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.
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.