For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Springfield, IL
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    29

    Default For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    We are using the Michael Palmer cell building method. This is day 1 grafting:

    QR bottom deep moved 10 ft from queenless cell builder.

    We went through all the frames in the queenless hive and placed cells.

    Day 5 we are making cell builder queen right...

    and cell builder has the original queen, cells were still uncapped and safe!!!... and yes, we went to where she is supposed to be... and she isn't there, however there were a bunch of swarm cells on the frames!? Checked our notes... verified she was marked and in QR bottom deep 10ft away, is she tryin to get the girls from the cell builder to fly away?!?

    So my question is....

    has anyone using the MP cell builder ever had the queen fly back from her QR bottom deep leaving frames with queen cells in the QR bottom deep? Been using this method now for last 3 years. I have lost cell builders to virgin queens, stupidity, and failure to follow MP's rules of putting the bees where they need to be, but first time I have seen the queen fly back to her original hive... crazy.

    Andy
    Last edited by Bee_Engineer; 05-31-2019 at 09:37 AM. Reason: day 1 not day 10, sorry

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Springfield, IL
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    Gonna start clippin those wings!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    You can put a queen excluder between the first box and the bottom board. Mike says in one of his videos that he does not do this but it is a good idea to prevent a wayward queen from entering the cell builder.

    Alex

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,073

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    Did you shake bees from q+ to cell builder? Could she have been transferred as well?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Springfield, IL
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    29

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Did you shake bees from q+ to cell builder? Could she have been transferred as well?

    Forgot to mention that part... NO SHAKE!!! we literally transferred the bottom box over. We left it alone.

    yeah... my mind is blown right now. that being said... there is one problem, we were huntin through the notes. We never did check for eggs/queen. We just delivered the box over to its new spot and continued with cell builder...

    which means, it is possible the queen was on the outside of the hive body in the beard, we don't run excluders on front of hive...

    Makes WAAAAY more sense. uggggggh

    takes were down by 50% so I thought it was the beer. now we think we know better till the next time the bees learn us.

    andy

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee_Engineer View Post
    Forgot to mention that part... NO SHAKE!!! we literally transferred the bottom box over. We left it alone.

    yeah... my mind is blown right now. that being said... there is one problem, we were huntin through the notes. We never did check for eggs/queen. We just delivered the box over to its new spot and continued with cell builder...

    which means, it is possible the queen was on the outside of the hive body in the beard, we don't run excluders on front of hive...

    Makes WAAAAY more sense. uggggggh

    takes were down by 50% so I thought it was the beer. now we think we know better till the next time the bees learn us.

    andy
    crap i did the same thing when i separated the mother colony from the CB.
    I just assumed she was still in the bottom deep. I got away with it and all went fine but your experience means i will double check she is down there next time!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    8,073

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    Quote Originally Posted by aran View Post
    I got away with it and all went fine but your experience means i will double check she is down there next time!
    This is why I use an excluder when shaking bees from the Q+ part into the Q- cell builder. You don't have to actually see the queen, just watch in the shaker box and if she's there put her back into the Q+. Rule...Never add bees to the cell builder without shaking them through an excluder.

    Bee Engineer...Why was there a beard on the cell builder? Wasn't it located above an excluder and at the top of the hive?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Springfield, IL
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    This is why I use an excluder when shaking bees from the Q+ part into the Q- cell builder. You don't have to actually see the queen, just watch in the shaker box and if she's there put her back into the Q+. Rule...Never add bees to the cell builder without shaking them through an excluder.

    Bee Engineer...Why was there a beard on the cell builder? Wasn't it located above an excluder and at the top of the hive?

    The cell builder was located above a plastic QE on top of the queen right hive body - there are a gazillion bees, that is why they are bearding at the QR hive body/landing board - also this hive was caught in the process of swarming, had some wet cells. We know the queen was in the bottom, we found and marked her. Added brood frames to top, no need to add bees, this hive is so strong, and nights were above 60F so we didn't bother addin bees, we shook off every frame prior to adding. Waited ten days. Day one, grafting day.... we had fronts rollin in and the bees were pissy. And had solid bearding off the front. It was 7pm, hot and humid. The cell builder is still QR under the QE. We just moved the QR hive body to a new bottom board about 15ft away. Went through the 10 frames huntin for cells in queenless section dropped onto the bottom board, all good.

    Because the hive was so strong, because it was late, because we were being lazy... i said let's skip shakin nurse bees into the cell builder, there are plenty of bees in there - it was insane so many bees, and I didn't feel like fighting. So we did not shake a single nurse bee into the queenless cell builder through the shaker box. This is not the first time I have skipped this step, never had a problem with a hive this strong. Also, I have returned the following day to shake more bees in if I run outta daylight.

    Checked takes 2 days later, and surprised to see only 20 cells. Takes were 1/2 of what we normally get. We run 64 grafts, only had 20 takes, normally 40-50 in colder weather, and at this time of year really shoulda been 50+/64. I thought maybe it was too much beer. So... we make the cell builder into a finisher day 5. We decided to add a hive body of drawn comb to help with the congestion and while manipulating the cell builder we found the queen. We checked the QR hive where we "put" her... and yep, it was definitely her. Even marked her with an off color.

    So what I think occurred...

    Queen never left with the hive body, I think she was in the beard on the landing board.

    During manipulation I must have dropped her into cell builder.

    Queen left the QR hive body/hive and flew/crawled back to her hive.

    First time I have encountered a scenario like this. This method is so solid and hammerhead proof, that I basically never encounter problems that I can't attribute to something I did.

    Love everything you do Mr.Palmer. Our entire club owes you our gratitude. We have about 120ish beekeepers(only about 10 of us strong enough to utilize your methods) but between us, we run cell builders throughout the spring/early summer to replenish queens for not only our club(and new beeks with failing package queens), but apparently the entire area is taking advantage of local queen cells(we don't use breeder queens, we use overwintered production colonies... untreated). We encourage the MP nuc creation and were fortunate enough to have a fellow beek be able to craft them with his shop and lotsa volunteers! You still doing your demonstrations in the winter in person? I know for a fact the Illinois State Beekeepers Association has been tryin to book you, but unlike them, our affiliated club(PrairieStateBK) is all in on your principles, and we are literally redefining the paradigm of queen availability and apiary sustainability and pissin off a whole lotta local breeders! Lemme know if you are open to this.

    Andy

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    435

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    Only takes 1 piece of bur comb to open up a plastic excluder enough for queen to slip thru. This may be the one time out of a hundred it happened.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,730

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    I once had a marked queen fly about 6 to 8 feet back to her colony from a 5 frame nuc I had placed her in.

    I had found 1 or 2 day old larvae in swarm cells so I was splitting the colony into 3 frame nucs. I found the queen and removed her with a frame of brood and some food frames and placed her nuc in front of and to the side of the colony while I continued making splits. I had finished with the upper box and was starting on the bottom box when I found the marked queen again. It made me start sealing entrances and put on inner covers when I have a fresh split with a queen in it.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,418

    Default Re: For the Michael Palmer cell builders, crazy scenario!

    Same thing happened to me this year. The frame with the queen was the first to go into the nuc box which was sitting beside the parent hive at the time. After I finished pulling the rest of the frames, the nuc was moved across the apiary, about 30'. Imagine my surprise when I opened the nuc a week later to find queen cells and my queen back in the parent hive.
    I think she walked back while they were next to each other based on ages of larvae in the nuc.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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