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  1. #61
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    Nov 2009
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    Middlebury, Vermont
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    2,179

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

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

    I used this method, written by David, and I really like it for smaller numbers. A well-presented how-to that I'm thankful to have bookmarked as a resource.

    Adam

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    3,797

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    I used to do it exactly like this and never could get those impressively large cells that everyone likes to show off - Until Ray Marler suggested putting a frame of open brood in the space where the cell bar will go. It gets them really primed to do their thing apparently. I've played with it some since then and now I put a good bit of open brood in when I make up the starter/finisher and just make sure there are lots of bees and lots of food.

    The thing is you don't really need those giant sized cells - great queens can come out of completely average cells. They do look good in pictures though.
    Agree!

    I suggested not inculding open brood just to keep it simple and reduce the chance of rouge cells for the beginner. But yes to get those picture perfect cells, open brood is very helpful. Actually, I utilize a variant of this very often. What I do is to place the frame I plan to graft from into the cell starter for 1 day with a feeder and a pollen patty. This frame has lots of eggs and 1 day old larvae. This helps in 2 ways. It gets the nurse bees primed to make RJ, and gets the larvae very nicely filled with RJ, making grafting much easier. I pull the frame, graft and place the cell bar back in the same slot. Nurse bees jump on the graft and typically make beautiful cells. A strongly stocked 5 frame nuc with feeding (sugar water and pollen) can easily make 12-15 VERY nice cells per round. Anything beyond 15 cells is really pushing their capacity.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  3. #63
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,610

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    If that frame of open brood comes from your "breeder" queen colony, you have the best of both worlds. "Rogue cells" may be utilized instead of destroyed, should you choose to...
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    5,196

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Agree!

    I suggested not inculding open brood just to keep it simple and reduce the chance of rouge cells for the beginner. But yes to get those picture perfect cells, open brood is very helpful. Actually, I utilize a variant of this very often. What I do is to place the frame I plan to graft from into the cell starter for 1 day with a feeder and a pollen patty. This frame has lots of eggs and 1 day old larvae. This helps in 2 ways. It gets the nurse bees primed to make RJ, and gets the larvae very nicely filled with RJ, making grafting much easier. I pull the frame, graft and place the cell bar back in the same slot. Nurse bees jump on the graft and typically make beautiful cells. A strongly stocked 5 frame nuc with feeding (sugar water and pollen) can easily make 12-15 VERY nice cells per round. Anything beyond 15 cells is really pushing their capacity.
    That is a good plan!
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    5,196

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    http://doorgarden.com/11/simple-hone...-for-beginners

    I used this method, written by David, and I really like it for smaller numbers. A well-presented how-to that I'm thankful to have bookmarked as a resource.

    Adam
    Thanks Adam. It's been almost 4 years since I started writing that article and I've tried other methods - but that is still how I raise my few queens, and how I teach other people to do it. It's just hard to beat for a simple method that works for the hobbyist with a dozen (or 3 dozen) hives who needs a few homegrown queens.

    My next choice would be some variation of the Cloake method, but even that is considerably less simple - especially if you want to do several small batches of queens.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Amador County, CA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Thanks Adam. It's been almost 4 years since I started writing that article and I've tried other methods - but that is still how I raise my few queens, and how I teach other people to do it. It's just hard to beat for a simple method that works for the hobbyist with a dozen (or 3 dozen) hives who needs a few homegrown queens.

    My next choice would be some variation of the Cloake method, but even that is considerably less simple - especially if you want to do several small batches of queens.
    David,

    This is my second year at trying to be a beekeeper. I am raising my own queens now for increase. I tried the Cloake board method and had mediocre results. I read your article on the five frame nuc (cell builder) with open brood 4 days before grafting. Wow! What a difference. Monster cells and monster queens right off the get-go. I pulled the frame of open brood which had started queen cells. I destroyed the queen cells and harvested the RJ using it to prime my cells for grafting. I checked one of my new hives yesterday; the queen started from this method is tremendous. Thanks for all that you do!

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    5,196

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by McCoslin View Post
    David,

    This is my second year at trying to be a beekeeper. I am raising my own queens now for increase. I tried the Cloake board method and had mediocre results. I read your article on the five frame nuc (cell builder) with open brood 4 days before grafting. Wow! What a difference. Monster cells and monster queens right off the get-go. I pulled the frame of open brood which had started queen cells. I destroyed the queen cells and harvested the RJ using it to prime my cells for grafting. I checked one of my new hives yesterday; the queen started from this method is tremendous. Thanks for all that you do!
    Wow. Thanks. I'm glad you found it helpful.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    5,196

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    What I do is to place the frame I plan to graft from into the cell starter for 1 day with a feeder and a pollen patty. This frame has lots of eggs and 1 day old larvae. This helps in 2 ways. It gets the nurse bees primed to make RJ, and gets the larvae very nicely filled with RJ, making grafting much easier. I pull the frame, graft and place the cell bar back in the same slot.
    I just grafted from a frame using this tip today, and it works exactly as you say. I'll add this advantage to it - you don't have to waste any time on grafting day looking for material to use. You only open the cell builder, do any prep and there you have your grafting stock all primed and ready. Good tip - I'll do that every time from now on.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    7,754

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    excellent tip ab, and thanks for the confirmation david, can't wait to try it. did you place an empty frame of brood comb in the hive you wanted to graft from a day or so before moving it to the starter? do either of you move the grafts to a finisher hive?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    5,196

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    I do put a frame of empty comb in the brood nest sometimes, but in this case I didn't.

