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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
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    463

    Default two graft sessions zero takes

    I've grafted twice, about twenty cells each time. Just trying to get my feet wet, so to speak, on rearing a few queens from hives that I like. I looked yesterday and the bees acted like a couple QC's might take, but most were turned into burr or drawn comb. The QC's that looked like a maybe, looked too dry (day four) for me to be optimistic.
    I used a magnifier and light to carefully select larvae, coated grafted larvae with wet paper towel, fed the cell builder hive honey water the whole time...what else do I trouble shoot?

    perhaps the larvae looked 'dry' upon grafting.
    Frame was out of hive for twenty minute.
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,300

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    Twenty minutes sounds way too long, unless kept moist with wet towel/paper towels. Perhaps, if you haven't, you could prime the cups with a tiny drop of RJ. That helps keep the tiny larvae from drying out. Of course, it is also an indicator; if the priming RJ dries out (the grafted larvae will have too), you would then need to start over again.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
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    463

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    are you taking RJ from your hive or using store bought? How much is too much to prime? I was considering using a qtip to rob some RJ from cells, and just moisten the grafting cups, fearing drowing a larva
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Belfast, Ireland
    Posts
    393

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    Having the frame out for 20 minutes should be no problem as long as it was not in direct sunlight.
    Grafting is best done in the shade.
    I often graft larvae dry so I don't think the lack of jelly is likely to be the problem
    I suspect the problem is more likely to be with your cell raiser.
    Has it got plenty of pollen and is it definitely queenless?
    Is there a flow on and are the bees bringing in a lot of pollen.
    Sometimes when I graft they start 20/20 cells but occasionally they start just one or two or maybe none at all.
    The problem is often the weather where I live but you should be ok in Florida.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,300

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    It is not easy to drown them, I often spray the cups and frames of larvae with a fine mist of distilled water from a spray bottle. Sometimes a film of water forms in the cell cups and the larvae float on this just fine. I think the easiest way to have them drown is if they are flipped over during the grafting process. Hypothetically they learn to breath from the side they keep up, and turning them over can cause drowning. But they will even float on water. I watched a You-tube video where the grafter used water to float the larvae out of their worker comb cells, they were floating in a tray of water, where they were plucked from and inserted into their cell cups. The cells produced this way appeared well developed.

    A Q-tip may work when moving RJ, but it seems lots of it might be absorbed into the cotton. I've used RJ rescued from other cell cups, as well as some I received from R.A. I use one of the German stainless steel grafting tools to harvest and prime with RJ. Also, the plastic syringe the R.A. RJ was provided in. I don't suppose that you can really use too much RJ for priming, after all, some queen grafters use a technique, where the cell cups are grafted, the cups are filled with RJ, then that larvae is removed and replaced with another very young larvae. She being placed in the large bed of RJ having already been put there for the earlier larvae. A technique appropriately called double-grafting.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    absolutely queenless, only a little bit of a flow. I am feeding the cell raiser colony- but a flow can 'make or break' you?
    they are bringing in some pollen.
    I grafted in my kitchen, under fluorescent lights, 20 meters from the hives...
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    When I first began raising queens, I would make a colony queenless. Wait until they were building cells, then destroy all but the best looking/positioned cells, remove the larvae from those and replace them with larvae from my breeder colony. BINGO, cultured cells with the bees doing most of the work for me. I cut them out when they were soon due to emerge and place them where I wanted them.

    BTW, flow or not, I'm always providing some pollen sub and sugar syrup to my cell starter/growers. Just in case.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,924

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    That sounds discouraging, but don't give up. There is definitely a learning curve, but you'll get it before long. I suggest a stronger cell builder than you think you need, and better light and magnification than you think you need.

    Zero takes out of 20 really does sound like you're not as queen less as you think.
    since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Rome NY USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    Is your hive queenless, did you leave them queenless for 24 hours, are you feeding them syrup and pollen patty, do you have a big population of nurse bees and graft in a warm shaded place. If you follow these steps you should have sucess. Keep trying !!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,620

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    I have made up my starter hive in the morning a grafted in the afternoon many times and get good results. I think you maybe getting larva just a little bit too old or you would at least get a few cells even in a queen right hive. Keep trying you will figure it out.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    I just did another 20 cells, to keep trying. I'm off all week, so I'll check in two days and try again...

    My cell starter began as three frames capped brood and bees to cover. One frame nectar/pollen. I've fed sugar water or honey water constantly. going on seven days- there is no evidence of eggs/larvae, so pretty confident that we are without a queen, but I've been wrong on lesser things.

    My observations this time- several grafts (with Chinese tool) brought out the RJ, but I noticed the larvae on the side of its original cell. Perhaps last time I thought I was getting RJ and a larvae, but only got larvae...

    So I used my poor technique to my advantage, I think. I primed each cup with some RJ, then flipped my frame over, taking larvae and RJ into the QC's.

    more questions: I made wax cups with dowels, do I need to set up the cell bar, and place the cups in a hive for a day for the cups to be cleaned? I've just taken them from the container, grafted and put them back into the cell builder.

