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  1. #1
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    Default Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    I tried my first grafting yesterday and gave up when realising that I cannot do it. I've been using chinese grafting tool and mangnifying head lamp...haha...
    The cells wall were too tall on that specific frame and while inserting the tool inside I didn't have the angle to still see the larva.
    However I quickly changed the strategy: took a new frame with fresh egs and done it by the Oldtimer's method. I haven't looked inside yet.
    For the cell builder I used Kirk Webster's method via Michael Palmer. It worked nice. I've been on the brink of disaster though as I asked myself wether to use the shaker box or not and luckily I used it. The first frame I took from the brood box to shake into the cell builder had the queen on it but I didn't see it. After I shook the frame I saw the queen above the queen excluder ; I took it and put it back into the box. So for the future the shaker box will be a very useful tool for me.

    I will try to train myself from time to time to try to master this technique as I find it very economical and acurate in timing. It's important for me to have the day when I form the nucs on Saturday so I don't have to take a free day out of my vacation.

    Questions:

    1. Can I make the nucs and give them the cells on the same day? If yes what's the timing for introducing the cells?
    2. If the nucs are too strong will they accept the cells? (I know feeding is very important on this)
    3. Do you think it's a good idea to move the old queen to a nuc and leave the cell builder with one or two cells? (I'm thinking to do some sort of cutdown split before the main flow)
    4. How about doing cutdown splits on all my hives? - take the old queen and a couple of brood frames away and then give the old hive a cell instead...I guess the chances of acceptance(on the other hives) are smaller but if I can make it happen I could reduce swarming chances to almost zero.
    5. I find queen finding very difficult in a hive that's thriving. I'm thinking on using the shaker box instead to do the cutdown split. Shake most of the bees through or shake until I find the queen. Thoughts?

    In theory everything is simple but when coming to practice I find this pretty dificult.

    Thanks,
    Cristian
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,481

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    > 1. Can I make the nucs and give them the cells on the same day?

    Yes. Accepance will be slightly better if you wait until the next day, or should I say, you make them up the day before...

    > If yes what's the timing for introducing the cells?

    I do whatever is convenient for me. I may put a frame of brood, a frame of honey and a queen cell in and close them up. Or I might set them all up and as soon as I'm done, go back and put the cells in.

    >2. If the nucs are too strong will they accept the cells? (I know feeding is very important on this)

    How big are the nucs? I don't see that it matters how strong they are as far as accepting cells.

    > 3. Do you think it's a good idea to move the old queen to a nuc and leave the cell builder with one or two cells? (I'm thinking to do some sort of cutdown split before the main flow)

    That works fine. Mine are usually queenless and that is what I usually do if I'm not breaking it down for mating nucs...

    > 4. How about doing cutdown splits on all my hives? - take the old queen and a couple of brood frames away and then give the old hive a cell instead...I guess the chances of acceptance(on the other hives) are smaller but if I can make it happen I could reduce swarming chances to almost zero.

    If the purpose is a to get more honey you are missing some of the elements. You make it queenless to purposefully have a gap in brood rearing to make for more foragers. So letting them raise their own queen times this better than giving them a cell. Also, you want to compress them (to get them into the supers) and you want to free them from the responsibilities of all the open brood. So you take at LEAST a full box of brood off, and probably a full box of honey as well. You leave the old location with only one brood box and all the capped brood.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown

    > 5. I find queen finding very difficult in a hive that's thriving. I'm thinking on using the shaker box instead to do the cutdown split. Shake most of the bees through or shake until I find the queen. Thoughts?

    In my opinion, WAY too much work. If you can't find the queen, then just pull all the open brood and honey and move it to the new location and don't worry about where the queen is. If you keep an eye out for her you may see her anyway. You still get the advantage of no brood to care for, a lot of emerging brood and the entire field force at the old location. Just don't do it too soon or they will swarm. You might want to wait until one week before the flow or right on the main flow if you do this without finding the queen. Another solution if you are planning ahead is to put an excluder between each brood box four days before the split and then you'll know what box the queen is in (the one with eggs) and you can take that box to the new location without even looking for her, and then grab the open brood and honey from the rest.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Romania, Sibiu
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    252

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Thank you very much!

    God bless you Mr. Bush!
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Romania, Sibiu
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    252

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Final result: total failure.

