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  1. #1
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    Default Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    My main chore, this morning, was to clean out and restock my polystyrene queen cell building colony. A few days ago I relocated it, placing a weaker nuc in its old place to receive the field force to boost them, that went very well. Now the cell builder with some, five cells remaining from the last batch produced, was reduced to two frames of brood/nurse bees and the five cells. It contained five frames and a cell bar, with space for an additional cell bar. But after dumping the field force by its recent relocation, it was apparent that there were now only two frames of nurse bees, not the quantity I prefer when I'm planning to continue grafting new bars of cells.

    So, I conveniently had five condo mating nuc holes that needed restocking, and five remaining ripe cells. I looked around and found enough frames of emerging brood and frames of honey/pollen to restock the five empty condo holes, and gave them each one of the cells.

    Then I cleaned out the box, took it with me into the backyard apiary, where I carefully harvested fresh frames of emerging brood and enough nurse bees to fill up the cell builder colony, refreshing it to continue growing cells. I'm feeding them plenty of pollen sub and syrup - letting any remaining foragers return to their hives, then tomorrow morning I'll graft two bars and get them started raising queen cells.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Cholula, Puebla, Mexico
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    My main chore, this morning, was to clean out and restock my polystyrene queen cell building colony..
    Joseph,

    How often do you clean out, and restock your cell builder?? how many batches? or how many days?
    You said 2 bars? i supose 30 cell cups?

    regards
    omar

  3. #3
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Hey Jeseph, I'm about to restart mine for this season. Based on last year I'm going to get it primed by letting them work on a frame of young brood for 5 days before I graft. It sounds like you're planning to put grafts right in. I'm interested to see how your first batch comes out. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    How often do you clean out, and restock your cell builder??
    Whenever I think it needs it. Sometimes I just keep adding nurse bees, but sometimes I do what I just did, use the field bees to boost a weak nuc, then use the remaining nurse bees to help repopulate mating nuc "holes".

    how many batches?
    Not really gauged by batches of cells (can be a couple of dozen or several hundred).

    or how many days?
    Sometimes I don't redo them, just give them emerging brood and large quantities of new nurse bees. I do like to relocate them periodically to reduce the % of field bees vs nurse bees, that way I can increase the density of nurse bees and have better fed cells.

    You said 2 bars? i supose 30 cell cups?
    Yes, I am using JZs BZs cell bars and cell cups, so thirty cells, though sometimes I use frames that hold two bars each, so I could fit sixty or even seventy-five if I squeeze an additional single bar in there along with two double bar frames, I have done that successfully, but I rarely have use for that many cells at one time.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    I'm interested to see how your first batch comes out. Good luck!
    I waited until just before sundown, then, using my LED headlight I grafted the first cells in my newly restocked cell builder. This way I can regraft any duds first thing in the morning and possibly get a full set of thirty cells. Then I'm going to need to build more condo mating nucs and start getting them stocked.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Cool, by Sunday you should have some cell pictures. When will you put the next set of grafts in?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Okay, I'll post some pics.

    I'll probably start another round of cells as soon as I've harvested/placed enough of the present batch to create space for another cell bar. I've been growing cells and raising queens (though in limited quantities), throughout Autumn and Winter.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    I know you pretty much work at it all year long - i'm just curious about how the first batch look coming out of your fresh cell builder compared to my results trying to do about the same thing. I'm hoping I learned enough last year to get similar results - but I'm only about 50% confident. Good, bad or indifferent i'll post my results too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Cholula, Puebla, Mexico
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    [QUOTE=Whenever I think it needs it.[/QUOTE]

    Joseph, could you explain a little more what you mean by "whenever you think it needs it? , what it's your criteria for that, or is it more like a feeling thing?

    Have you ever shaken nurse bees from another colony to your cell builder? i imagine you have done that, from the same yard or from another yard?
    if done so, what's better?

    regards
    omar

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Joseph, could you explain a little more what you mean by "whenever you think it needs it? , what it's your criteria for that, or is it more like a feeling thing?
    Mostly I relocate the cell builder colony, leaving its field force behind. Then most of those remaining are nurse or house bees. If it isn't full of nurse/house bees, I add more. Once a frame is mostly nectar/pollen/honey I consider it fair game to swap it out with another frame of emerging brood, sealed brood, or mixed age brood. Now that you've got me thinking about it, I really only restock the queen cell builder when I want to use the combs and nurse bees to fill empty mating nuc holes.

