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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    207

    Default Cell Starter and cell finisher?

    O.K. Total newbie question, but I want to start raising my own queens next year. When doing alot of research, I see that beeks use a cell starter colony to get the grafts going, and them move them to a cell finisher colony, before dividing up the cells to nucs. My question is: Why can't the cell starter colony do it all? Why does the graft frame have to be moved to a cell finisher colony? Thanks in advance for any and all answers, have been keeping bees for several years, but this queen business is totally new to me.

    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,869

    Default Re: Cell Starter and cell finisher?

    You can use one colony for both starting and finishing, see thread here...
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...arter-Finisher

    if you move to a finisher, then you can start another cell bar in the starter for another round.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Cell Starter and cell finisher?

    Matt - The idea is to take advantage of the bee's instincts, but to manipulate them a bit to make lots of high-quality queens.

    1) Wait until there are drones present if you are using open-mating, and wait for the colony to show some tendency to increase their numbers in the spring before beginning queen rearing. The bees should be flying out in good numbers. This helps to take advantage of their swarming impulse.

    2) A cell starter colony is usually made queenless to take advantage of their emergency response. They will start many queen cells, but if left as such, they will only take good care of a very few.

    3) By removing the Cloake Board, the Starter/Finisher is instantly restored to queenright, and the bees now switch over to their supercedure response, under which they would have started far fewer queen cells, but they do take VERY, VERY, GOOD CARE of the queen cells that they have started. This strategy will often result in many high-quality queens.

    Another hint - after you get a few seasons of breeding experience under your belt, go ahead and buy some top-notch queens for your stock. It will save you years of development. There is often a steep learning curve at the beginning, so save money by using whatever you have until you really have it down and understand it from experience. Keep the attitude, "Expect mistakes, keep learning."

    Dr. Susan W. Cobey should have her new website, www.honeybeeinsemination.com up sometime soon (she's working on it presently) - you will want to read her article titled, The Cloake Board Method of Honeybee Queen Rearing and Banking.

    Another great website to read is www.glenn-apiaries.com Read the section about queen rearing in particular, but the entire website is incredible! I've just spent most of the day reading and re-reading it.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 06-16-2013 at 08:29 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Cell Starter and cell finisher?

    Thank you both for the responses. Really excited about getting into this new area of bee keeping.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Cell Starter and cell finisher?

    > Why can't the cell starter colony do it all?

    It can.

    > Why does the graft frame have to be moved to a cell finisher colony?

    It does not. I usually use my starters as finishers.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    brookline, Vermont, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Cell Starter and cell finisher?

    I also use 1 hive for both. Move the queen above another hive the day before you graft. Put her back when the cells are capped, with an excluder between her and the cells.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Cell Starter and cell finisher?

    thanks everyone. This is what I really like about this fourm...ask a question and get some good responses. Will let everyone know how it goes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Madison, VA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Cell Starter and cell finisher?

    The cell starter is queenless, so when you add the grafted queen cells, the bees natural instincts kick in to start making a new queen. I brush nurse bees from the hive I'm using as the cell finisher into a closed nuc to start drawing out the queen cells. Then after 23-36 hrs I put the queencell frame bar (and the brushed nurse bees) back into the hive, where the queen is in the lower brood boxes with an excluder. Make sure to move brood up around the queen cell bar to have plenty of nurse bees to draw out the started queen cells.

    Good luck with making your own queens, I've been doing this for three years now and don't buy packages anymore, and I requeen my hives every year at no cost except time and a little work. I agree with kilocharlie to buy a good breeding queen to keep improving the genetics.

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