    None of the methods worked. The bees started the queen cells but the egs didn't hatch. I think I kept them for too long outside the hive although it was in my kitchen were was pretty warm. However I shouldn't have tried to raise queens so early and in such weather circumstances. Having a mild winter resulted in a cold and wet spring. It's been raining for a month almost on daily basis. I've been feeding syrup from time to time.
    I guess I'm too nervous about not letting my bees(money) swarm. Ridiculous!
    By the way, a question came up in my mind:

    Can it happen that the old queen fly away with some of the field bees during the queen building session? I mean we created a similar situation as in reproductive swarming.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Hi Cristian sorry it did not work out.

    Sometimes when the bees don't finish the queen cells it is because there was a queen you did not know about in the hive with the cells. here is a simple method to make a cell raising hive out of a 2 brood box hive without finding the queen. - Put a queen excluder between the 2 brood boxes. 5 days later have a look at the combs. The box that has eggs in it has the queen. Move this box to a new bottom board a few meters away and put a lid on it. The other box is queenless you can put your new queen cells in it and the bees will raise them. A few days later join the hives back together, put the box with the queen on the bottom, then a queen excluder, then the queenless box with the queen cells on top. No newspaper is needed the bees will remember each other, and they will still care for the queen cells.

    About the grafting, I find it really difficult to use a Chinese grafting tool also, I use a 000 paintbrush, much easier. If possible, I also cut the cell walls down to the foundation with a sharp knife which makes things easier also.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Romania, Sibiu
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    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Thanks so much OT!

    Here is what I did:

    1. Put the excluder
    2. After 5 days moved the box with the queen just nearby with the entrance facing oposite side. The box with no queen contained mostly capped brood, honey and pollen, shooked the core through an excluder(the queen was on the excluder and I moved it back)

    My mistakes wich I'm aware off just that I've thought it would work that way too:
    - didn't let them queenless too long - only 1 hour.
    - kept the frame with egs too long outside the hive As I've said the eggs didn't hatch at all in the end.
    - ?reunited the whole colony(used QE of course) after ~36 hours - by that time the cells were too small.

    I'm sure there was no queen in that hive... the bees acted like so.

    I put both the cell bar and the frame from wich I have cut the rows of cells. Both were just started but as the eggs didn't hatch... stopped.

    I didn't know the eggs dry too. I thought only larvae has this problem.

    Anyway... I will train for grafting cause it's much more neat than other methods.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    "started queen cells but the eggs didn't hatch" You should be grafting young larva, not eggs. The should be not much larger than egg and not quite a "c" shape. I identify areas where there is good larva, tear down cell walls to get a better look and angle, lift the larva and place her in the cup. You also have to make sure you are grafting worker larva and not drone larva. Make sure you have a strong nectar flow or are feeding the cell starter hive when you place the grafts or they may not work them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    1,194

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Quote Originally Posted by cristianNiculae View Post
    I tried my first grafting yesterday and gave up when realising that I cannot do it. I've been using chinese grafting tool and mangnifying head lamp...haha...
    The cells wall were too tall on that specific frame and while inserting the tool inside I didn't have the angle to still see the larva.
    However I quickly changed the strategy: took a new frame with fresh egs and done it by the Oldtimer's method. I haven't looked inside yet.
    For the cell builder I used Kirk Webster's method via Michael Palmer. It worked nice. I've been on the brink of disaster though as I asked myself wether to use the shaker box or not and luckily I used it. The first frame I took from the brood box to shake into the cell builder had the queen on it but I didn't see it. After I shook the frame I saw the queen above the queen excluder ; I took it and put it back into the box. So for the future the shaker box will be a very useful tool for me.

    I will try to train myself from time to time to try to master this technique as I find it very economical and acurate in timing. It's important for me to have the day when I form the nucs on Saturday so I don't have to take a free day out of my vacation.

    Questions:

    1. Can I make the nucs and give them the cells on the same day? If yes what's the timing for introducing the cells?
    2. If the nucs are too strong will they accept the cells? (I know feeding is very important on this)
    3. Do you think it's a good idea to move the old queen to a nuc and leave the cell builder with one or two cells? (I'm thinking to do some sort of cutdown split before the main flow)
    4. How about doing cutdown splits on all my hives? - take the old queen and a couple of brood frames away and then give the old hive a cell instead...I guess the chances of acceptance(on the other hives) are smaller but if I can make it happen I could reduce swarming chances to almost zero.
    5. I find queen finding very difficult in a hive that's thriving. I'm thinking on using the shaker box instead to do the cutdown split. Shake most of the bees through or shake until I find the queen. Thoughts?

