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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,015

    Default Re: Trying it again-one question

    Broodless cell starters are normally blocked in, queenless and broodless hives are prime targets for robbing. Below is a pic of a fairly stock standard cell starter box, often called a swarm box even though they are not typically used for swarms. Note the mesh along the two lower sides, that's to ensure adequate ventilation, as the bees are not allowed out.

    If you want to leave the cell starter open, the other way to do it is remove all the brood & queen from an existing hive, then shrink all the bees down into a tightly packed cell starter. Because they are on site they will retain the older bees that do guard duty.


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

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: Trying it again-one question

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Broodless cell starters are normally blocked in, queenless and broodless hives are prime targets for robbing. Below is a pic of a fairly stock standard cell starter box, often called a swarm box even though they are not typically used for swarms. Note the mesh along the two lower sides, that's to ensure adequate ventilation, as the bees are not allowed out.

    If you want to leave the cell starter open, the other way to do it is remove all the brood & queen from an existing hive, then shrink all the bees down into a tightly packed cell starter. Because they are on site they will retain the older bees that do guard duty.
    Thanks for the input. I thought of another idea and that is to use a screen bottom board that I use for my 10 frame boxes. I've done this before with nucs and I don't know why I didn't think of it. I just put a 3/4'' strip of wood down the middle and rest one side of the nuc on one side of the bottom and the other side on the wood strip then reduce the entrance.
    I suppose I'll try this with this starter but I am also going to add a frame of closed brood. I suspect moving it would be a no brainer. it won't hurt to move it and can likely help if the robbing bees continue to target it. Being that this starter is already "made" adding some new nurse bees with a frame of capped brood should still give it sufficient young bees. I'll inspect it after the move to make sure they are still clinging as they were.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,015

    Default Re: Trying it again-one question

    Now the robbers have the idea, they will keep attempting to rob, if the starter is open the robbers will disrupt the cell raising. Even if you move it somewhat they will find it. Would be best blocked in.

    Also would be better to use new bees, by returning the bees in the starter to their hive and getting bees from a different hive.

    The reason swarm boxes have the mesh on the side not the bottom is mesh on the bottom is more likely to be blocked by bees trying to escape. If you don't want to make anything special, do what you suggest but have the mesh on top.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: Trying it again-one question

    I didn't know the screen was for keeping bees in. I'm wondering why it is desirable? I know it's a proven system but aren't the bees that are wanting out foragers? I thought the bees that want to fly are best allowed to do so being that they won't raise Queens. I originally though the screen was for ventilation so thanks for clarifying.. I think you are right about starting over. I really thought I could take this jammed starter and allow it to start AND finish. I'm not looking to get commercial results so I can easily dedicate a starter colony to doing this without worrying about the next batch.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,957

    Default Re: Trying it again-one question

    I think that maybe the bigger issue will be your mating nucs. My cell starter will be the last hive in the yard to be robbed because it is so full of bees that the entrance is plugged with them and they beard up the front and off the landing board. Mating nucs are a whole different problem that I have constant issues with robbing. Maybe if you have some place out of this yard that you can set them up it will work, but mating nucs during robbing season has been a big problem. The queen will be mated if she isn't killed during the robbing but they never have any resources to raise any brood.
    Bruce

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,015

    Default Re: Trying it again-one question

    Quote Originally Posted by challenger View Post
    I didn't know the screen was for keeping bees in. I'm wondering why it is desirable?
    You already found that out when your starter got robbed LOL.

    Field bees? Yes they can raise cells also. I've done the experiment by moving a hive and putting an empty one there for the field bees to return to & then getting them to raise cells, they will raise perfectly good cells provided all their needs are met.

    Got to say though you do not HAVE to follow my, or any other methods, there's a heap of ways that will let you raise good cells. As much as anything it can be about avoiding the wrong things new players can do, such as setting the starter up in such a way it is virtually certain to get robbed.
    One of the methods new players use to achieve that is to make up a starter hive, leave it in the same apiary and leave it open. So that all the flying bees will return to their original hive and tell the other bees they know where there is a stash of honey they can go and collect. Of course they walk right back in to the starter hive to do that, the other bees do not stop them cos they are from the same hive. Not to mention that the bees in the starter are now only the young ones, to young to do guard duty anyway.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: Trying it again-one question

    I took the three bar cell frame out today. I relocated the starter and shook new nurse bees into it. I also added another frame of pollen/uncapped/capped honey. The starter still had plenty of both but I already had it and decided why not. Closing the entrance down stopped the robbing or at least there was no robbing going on when I did this work and the bees were clinging and working on the cell bars.
    I took the cell bar frame and shook the bees off. I saw about 40% had cells started and some royal jelly in them. Maybe 10% had the jelly filling the entire cup. It has been three days and the best cells looked like the photo below which seems pretty puny to me. I harvested all the royal jelly from these cells and put the bar frame back in about 1/2 hour after I restocked and moved the starter. I want them to clean up the cups. I thought it might help them clean the cells if I put a tiny drop of RJ in these cups. Likely a waste of time but I have a lot of RJ for tomorrows attempt which I placed in a refrigerator. I know there is a ton of conflicting information about priming cups but I'm giving it a try with RJ that is cut just enough to make it more liquid. I don't think 50% water/RJ is something I'm convinced in trying right now but 90-95% RJ I am OK with trying because I feel the larvae will float on it. I went back about and hour later and they were cleaning the cups out and many had a tiny edge of new wax built on them which can't be a bad thing I hope.
    Thanks

    http://www.doorgarden.com/images/cri...fts-48-hrs.JPG
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