I did my third (forth?) graft attempt yesterday. I checked them today because I gave one bar to another queenless colony to finish. I grafted three bars. Two of the bars were recycled from this previous trial in which I had a good number accepted however I elected to ditch them and try again looking for larger cells.
I froze and removed the larvae/ pupae and scraped out the cells a bit. I then placed these cups into a box that contained a queenless swarm I collected a day earlier. The queenless bees cleaned out the cells on these two bars and even built wax rings on the lips of the cell cups. Being that I wanted to graft three bars I added another bar that I put brand new JZBZ cups into. Upon checking the graft frame today I was surprised to see that the bees completely ignored the brand new cups. I placed this bar in the center position just in case I found there was a problem I couldn't blame it on the fact that the bar was "too high" or "too low" in the frame.
What's the deal with new cups? I've read a lot of people here use them right out of the bag?
On another related note, what about letting the bees season the cups AND what about using previously grafted cups? Seem to me the bees really got after the cups that I had already grafted into. I suppose reusing cups might be a bad idea if there was a lot of frass from previous occupants but maybe these cups become more desirable after being used? People talk about the cups being too cheap to try and reuse and this is certainly understandable. My theory is reusing them after giving them to a strong colony that is really hard up to raise a new queen is a good play and may get the acceptance rate up?
I'll report back on this latest attempt. I am interested because I am using the technique found here where the starter is made with bees packed into it but no brood whatsoever. Then it is given a frame of open brood/eggs which, theoretically, gives them a lot of drive to make large cells. I placed one bar in the box that has the swarm bees and left the other two bars ,one of which has empty new cups, in this starter which I'll also use as a finisher for this go round. I'll see if the bees in the starter that were given the frame of open brood grow bigger cells than the bee from the captured swarm. Both bars seemed to be similar in accepted number of cells . Not true science but interesting to me non the less.
BTW the frame of open brood was removed so there is nothing in either colony for the bees to feed other than my grafted cells. I am feeding the bees and they have plenty of honey and pollen frames right next to the grafts.