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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    456

    Default My attmept at grafting

    Well I took a big step today and grafted 30 larva. I am afraid that I did all that work for nothing. After getting the feel for it and being able to see the little newly hatched larva, I think the workers are not interested in raising a queen for me. The colony has been queenless and had or has laying workers. I did add a frame of brood several days ago and shook out all the bees, in hopes the laying workers would not be able to fly back.
    So I had fed the colony yesterday and placed the cell bar into the hive for them to clean up. Then this afternoon I took the cell bar away and filled each cup with a larva. I could not keep my face out of the hive and checked back on them a few hours later. There were not any bees on the cell bars. The reason I had to check up was I figured it was going to be a flop. Am I being to anxious, I assume I should let them bee and worry about it in a few days.

    With failure expected I went ahead and pulled 4 frames of brood from a strong hive, I then moved the original hive 30 feet away and set up a new 10 frame box for the brood and foragers to return to. I will be at work for the next 2 days starting at 0700 on Monday so I will not be able to check on them until Wednesday. They too were given a frame with 3 cell bars to clean up between now and then. Do y'all see any possible problems with that set up? The entrance is reduced down to about an inch, they were given sugar syrup. There is one frame with pollen and one with honey and the other two frames have capped and open brood. Before placing any grafts in there I plan on looking very very thoroughly for any queen cells and cull them. I am thinking with all the baby and nurse bees + the foragers they should be able to handle 30 or 45 grafts?

    Feed back and constructive criticism in appreciated.
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,869

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    I think your first try was practice with a cell builder of questionable value for raising cells. I think your second try has good chance of success. Make sure there is pollen and nectar flow, or supplement both, even if there is a flow. Good luck and keep us posted!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    I too just grafted queens for the first time. I'll find out tomorrow how well I did. I only grafted 12 for my first attempt. I think I grafted well, I think I had enough young bees in the starter ..I think I probably did it all wrong. LOL. I'll find out.

    Keep us up to date will ya ..I'm quite curious as to how well you did!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    Was able to check today and move to the finisher hive. I seem to have gotten 8 or 9 out of 12 accepted by the bees. I'm very pleased with my first attempt.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    Well that is great rniles,
    My attempt failed terribly. There were multiple problems with it though. To start off I had laying workers in the cell builder hive. I thought that by shaking ALL the bees out and adding a frame of brood I would have stopped the laying worker. It seems the bees do not read our books and some how laying workers made it back to the hive. When I checked up on the grafts they were all gone, except for the cells that the laying worker / workers felt inclined to lay a buck shot pattern of eggs in there for me. Kind of a slap in the face I think.
    Well since I did plan for failure I went back to the hive I want queens from and grafted another 30 larva and placed then in a cell builder that had been queenless for 2 days. I took down all of their queen cells and gave them the grafts. I hope I got it right this time as I am looking forward to having my own queens. I will add pictures tomorrow if I do not have to do another 24 hour shift by getting called in.
    Wish me luck as I really want this to work.
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    I kinda figure the first time is going to be the most difficult ..just such a weird concept, grafting queens. Pack your cell builder with tons of nurse bees! From what I understand, you don't want any brood in your cell builder. Capped or uncapped. Your larvae should be the only thing they have to think about and work on.

    Tomorrow I find out how well I really did ...any that made it should be capped, the true sign of acceptance.

    Good luck! Success or fail, we'll keep trying!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Saguache,Colorado,usa
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    I built a heated nuc box with a lunch box heater from a truck stop. the warming plate I placed wet towel on. This kept the frames of brood warm and a moist until I was ready to graft from them. I would select several frames, put them in the nuc box, pull one graft 5 or 6 larvae then put it back in a pick a new one. I Know Humidity might be high their so that may not be your problem but keep in mind the brood must stay close to 94 degrees and moist. Hope this helps

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    Well the moment I open my big fat mouth, I find something to contradict me. This person says he has good success introducing eggs/just hatched larvae into the cell starter:

    http://doorgarden.com/11/simple-hone...-for-beginners

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    Well I went and took a peak at the girls today. They have drawn out only 5 of the 30. I guess it is a start and better than a poke in the eye.
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,409

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    Don't give up!!!! Last year was my first attempt and I had 2 out of 10 get capped and hatch. I tried again during the summer and couldn't get another attempt to take at all!!!

    After taking to people and seeing stuff on here and youtube, I found what I was doing wrong!!

    Make sure you do not have a queen in your starter, this includes laying workers.

    Make sure you put two frames of mostly capped brood into the nuc with adhering nurse bees (I use a double decker 5 fame deep nuc, frames in the top and nothing in the bottom). Take more frames of nurse bees minus the queen, and shake them into the starter hive. You want a packed house, and I mean bees covering all frames and boiling out of the hive!!! The more the merrier!!!

    I put the brood frames on the outside nearest the walls of the box. Then put two frames of open nectar/pollen in and place the grafting frame in the hive between the frames of food.

