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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    New Albany, Ohio, USA
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    344

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    John,

    Those are well fed cells. Could you share a little more about how you set up your queen right starter/finisher? When and where to you place the freshly grafted cells?

    Thanks,
    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,551

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    John,

    Those are pretty cells. Always interested to hear how others do it, particularly when they look so nice. Please share your details if possible.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    1,384

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Wow, those are some nice looking peanuts there JBJ!! Looks like most of your grafts take as well!! What breed of bees do you run?
    Coyote Creek Bees

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
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    1,162

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Ahh... the secrets of the trade!

    All right there is not really a secret. Its just biology. We all know that there are two strong impulses for a hive to build cells; swarming and supercedure. A good cell builder will exploit both impulses.

    Firstly, one needs an exceptionally strong hive flowing over with resources and bees, especially young bees, they have all the magic when it comes to cell building. If the cell builder hive is not boiling over with bees make it that way with brood and bee additions and then feed, even if they already "have plenty". Building cells is energetically expensive and one wants no scrimping by the bees when it comes to lavishing future queens.

    For us the first graft is the most work. The queen must be caught and put under an excluder in the bottom box. Take care to give plenty of nice comb for her to lay in. Sort the brood so that all the open brood, or as much as possible (within the basic framework of brood nest architecture) is in the top box. We may have as many as 1 to 3+ boxes between the excluder and the cell building box on the top; all full of bees and ample stores. We leave one frame out of the middle of the top box to receive the graft frame. Timing wise you will get less rogue cells if the graft frame is placed in the hive sooner than later. Depending on schedule and weather, this may be from hours to days. If it is days... be on alert, they have already started some cells and yours will loose the race. By now the open brood is so far from the queen the supercedure impulse will kick in and they will want to build cells so they may as well build the ones we want and not random ones.

    Meanwhile, an incredibly vigorous queen is laying her brains out under that excluder. It wont be long and that swarm impulse will be going strong. This is perfect... depending on conditions this may take between 10-14 days or longer if things are running lean. Either way, for the subsequent grafts, the queen is caught, placed under an excluder, and the fresh open brood rotated to the top with room to receive a graft frame. Make sure there is open brood next to the grafts. This guarantees that your grafts will immediately be attended to by ample nurse bees. I have read several books that said not to and have heard not to do that, but experience shows otherwise. The cells speak for themselves. This cycle can be repeated as necessary, although there is considerable judgement involved to discern how hard one can push the cell builder.

    If the cells are few, small, brown, and not flowing over with jelly, you are missing one or more of the key elements. The best cell builders will make plump white cells with few if any misses (assuming the grafting is proficient). Lots of young bees and plenty of protein are critical.

    There are some nuances depending on if it is spring, summer, or fall. Abundant conditions yield ample cells.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
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    1,162

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGhost View Post
    Wow, those are some nice looking peanuts there JBJ!! Looks like most of your grafts take as well!! What breed of bees do you run?
    We call them Survivor Stock. Very hygienic, broody and productive.

    Remember that poorly reared queens off of superior stock will always be inferior to well reared queens off of marginal stock. Techniques and conditions mean lot. Great genetics and good technique are what we strive for.

    It is possible to have both.


    Always learning!
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    new castle delaware usa
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post
    We call them Survivor Stock. Very hygienic, broody and productive.

    Remember that poorly reared queens off of superior stock will always be inferior to well reared queens off of marginal stock. Techniques and conditions mean lot. Great genetics and good technique are what we strive for.

    It is possible to have both.


    Always learning!
    Graft from stock that works in your aria is a start.That is really all that matters. Do they make honey and live ? Graft from those!

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Some good advice by Old Sol on cell raising. I agree that keeping some open brood around the cells is a good practice. We diligently rotate brood "upstairs" in queenright builders to encourage the presence of plenty of young bees around the grafts. If there is a cold night and no semblance of a brood nest surrounding your cells above the excluder the great majority of the bees will abandon the cells in favor of the main brood nest below.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    You can also get some really good cells with a queenless cell builder.



    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    We have used queenless cell builders in the past, however I feel they are much more resource intensive and more work to maintain over the long hall. Queenless units are really only tapping the the emergency impulse to raise cells. I suspect it is better to work for triggering both impulses. It would be interesting to track the weights of the cells to determine roughly the amount of jelly provisioned and the size of the virgin.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,907

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Nice pic Broke T, is that the genuine take or did you move a few cells around?

