I started my first batch of queens it's fall I didn't need many and i figured first time i would have poor results...
Four days in I check and of the nine cells I started 5 were being fed and drawn out, I can live with that...
Today I went to move the cells to mating nucs and only one remains the others have been torn down and cleaned...
Does the hygenic behavior apply to queen cells? If a queen has a mite in her cell do they open it up and drag her out?
I realize I might have bumped the frame and dumped them out or in some other way screwed this up (though i was very slow and careful)but was wondering if the near total failure was all my fault?
does grafting have a higher sucess rate than cutting egg cells out and attaching them to a frame?
Re: VSH Question
It is possible that the developing queen was infected with varroa mites, but it is very unlikely. The varroa mites prefer the drone brood because it is bigger and the drones take the longest time from egg to emerging. Worker brood is then targeted if drone brood is unavailable (you need a good-sized mite count) and is used because they take an average of 21 days from egg to emergence (24 days for drones). The queen, though, only takes and average of 16 days, which is very short for a varroa mite even though the cell is large. I don't believe the mites care for these cells much, and you will probably need and extremely high mite infestation for it to happen. That seems very unlikely as they are VSH. But I'm no expert, and this is just my two cents. Someone with a higher mind than I will have to post.
Bumping the frame won't harm the cells, they are sturdier than you think. I don't know if grafting will be better, as you have to select the right age of brood, and cutting the cells out is so much easier.
Good luck, and I hope your second attempt will be more successful!
Re: VSH Question
Dan - Did you leave your mating nucs queenless for a few hours up to a day before you added the QC's? Are you absoluetly certain there are no queens in your nucs?
Re: VSH Question
Left the nuc four frame nuc queenless for 3 days made nuc with frame of capped brood and 2 frames of pollen and honey after 3 days added the queen cell frame. after four days from adding frame i checked progress and they had drawn out cups those should have been capped over the last two days depending on how old the eggs were in the cells. they actually removed the cups and had comb in place of the cups except for one.
Re: VSH Question
My mistake - this is your cell starter / builder, not your mating nucs. The cell starter must have 3 attributes - queenless (5 hours is good), crowded (there are several tricks to crowding young nurse bees into the cell starter), and well-fed (fresh pollen and thin syrup). It is a good idea to ventilate it, too, because it is closed to flying in and out. The cell starter uses the emergency response and they will build lots of cells, but they won't finish but a few, or one in your case. This is why it is only a cell starter for about 24 hours. There should be no other eggs or young larvae but your Alley / Smith Cut-Cell Frame or Doolittle Graft queen cell cup frame, so they have nothing to do but eat and feed your queen larvae lots or royal jelly, so brood frames in the starter is capped / emerging brood.
The cell finisher uses the supercedure response. It is often queenright. Pulling a Cloake board out from between the top box and the rest of a strong hive and putting in the queen excluder gives both conditions, queenless and queenright, to the same hive without disturbing the baby queen larvae. Or, you could just transfer the queen frame from the starter nuc to the finisher hive ABOVE the queen excluder while the old queen is BELOW the queen excluder. The finisher hive MUST HAVE NO OTHER QUEEN CELLS, only your queen cell frame.
In the peak of the nectar flow, some breeders reduce the frame from 48 to 32 cells at this point. They pull one bar off the 3-bar queen cell frame and mount it into another frame to go in another cell finisher hive. Queen quality before quantity. This late in the year, one bar with 12 queen cells is more appropriate (starter and finisher).
Either way, stop feeding them on day 5 and LEAVE THEM ALONE until day 9! Take a peek and very gently pull the frame and count the cells. Put it back in its place for tomorrow, day 10. But while it is still today, day 9, go make that many mating nucs up, queenless please.
Day 10 is cut and plant day. Very carefully cut the QC's apart and gently poke one per mating nuc into the center brood frame near the top, but just down low enough that it is surrounded by the cluster at night. It wont hurt to move the mating nucs 10 miles away on night 10, and to put them in a good nectar flow.
Cell starters make lots of cells but most often wont finish very many. Cell finishers wont start very many, but will take very good care of the started cells. We try to trick them into taking very good care of lots of queen cells by using both types of hives, evoking both responses (emergency and supercedure) in sequence, or a Cloake board in a starter/finisher to accomplish the same trick in one hive.
I hope I'm not offending anyone by stating this pedantically, but perhaps it will help bring up our % of hot, mated queens.
Oh, BTW, the larvae to cut or graft should be the smallest ones - difficult to see and not yet able to make a "C" shape yet, just slightly bent, and NOT fat (about 80 hours after the breeder queen lays the egg). It helps to choose the ones floating in lots of royal jelly. The dry ones rarely survive grafting, but usually do OK with Cut-Cell. If you want to be get better results than me this year, get rid of the ants around the cell starter / finisher before you begin!
Credit is due to Dr. Larry Connor, Michael Palmer, Oldtimer, David LaFerney, Dr. Roger Morse, Dr. Susan Cobey, and several others here on Beesource for helping me with this info. Yay, team! I hope this helps.
Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-28-2012 at 06:52 PM.