# Thread: Why are my queen cells so small?

1. ## Re: Why are my queen cells so small?

Originally Posted by challenger
Ok. this is making better sense now. I appreciate the posts.
How about some guesses as to how many pounds this swarm is.
Looks about the size of a 3# package, but it might be a little bigger than that. Probably 3-4 pounds.

2. Join Date
Dec 2010
Location
Ojai, California
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## Re: Why are my queen cells so small?

Challenger -
Brandy and Bruce give good ideas about getting a lid on a "Bee Bomb" colony. I just put sage brush and/or pine needles (either makes LOTS of smoke compared to cardboard or) in my smoker, give them and thorough smoking, and they go in. I slide the inner cover lid over them. Some always come off the edge as it closes up. I scoop them with my gloved hand and put them in front of the entrance. Invariably, a few do get crushed. (Most of my colonies get commercial lids, but queen rearing colonies get the best boxes, inner covers, extra feeders, hive dummies when needed - all the niceties of hobbyist-quality equipment and all the best bells and whistles for the queen colonies.)

A spacer rim would probably be a good idea, but it would also reduce crowding. In a Cell Builder, you WANT crowding, so try to learn to get them in some how without the rim.

It is difficult to guess a swarm size from a picture. Try weighing the empty box, then weigh the swarm after they are in the box. A mathematical procedure called subtraction comes next, (weight of the bees with the box minus the weight of the empty box) the part called the "remainder" is the weight of the bees.
Last edited by kilocharlie; 06-11-2014 at 12:09 AM.

3. Join Date
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Location
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Posts
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## Re: Why are my queen cells so small?

I guess I should have added a little bit more...post # 14 had an omission - the Cell Starter/Finisher colony begins on Day #1.

I should have added that early on Day #19, you peek at how many queen cells you have, and go make up that many queenless nucleus colonies in ventilated boxes, but locked inside the boxes. I will be building these on a trailer from now on, as I will be moving the nucleus colonies at least 10 miles away a couple days later.

On Day #20, cut your queen cells apart and plant them into the nucleus colonies about an inch below the middle of the brood nest. You may have to remove one frame in order to make the frame with the planted queen cell fit. I now make my queen cell cups attached to golf tees for easy handling. The QC frame has 2 bars with rows of holes that the stem of the golf tee fits into snugly, not tightly. I cross-drill them with a tiny drill bit and insert a sewing pin to hold them. I make my own wax cell cups, and dip both the bottom of the cell cup and the head of the golf tee into molten wax and stick them together quickly. I do these 1-at-a-time, so the golf tees go back in the same hole so the pin holes line up. Planting QC's was never easier. Pull the pin, pull the golf tee/QC, stick the stem end into the brood comb, float the planted frame down into the nuc', close up the nuc'. When finished, tow the trailer to a mating yard 10 miles or farther from the grafting yard, unblock the nuc's, and leave them there for a month.

Hope this helps.

Also, post #22 should have read, "tied and dried sage leaves and/or pine needles make a LOT more smoke than cardboard rolls or burlap. Bees will back off from sage smoke, give them a thorough smoking, and you can get the lid on."
Last edited by kilocharlie; 06-16-2014 at 11:29 PM.

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