    In theory everything is simple but when coming to practice I find this pretty dificult.

    Thanks,
    Cristian
    What is old timers method?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,737

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    He probably means this http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...thout-Grafting

    Yes agree with Tim, best to use young larvae less than 24 hours since hatch from the egg. Even with the cut cell method if you use eggs the bees will often reject a lot of them. Weird, but true.

    Sounds like you set up your cell starter right. Just, if the cell starter has brood, it takes longer for the bees to get into a real good queenless cell raising state. If there is no brood & the bees are put on different comb then a couple of hours is fine. But if they are on the same comb plus they have brood then leaving them queenless 24 hours before giving the cells is best. I think if you try again do that, plus use young larvae not eggs, and it will work.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Loup City, NE
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    OT- Thanks for the link to cut cell method. Very good pics. I'm trying to duplicate Jay Smith's method exactly,
    complete with his style of breeder frames. Extra pics always helps, his are fuzzy , but he does explain things well.
    As you both stated, his mating rate is high, because of his strong queens. Thanks again, Tom.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Romania, Sibiu
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    I haven't grafted the eggs. I'm stupid but not that much )

    ...and yes eggs dry too. I should have just use Jay Smith method on just putting the fresh layed new frame inside the starter - no fuss, no muss

    Anyway, I've made myself a copper grafting tool (FatBeeMan style) and adjusted it using a real built frame. It should work nice and I'll try it as soon as the weather permits. I will also build a nice swarm box today and shall do it "by the book" next time. I don't like the idea of waiting: put the QE and wait 7 days, put a new foundation/built frame inside the brood nest and wait 4 days etc.

    At first it looked to me that the classical starter/finisher method is too complicated but now I can see it's advantages.

    By using grafting and starter/finisher you can start the QC building process 4 hours after you made the decision that you need some queens.

    I just have another question regarding the pollen frame; I know M. Palmer uses that artificially made one. Is it really necessary? How much pollen should be on that frame?

    Thanks,
    Cristian
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,846

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    I built up my hives via checker boarding since February. they all started as a deep and a medium 10 frame. nearly all of them managed to build up to 4 to 5 boxes tall. This build up was intended to be my mating nuc stock.

    I started by grafting 45 larva via instructions by Micheal Palmer and the sustainable queen rearing method. Starter finisher all in one. This created a monster colony packed with bees 2 deeps and 5 mediums tall.

    I am lucky and don't have a lot of issues with grafting. I will second OT's suggestion on the brush. The tool does not work for me either.

    I also had the issue that swarm season was setting in and I have these overgrown colonies. Not a good combination as I learned last year. I first attempted to catch bees in preparation for swarming. Yeah right, ever tried a frame by frame search of 12 large hives every two days? I don't suggest you try it. This idea resulted in the loss of two swarms. Enough for me.

    I then started making every hive queenless. Do you have any idea what happens in a strong hive in the middle of swarm season when you make it queenless? The make cells and they make lots of cells. One hive made 42, another 55. I think to myself, great we are all working together now. I was able to remove all the cells after they where capped by searching the hive only twice. Once 5 days after making them queenless then again 10 days after. It is amazing what desperate bees will attempt to make queen cells from. But bees can still have open queen cells after 10 days being queenless. no idea how but many of them did.

    Harvesting wild queen cells I do not recommend either. far to many losses in the cell. early 26% for us.

    We first moved the queens to 5 frame deep nucs with a medium on top of it. they all ended p having weak bee populations. when I discovered this i then gave each queen two medium ten frame boxes with plenty of bees. I do not want to restrict their production while I am rearing their daughters.

    The queenless bees are now being broken down into two frame mating compartments and virgin queens are being added as they emerge.

    So far we have gotten 280 cells from 10 hives. This includes our initial 32 grafted cells. of those we have 63 in mating compartments. 30 have been sold as virgins. we have a hand full we introduced directly to 5 frame nucs. and the rest where lost prior to emerging. Some where around 80 cells lost at my last count.

    I have not tried placing cells in nucs. but if bees have been queenless for three to four days they pretty much accept anything.