    I've still about one frame of emerging brood- all other frames are emerged and getting filled w/nectar. When is it time to swap out for new brood?
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    I attended a queen grafting workshop, that's the extent of my training experience. I understand that you want the youngest larvae possible. I also my change my screen name to Mr Questions

    Is it true if you can see the c shape, it is too big?
    I ask because, I can see cups on a frame with RJ, but can't see anything in it. I move outwards on the frame a row or two, and can see smaller larvae; barely bent in a C shape. Sometimes the graft comes up with bee milk, and then I can see a larvae on the grafting tool.

    Sound like I am in the correct age range of larvae?
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    872

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    It sounds like you need a timing box! Check out FatBeeMan's video for some tips:
    Queen Timing Box. This answered a bunch of questions for me about how to get larvae that are the right age for grafting. Maybe it'll be helpful for you, too.



    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,620

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    You don't have to wait two days, within 24hrs you can tell if the cells were accepted or not. They will already be starting to work the cells down from the cup and you will see lots of RJ in the bottom of the cell. I often check cells in 24hrs and redo them if I don't get the take I am looking for.

    I sometimes can not see the larva on the tip of my grafting tool. If you can see it good on the tip of the tool it may be too big. Look for the cells that sit in nothing but small clear pools of fluid. Once the pool starts to take on the white color the larva is often too big. Pick up the whole pool and set it in the cell. I use one of those magnifying glasses that is mounted on a arm with a light under it. It makes a world of difference. Good lighting is a must.

    Using a empty drawn out frame placed in the breeder hive 4days before you graft will really help you out making sure you have the right age larva. At least that would let you rule out larva age as one of your problems. Finding the right age larva on a frame was one of my hardest thing to figure out. Once you have a few good takes it will be easier. Until then the try timing box as Rusty suggested.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    I wear corrective lenses (glasses), but when grafting I put a pair of reading glasses on over my regular glasses. I use 4.25 diopter reading glasses. If I don't have the morning sun shining over my shoulder and into the cells, I put on a very bright LED headlight pointed so it shines into the cells. With all this assistance it is possible, but still difficult to view those tiniest larvae.

    From your description of setting up your cell starter -- sounds like way too few nurse bees. When I set up a cell starter/builder, I use a 5-frame deep nuc box, I round up three medium depth frames of emerging worker brood and place them into the box, then I use an empty nuc box with a screened bottom and no cover. I shake nurse bees into this box from two frames of brood gathered from three different strong colonies. Be extra careful not to include any queens during this process. Sometimes, when the hives are extremely populous, I will find and cage the queens before shaking the bees into the box. Older, field bees, already having memorized where their home is, will, within a day return there (we don't need them - they're just taking up space, better occupied by nurse bees). I give them a large pollen sub patty, supported on a 1/2" x 1/2" wire mesh rack, so the bees can access more of the patty surface. I also provide them an inverted quart feeder of thin sugar syrup.

    I wait at least overnight before placing grafts. Since there are only three frames in a 5-frame nuc, I can use two frames with two 15-cell, cell bars each, or several single cell bars.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 03-24-2013 at 11:26 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    1,977

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    I watched a You-tube video where the grafter used water to float the larvae out of their worker comb cells, they were floating in a tray of water, where they were plucked from and inserted into their cell cups. The cells produced this way appeared well developed.
    Joe, got a link or name of that video on U-Tube? I've searched but could not find...
    http://OxaVap.com
    Your source for Oxalic Acid Vaporizers

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    I watched the timing box video on utube, then promptly searched "fat man cell builder"

    lol. Won't do that again. Thanks for everyone's feedback so far. I may have been grafting larvae that were too old, or plain missing the larvae. The ones I took this morning I could barely see under one of those magnifying shop lights.
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    624

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    20 minutes is not to long with Florida humidity. Priming is not necessary if using a chinese grafting tool. You should be getting the pool of jelly the larva is laying in. Even if the larva you are graftingare a little too old you should be getting takes. They will just be lower quality queens. If you are getting zero takes you probably have a queen of some sort in your starter.

    don't be so concerned about size of larva to start with. Its better to start with some a little too old to get your confidence up. A better guage than shape is color. If its white it is too old. The correct ones are opaque. You can barely see them in their bed of jelly.

    I add a frame of capped brood every week along with adhearing bees to keep up population.

    Keep trying, practice makes perfect.

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

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    I'm also trying to relocate that You-Tube video. It was Eastern European, they were working with dark bees, and using rear entry hives, with frames that slid in and out of the back of the hives.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,924

    Default Re: two graft sessions zero takes

    You're gonna get it. Here's a sure fire way to test and prime your cell starter - put a frame of eggs and young brood in it. If the starter is good and queenless you will be able to see cells started on it within 24 hours. Tear those cells down, use the jelly out of them to prime with if you want to, and add your grafts. If they don't start cells on a frame of young brood there is a problem with the cell starter hive. Also you could just use that frame with cells on it to start a nuc.
    since '09-25H-T-Z6b

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