    The queenless starter/finisher is pretty reliable and works for the number of cells that I usually want to do in a batch. And it's less work, so that is what I do. But the real beauty of it is that you can keep it going for weeks and graft some more cells or just use it to start cells on frames of brood to make splits with. And when you are finished just let it make a queen.

    It's like a little box full of beekeeping fun.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  11. #71
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,610

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    David - nice article - it does sound like the easiest way to get a few ( or a few dozen) nice queens. I've always used some variation of Cloake, and it is a little more involved.

    I'm a bit confused with one paragraph in your article (The Joseph Clemens Starter/Finisher System), which begins with

    "You can use this system over and over throughout the season without having to repopulate the starter/finisher hives..."

    and ends with

    "...because you give it fresh brood about once a week none of those problems crop up – it just gets really strong and stays that way all season long."

    I don't see this as much of an obstacle, or difficult - I just keep re-reading it to see if I'm missing something...?
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    5,196

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    It's pretty straightforward - every week you inspect it, remove queen cells, and replace frames where the brood has mostly emerged with new brood frames which have at least some open brood on them. You can do this with very few hives and not stress any of them much at all.

    As long as you don't let a queen hatch out and you give it plenty of fresh brood on a regular basis you can keep using it as a cell starter/finisher all season long without ever rebuilding it from scratch. If you want to take a break from grafting you can just let it build big beautiful cells on the brood frames and use them to start nucs with.

    When you do finish with it just let it make a queen or break it up into mating nucs for your last batch.

    Of course if you get a hot dry dearth in July and August it will get more challenging to keep them motivated - all things have a season, and high summer isn't really it for queen rearing - but still if you do your part they pretty much will too.

    BTW, just in case anyone is wondering when to start this kind of endeavor - it's Now in mid TN. It don't get much better than this.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    3,797

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    I just grafted from a frame using this tip today, and it works exactly as you say. I'll add this advantage to it - you don't have to waste any time on grafting day looking for material to use. You only open the cell builder, do any prep and there you have your grafting stock all primed and ready. Good tip - I'll do that every time from now on.

    Thanks for the follow-up and the review. Glad it worked out!
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Romania, Sibiu
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    I think the best thing is to first understand the principles then you can easily choose what you like best. I personally prefer Michael Palmer's method because it's straight forward, but I've also used swarm or superseedure cells. Just make sure you have enough gear around.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Central CA.
    Posts
    845

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by cristianNiculae View Post
    I think the best thing is to first understand the principles then you can easily choose what you like best. I personally prefer Michael Palmer's method because it's straight forward, but I've also used swarm or superseedure cells. Just make sure you have enough gear around.

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Do you ever really understand anything before you do it?
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Romania, Sibiu
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    369

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Good point.

    Most of the times principles come afterwards but the bagage of information helps with practice.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Central CA.
    Posts
    845

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Do you ever really understand anything before you do it?
    The principles, yes, everything, no.

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Red Deer, Alberta
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    What's the best ratio of feed? 1:1 Plus pollen patty? Or do you go a little thicker on the sugar? How often do you rewet the sponge? Every day?
    Near Red Deer,AB.

  20. #80

    Default Re: Easiest type of cell builder for a beginner

    Hey Folks,
    I am getting ready to execute said plan and I have a few questions.
    - I am going to Demaree a hive that tried to swarm last year and at that point put in the black plastic drawn foundation for the eggs. I am going to use the cells they create above the demaree for royal jelly to prime the cells if the timing works out.
    - three days later I am going to set up the 10 frame medium box as stated in the thread and I am going to move the egg frame to the box.
    - The next morning I am going to pull the eggs and graft Do I have to make the box eggless, packed with bees for a few hours or can I pull the frame, graft, and put it back in right away?
    - 2 days later I am going to move the box to the top of a hive. Do I want to use a strong or weak hive? I have heard both. Do I have to have a box between the queen excluder and the grafting box? That would confine the queen to the bottom, should I use my Demaree hive or will they swarm?
    -
    7 days later I am going to make the mating nucs out of medium nucs split in half. They will on have two frames Do I put a frame of honey and a frame of brood and walk away? Do I need to feed them?
    Thanks you all. This is a lot to keep straight and this has been a very helpful thread! MD
    6 years-8 hives-T
    brooklyn-queen.com

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