    We are now waiting for the confirmation of our first quens having mated. it is driving me nuts. We check them after two weeks but I know that many will not be mated by then. so far 2 out of 10 compartments have produced mated queens in two weeks. no sign of queens in the other 8. So of course this has me concerned. I woudl swear those with no sign of a queen act queenless. until I saw a virgin running across the frame acting just as frantic as the rest of the bees.

    My greatest concern right now is my choice in mating compartments. I am using 10 frame deeps divided into 4 compartements each holding 2 frames.

    These are placed on a stand with three shelves each shelf hold 5 of these castles. This makes 60 queens all in a space 8 feet long and 5 feet tall. Migration during mating flights is my biggest concern.

    Second is that it seems to me we lose a lot of bees due to the breaking down and transferring process. Maybe it is just my worry. I do not see dead bees anywhere but It seems like we put bees in a compartment and when we come back there does not seem to be nearly as many.

    My concern is that I am decimating the population of my apiary attempting to mate queens that are doing nothing but getting lost. I woudl be better off slowing it all down. spreading the bees out in 5 frame nucs and getting them mated 40 at a time.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    >None of the methods worked. The bees started the queen cells but the egs didn't hatch.

    I've tried transferring eggs with graftless systems (don't know how to graft them) and the bees just remove them. You need larvae.

    > I think I kept them for too long outside the hive although it was in my kitchen were was pretty warm. However I shouldn't have tried to raise queens so early and in such weather circumstances.

    I never start until I see drones flying. Earlier has never been productive.

    > Having a mild winter resulted in a cold and wet spring. It's been raining for a month almost on daily basis. I've been feeding syrup from time to time.
    I guess I'm too nervous about not letting my bees(money) swarm. Ridiculous!

    Sometimes they do swarm...

    > Can it happen that the old queen fly away with some of the field bees during the queen building session?
    I mean we created a similar situation as in reproductive swarming.

    Of course. If you crowd them enough and the old queen is still there...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Romania, Sibiu
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    252

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    I've tried transferring eggs with graftless systems (don't know how to graft them) and the bees just remove them. You need larvae.
    Poor larvae. They'll have a tough life for some time until I properly learn how to graft.

    Do you see any reason on having detachable bottom board on swarm box? I remember seeing on the web a swarm box on top of the finisher.

    Do you think it's a good idea to just put the swarm box uppon the finisher above a QE? It looks easier than shaking the bees back.
    Last edited by cristianNiculae; 05-06-2014 at 12:27 AM.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,547

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    A couple of 'tricks' that were discussed on Bee-l about a year ago...

    1. Practice grafting onto a flat surface first...getting the larvae off the tool in the cell can be a bit intimidating, especially because you can't see inside so well. A microscope slide is perfect, and if you have a microscope handy you can look at the graft eating and breathing.

    2. Put the frame you are going to graft from into the cell builder for a few hours before grafting...all those nurse bees will feed the heck out of the larva and they will be sitting in big pools of jelly.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  16. #16
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    A couple of 'tricks' that were discussed on Bee-l about a year ago...



    2. Put the frame you are going to graft from into the cell builder for a few hours before grafting...all those nurse bees will feed the heck out of the larva and they will be sitting in big pools of jelly.

    deknow
    Nice tip.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  17. #17
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    Jul 2013
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    Romania, Sibiu
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    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Yes indeed but for me there will be no more starter started until I'm sure I can do the grafting. Hopefully today I can do some exercises as the weather turned into a fine one.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,481

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    >Do you see any reason on having detachable bottom board on swarm box?

    No, but it needs to be well ventilated, so a screen is good and some kind of legs to hold it up (a strip of wood at each end will do) so air can get under it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Loup City, NE
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    163

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Christian- How many queens do you want?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Romania, Sibiu
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    252

    Default Re: Stressful grafting and queen rearing attempt

    Is this enough ventilation? D. Cushman style with holes. We are around 60 F max. temp.... so not hot at all. We've just had a fresh snow on the mountains these days.
    DSCN2765.jpg DSCN2767.jpg

    This is my grafting tool. I just tried it and works fine. I'm planning a tuesday session after I come back from work so that I make the nucs on saturday.
    DSCN2769.jpg

    How many? About 10 this session although I prepared 30 wax cups. Let's call this a training session.


    Thanks for help.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

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