    Another reason to restock/rebuild the cell builder is if/when they become a laying worker colony. This has happened once or twice before, so I find that if I include some eggs/young larvae on the brood frames I add, it pretty much keeps this from happening, but I've got to keep an even closer eye on them building rogue queen cells on those frames.

    Have you ever shaken nurse bees from another colony to your cell builder?
    I do it all the time. It's how I make it up initially and part of how I maintain a large population of nurse bees in the cell builder.

    i imagine you have done that, from the same yard or from another yard?
    Wherever I can find an abundance of nurse bees.

    if done so, what's better?
    Better, is to round-up/collect the nurse bees from where there are more of them that can be spared.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 03-14-2012 at 12:24 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Here's my first batch - just capped - 13 cells out of 14 grafts, but despite trying every trick I know I'm still not getting those monster cells like you do. Must be the water.



    Anyway, they look pretty good I guess - next batch I'm going for 30.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    My most recent cells aren't any larger than those in your photos. I have three different small batches of cells going right now, each from a different MQ. I'm afraid I've been slacking on the pics, but I'll try a little harder, hopefully get some pics in the next day or so.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    That's encouraging I guess. Anyway, bigger cells are a good goal, but past some point it probably doesn't actually make the queens any better.

    These are the ones I mentioned in another thread that I put a pseudo queen (QMP) in the cell builder after 24 hrs to see if it would make any difference. I'm thinking it didn't, but it might reduce the stress on the hive so that they do better on the next batch than they would.

    Tomorrow I'm going to super my cell builder and fill the super with brood and a frame or two of just started foundation - then in 5 days I'll pull the super (and the pseudo queen - and the cells) and shake all of the bees down into the cell builder for another round. Hoping they won't wax my cells so much with the extra space and room for comb building.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Could the larger cell size be something genetic or even have something to due with the Cell size of the bees building the Cells? I've been following your method of queen rearing and I've got 8 queen cells that will need to go into mating nucs tomorrow. I was going to set them up today but the weather didn't really cooperate today Well it did get nice but only after I decided it wasnt going to be nice and started doing something else.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Quote Originally Posted by quevernick View Post
    Could the larger cell size be something genetic or even have something to due with the Cell size of the bees building the Cells? I've been following your method of queen rearing and I've got 8 queen cells that will need to go into mating nucs tomorrow. I was going to set them up today but the weather didn't really cooperate today Well it did get nice but only after I decided it wasnt going to be nice and started doing something else.
    I don't really know what it is, but I've been grafting from the same line that Joseph has used a lot over the past year - Russell Sunkist Cordovans - so it's not those genetics. I bet my next batch is a little bigger - although compared to what I was getting a year ago this batch looks pretty good.



    Unless it's really nasty get those mating nucs ready - I've done it in light rain before. Anyway, the sun's shining right now.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Nothing wrong with that. It looks like there's lots of royal jelly in the cups. I have had some smaller queens that have been great so I don't think size is everything.

  17. #17
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    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    David,

    Those are pretty cells - nice job!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Thanks, and thanks to Joseph for telling about this method of raising queens which is great for learning and producing several batches without having to start over every time.

  19. #19
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    Feb 2005
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Well, I finally took the time to take some pics --> Here are the first ones of one and two day old grafts -->



    I hadn't given my MQ (Mother Queen) colonies enough room, so they were preparing to swarm, I can't have my MQs leaving when I still have work for them to do, so I moved them into quarters twice as spacious as they had been in, removed all their swarm cells and shook about 90% of their nurse bees into the cell builder colony, the above cells were grafted the day after I moved the MQ nurse bees into the cell builder. There is a batch of capped queen cells that are set to emerge into California Mini cages, the batch shown in the photo above and another bar of fifteen cells that were grafted this morning. I will try to take photos of this bar as it progresses through the process.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Restocked my Queen Cell Builder

    Here is an additional update of the same batch of cells a few days later -->

    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

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