside to see what was up. Nothing was up, they were just looking for me, to exact revenge. And they did. Three times on the scalp.
The aggressive hive consists of a deep, two mediums, and a shallow, all full of brood. After shaking the nurse bees (as many as I could) into the nuc, I shook everything from the top medium, and the shallow into the deep, put another medium over the deep on bottom, then a queen excluder, then the other medium and shallow.
1. I was hoping to toss the queen (if she wasn't already) into the bottom deep. But if on accident I shook her into the nuc box, will they draw out the cells anyway? Or not likely?
2. Because they are so aggressive, I think I might pinch the queen, and use the numbers in the hive to populate all the mating nucs. Does that sound reasonable?
3. I don't really want to dive back into the aggressive hive later, when the swarm box is over with, so I was hoping to put it on top of a different, calmer hive to finish the cells. Can I put the nurse bees from hive one that's in the swarm box over top of hive two to make a finisher? Will it screw up the bees mixing them around that much? Am I better off putting the nurse bees back from where they came from, and using the aggressive hive as a finisher?
4. What is the maximum time you can leave them in the swarm box? I have to work tomorrow (9am-6pm) and I can combine them after 6, but if the weather doesn't hold out I might have to wait till Sunday. Thoughts?
5. Some of the larvae I grafted were from the aggressive hive. Nasty to work with, but prolific as hell! Are the queens from the aggressive hive, by nature, going to be aggressive?
Thanks for the help! Having a blast (even with the stings) over here!