Re: Beginner Queen Rearing using the Joseph Clemens Starter/Finisher
So far my experince with this system is.
6-6-13 20 graft with 4 accepted cells. These 4 are due to emerge yesterday or today. one has emerged and is a small stunted queen. These cells have been relocated to an incubator for the last two days. Low acceptance I consider due to poor grafting technique and a weak cell starter colony. I am also thinking that the one is small due to a weak starter.
We made improvments to our methods of grafting and made a second attempt.
6-8-13 10 cells from the original 20 that had not been accepted where regrafted. again 4 cells where accepted. These are also on the incubator as of yesterday and due to emerge in 2 days according to an online calendar. 3 days by my calculations. So far my calculations have been more accurate.
After this attempt we focused on a stronger cell started as well as improved cell finisher. We added frames of capped brood, added several frames of nurse bees, gave this starter a frame of open brood for 4 days and grafted another set of 20 cells.
6-15-13 we grafted 20 cells. this time we focused on lifting the smallest larva possible. They where tiny barely bigger than an egg. on inspection yesterday there was 0 acceptance. All larva had been removed from the cells. Except that maybe we killed 100% of the larva while grafting I have no idea what would have caused this complete failure of acceptance. All conditions otherwise indicate we should have improved on our so far best 40% acceptance rate.
6-16-13 on the 156th I had unintentionally made another nuc queenless while attempting to mark the queen. this was strong on brood. strong on nurse bees and 24 hours from being queenless. We grafted 20 cells and placed them in this colony even though they showed no signs of producing queen cells on the brood they already have. We returned to attempting to graft 2 day old larva again rather than the tiny 1 day ones.
Today I will inspect for acceptance some time after 6 PM that gives them over 24 hours to show some indication of acceptance. we will also be grafting another 20 cells and giving them to the original starter nuc just to see if we can figure out what is going on their.
Some of my other thoughts are that it has been to many cells in a week. basically a weak starter was given 30 cells in a 3 day period. given a 5 to 6 day break and boosted quite a bit then given 20 more cells. that seems acceptable to me and explains why the original cells did not fair well. The first four cells where left to be finished in the starter as well (Not prepaired). After the second attempt all cells whee moved to a finisher that did a much better job of building out larger cells with the second set of four. I have no idea how well this original starter might due with finishing cells now that they have been strengthened.
At this time I am really stumped. I am most inclined to think it was the attempt to graft smaller larva and not a problem with the starter nuc. But I don't have a really strong feeling about anything at this point. It is almost like adding open brood sapped the bees of what royal jelly they had. they ay have simply refused to stat new queen cells. I have no idea.
By the way this nuc has had sugar water and mega bee the entire time. Plus they do have bees foraging.
hopefully this afternoon will show we are back on track and actually improving our results. If it comes up another zero I will find it hard to justify continuing any further attempts. I will have no idea what to fix in order to expect different results.
We will continue with the mating of these poor queens just for the experience. but so far our final results will be no acceptable queens from 50 grafts. That may improve to 4 out of 50 in the next couple of days.
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