    Very interesting JBJ, I've tried various methods of starting cells in a queenright hive, with mixed results. Never put the cells in the 4th box among brood though, but can see it may work, I'll give it a shot.

    To me the main problem would be rogue cells on the upstairs brood, I guess you'd have to go through it every few days. How does it work during a heavy honey flow, when the bees have lost interest in swarming and want to choc out that top box with honey?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    The method I'm using at the moment is built around the need to use just a few hives to raise cells and house the breeder queens. I live in suburbia and am allowed 3 hives in the back yard. Swarming is also a no no I have to ensure that doesn't happen. From these circumstances I need to get around 40 cells per week.

    So the breeder queens are housed in the same hives the cells are raised in. They are long hives, holding a maximum of 22 frames. The breeder queen is held in a 3 frame compartment at one end in an area sectioned off with a queen excluder. She produces an egg comb once a week for cutting and glueing strips of cells onto the cell bars, I don't graft.

    The cells spend a day in a queenless starter, and are then transferred back to the breeder hive, down the other end to where the queen is along with a couple of frames of brood.

    Not an ideal method but means I don't have to drive anywhere to do it, I can comply with the 3 hive requirement and do it in the back yard.

    Using the cut cell method you don't end up with pretty uniform rows of cells like if you are grafting, but I feel the cells are of good quality. The smallest get culled.

    In the frame pictured, I allowed my neighbors, who were curious, to do a bar each, so the two bottom bars have a few less cells than normal, however there are still 35 cells, more or less enough to get me through that week.

    The hives are rested, ie, not every hive raises cells every week, or quality will drop off.

    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    OT, that was for real. Not very often I get 45 of 45. Thats reason I took pic. Most times I can get 40+.

    The webbing in your pic is why I move mine to an incubator as soon as they are capped. I hate having to cut them apart.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Oh i see, I was wondering how come they were all so perfectly clean!
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    874

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    JBJ are you saying to put the queen right cell builder together at least 10 to 14 days prior to grafting? So that the bees get into swarm mode.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
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  15. #35
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    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Oldtimer do you cut your comb like the Alley method, like this?

    Alley cells.jpg
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
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  16. #36
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Yes, I just googled the Alley method to see what he did, and that's what I do as far as the way the cells are cut. But in his method he destroys every secong egg, i destroy two and leave one, or else some of the cells are too close to seperate them without killing one.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,903

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Alley was the first to write about cutting strips of comb (in his case old comb).

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesalleymethod.htm

    Joseph M. Brooks wrote about a similar method using NEW comb instead of old comb and this was adopted by Isaac Hopkins and written about in The Australasian Bee Manual.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshopkins1886.htm

    Later it was reinvented by Jay Smith and written about in Better Queens:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbetterqueens.htm

    All of these are basically cutting strips of larvae and destroying some so the cells won't be all stuck together. But I think Hopkins eventually found it easier to just destroy the larvae without cutting and waxing strips and just turn the frame flatways:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshopkinsmethod.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #38
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    Sep 2009
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    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    874

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Thanks Oldtimer can you tell me how you attach the comb to the cell bar. I would imagine that you do it with wax, but can you tell me the procedure. I have all the equipment I need to try grafing a few queens this year, but I really like the idea of the Alley method. Steve
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  19. #39
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    The wax is melted in my high tech custom wax melter pictured below.

    The wax is painted on the bar with a small paintbrush and the cells glued on, then some more wax is painted on the join just to make sure the cells won't drop off.

    Although the cut cell method is reasonably simple, the most difficult part if starting out, would be getting the comb with eggs. Grafting offers the advantage that you can pick and choose larvae so don't have to produce a comb with all larvae the same age. For this reason I'd recommend anyone starting out does learn to graft, ( it's actually pretty easy ), but the cut cell method is also a good way, or in my opinion, the best, long as you are organised to produce the combs with larvae all within 24 hours of each other.


    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
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    1,162

    Default Re: Queen rearing: What are your methods for grafting, cell building/finishing coloni

    Quote Originally Posted by sfisher View Post
    JBJ are you saying to put the queen right cell builder together at least 10 to 14 days prior to grafting? So that the bees get into swarm mode.
    Not necessarily, however we do like to see a colony that has been on a good flow and has been fed well for two or three weeks prior so they are very pumped up and naturally moving in that direction. Sometimes we graft into them the same day we set them up, sometimes a day or two later. The longer one waits, the more must have a sure method to deal with the rogue cells.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

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