I separated out a cell builder last Thursday afternoon. I did a Taranov split, but put some of the non-flying bees back. I ran out of daylight then the weather turned bad for the weekend, so I didn't get a graft frame in. I hadn't pulled the brood yet, but it was all from the queen I would graft so I figured I would use whatever cells they created this first round.
Well, I checked them last night. Out of at least 10 frames with rings of eggs/larva they pulled exactly 1 queen cell. There were still 1 day old larva, so maybe they will do another.
1. I wanted non-swarmy bees and I choose well.
2. They didn't have enough bees of the right age
3. There was too much open brood and they thought more weak queen supersede, than no queen.
Hopefully the weather cooperates on Saturday AM so I can drop in a graft frame. There should be a lot of new week old nurse bees by then.
I'm watching this thread closely. My ag zone is similar and I was planning on doing my first graft in two weeks. Maybe I should wait until April.
Is a cell starter made up the same as the queenless part of a cut down split? That is what I was planning to use.
Keith- Since 2013 - treatment agnostic - 3 hives - Zone 7a - Central Virginia
I suspect you will do much better next week when you remove all cells and put in another round of grafts. Great that you are feeding syrup now as I agree with others it's probably a bit early for good nectar flows. Spring pollen flows usually come first before the nectar flows. I'm assuming you have a good amount of pollen left in the builder still, and they are actively bringing it in now, so probably OK not to worry about boosting it again.
Now you have new worries for next week...
Having enough resources for making up the needed amount of mating nucs
Having enough drones in the area for mating the amount of virgins you'll have all at one time.
Best of luck in this early season Nordak!
Hope the weather holds good for you.
Drones-check. Resources for mating nucs-check. Weather-I hope so. Looks decent. This time's going to be a winner, I can feel it. Can't be much worse.
Thanks for all your help, Ray. I'm looking forward to following your progress this year and glad the rains have subsided. I know it's a welcome relief for you and the bees.
Season 5. TF.
Alright, so the new game plan is I'm going to carefully move the comb with e-cells to a mating nuc with stores and some added shakes of bees to let them finish them so I can get on with the grafting. I'm going to scrap my first attempts as I'm not thoroughly impressed with the results and don't want to waste resources on subpar queens. It seems the bees put their efforts into making their own cells which are much more impressive. Tentative date is for tomorrow, possibly Thursday. I'll keep updating. At the very least, I'm getting better at grafting through practice.
Again, thanks to all the posters who have given their insight along the way and to those who have shared their own cell starter issues.
Season 5. TF.
Good luck. Wow!! 1:45 am. You win. I finished checking my hives for strength and seeing if they needed fed and was in before midnight. I thought I put in late hours.
Alright, so I moved the started cells to their own mating nuc as planned and inserted more grafts yesterday. Checked just now, and it looks like 8/13 were accepted. Not the 10 I was shooting for, but given previous results, I'm pretty pleased with it. Whether they will finish all 8 is another matter.