I checked the bar frame that I grafted 36 cells into. I had only 6 cells that were being drawn down and 2 of them were not worth keeping. Below is a list of things that I feel confident I did right:
Strong starter with only young bees in a single 5 frame nuc. This was being fed with honey.
The cell bar was installed the day prior to grafting.
Larvae were absolutely less than 24 hours old.
Things I am questioning:
Reused JZBZ cups after cleaning and dipping in molten wax. These were used in 2 previous tries. I have more on order but used these after reading people here have no problem using them over again.
Primed with royal jelly from the attempt 2-3 days earlier which yielded disappointing results. I harvested the jelly and refrigerated it for 1-2 days. Is it possible I suffocated the larvae? I made sure to float them onto the jelly in the same orientation and is discarded any larvae I picked up that I thought I may have flipped or touched the sides of the cell.
I grafted each bar and placed it in the frame withing 5-10 minutes and kept all larvae covered with a damp cloth.
I know I've asked over and over again so I'm sorry for continuing but I need Queens and also want to learn more. I suspect it is something I am overlooking because so many people can get this done and I'm just coming up short.