    The day I make up the starter I put a container with water and a sponge in the bottom deep nuc, this is for the bees to use to keep the hive cool and other duties the water is used for. I then place the brood frames in and shake another 4 frames of bees in atleast, again I want a packed house. Then I put the food frames in and then grafting frame with cups already placed so the bees can clean them up. I put the top back on with the entrance screened to prevent bees from leaving. In the shade the starter goes and I go to town and get something to eat or do other bee yard stuff. About 1/2 later I take out the grafting frame and bees should be festooning off the thing!!! I shake them/brush them off and go and graft the larva into them, and with each placement of a larva into the cup I pull a piece of wet shop towel over the cup to keep the larva hydrated which is VERY important!! After grafting I immediately put the frame back into the starter, add about 1/2 pound of pollen sub and let the bees do the rest!! I also take the starter home with me so I can observe it and keep it in the shade all day long in a spot in my back yard. After 24 hours I take the screen off the entrance and let the bees do what they want. After 48 hours I look to see what is being drawn out. I also look to make sure they pack the cell cup with royal jelly, I mean full!!! I also take the time to destroy any queen cells that may have been started on the brood frames.

    On the 5th day after grafting I look to see what is capped and what isn't just so I have an idea what to prepare for!! This year I did two grafting sessions, graft one I did 20 cells with 16 going the distance. This time I did 26 with 19 going the distance. Not exceptional numbers, but I am starting to get the hang of things!! And I do my grafting right on the tailgate of my truck in the bee yard with no magnification, although I plan to purchase a jewelers hood for next year.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    I may not bee adding enough bees then. I am using a 10 frame deep and there 8 frames of bees easily. I did not add pollen sub and I am seeing a lot of SHB. I guess I could make a small amount and give it to the next cell builder I make up. Thanks for all the feed back and support. It is a bummer to do this work and it not work. Live, learn, and practice. And just when you think you got it, practice some more.
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,409

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    If you have instagram, check out CoyoteCreekBees and see the video clip if the cell starter i use. I got the idea from a couple beesource members, i believe they are Joseph Clemens and David Laferny? Works great and its a starter/finisher combo.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    Don't give up! Think about the entire process from setting up a starter hive, selecting a donor hive, grafting, setting up finisher, setting up mating nucs. Think of what you did after each time you do it and write a memo to yourself on what you learned from the experience. People can tell you how they do it, but you will need to learn how to do it for yourself and what works for best for you. For me I thought the hard part was going to be grafting, but the grafting process is pretty quick, and I know that I will get better each time I do it. I can make the biggest gains in time savings in setting up the starter hive.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    You are correct Shannon,
    I too thought that grafting was going to be the hardest part but once I was able to recognize the right age larva it was pretty easy. I did try and try to find some one near me that could show me how they do it but I was not able to find any one with in 1 1/2 hour drive. So I finally gave up and figured the only way I was going to learn was to do it my self. I did attempt to graft last year it seemed to work like a charm, except my bee math was off and some one hatched earlier and killed all the other cells. This year I have tried twice and the first one I did not expect to work as it was a laying worker hive. So my second attempt this year I did expect to work but I am disappointed that only 5 of the 30 are being drawn out. It is better than nothing and I am still excited to see what happens with these cells.

    I will be grafting again on Monday and will do another 30 cells and I hope that it does get better as I am tired of buying queens that do not make it or do not get accepted. Since I do many bee removals each year I would like to have a surplus of queens that are nice to requeen those cut out hives.

    BeeGhost,
    I do have instagram but do not know how to search. I guess I will have to ask my 12 y/o when she gets home.

    Thank all of y'all for the suggestions and support

    Jason
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    Are you dry grafting? If so try grafting fewer cells. It could be they are getting dried out.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    I am doing dry grafting. Looking for info on "wet" grafting now. Maybe this will work better?
    When I transferred the larva to the cell cups I immediately covered them with a damp towel to try to keep them from drying out.
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    I took a class and they taught wet grafting, but you need royal jelly for wet grafts. So going forward I'm going to collect queen cells for royal jelly if I come across them. I've talked to some commercial guys and they dry graft. I do know that if you wet graft the bees will immediately replace the royal jelly water mixture with royal jelly. But how long does it take for them to do this? It could be that you are doing great on your grafts but the bees are not fast enough getting them more jelly. Next time try a single bar or 10 or so. If the problem is them drying out it should be corrected by spending less time.

    I think the easy way to see the right age brood is to look for the stuff next to eggs. Take the ones nearest to the eggs. They will be small and the correct age.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    BeeGhost,
    I was able to have my daughter find you on instagram.
    An update on the cells that were accepted and drawn out. Well something came up and I had to go out of town. I could not move the cells as it was the " no touch phase" and the cells were set to hatch the day I came back home. Well I came home and went to sleep as I had been awake for 24 hours. After a brief nap I figured I would go check the cells. As expected all the cells were torn down. So on a positive note I did successfully raise a queen, on the not so bright note, my other potential queens were murdered...
    I am going to give it a go tomorrow.
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: My attmept at grafting

    Well I had the same problem except I was supposed to be right on schedule. I opened up the finisher and found three capped cells had already hatched. One of those probably chews through at the side. And three cells were not open yet.

    Great, now I got virgins running around - hope they can't get through the queen excluder as I couldn't find them.

    I'll be making one more attempt this year.

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