Re: Moving from ok queens . . . to great queens.
Some very great informative postings here, thanks everyone. I would like to add one thing that I do here, that I did not notice in all the previous postings here...
I make up my cell builder 4 days ahead of the grafting, and it contains one frame with a good portion of eggs. In 4 days, I go in and remove that frame and destroy all the queen cells and give it to another hive. Then I insert my grafted cell bars in it's place. This gives me a hopelessly queenless cell builder with a full force of nurse bees actively producing royal jelly! I get much larger well built cells this way and I think it's because the nurse bees are actively producing royal jelly in the starter when I insert the cell bar.
20+ years, raise my own queens, feed when needed, I treat but have not perfected varroa management yet.