Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.
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  1. #1
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    Default Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    I noticed on today's inspection that there are still a lot of drones around and quite a bit of capped drone brood in multiple hives. I think that's because we had a late start to summer. The weatherman said this autumn will be warmer than normal so for better or worse I put together another rich cell starter today. I wasn't going to have time to graft tomorrow, so the cell starter was only about three hours old when I inserted the grafts. I hope that's OK. I grafted 14 cups. Well see how it goes. I tried the JZ-BZ grafting tool for the first time. I think it worked better for me than the Chinese grafting tools. We'll see on Tuesday when I get to take my first look. Historically I suck at grafting with about 10% acceptance rate. I'll be happy if I can improve that. Extra practice if nothing else.
    Zone 6B

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Enfield,Ct.
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Your last line says it all!!

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Grimshaw View Post
    Your last line says it all!!
    I need it. I first tried grafting in 2015. The bees in my apairay still whisper rumors of the year of carnage. I gave up and tried Oldtimer's cut strip method in 2016. I tried grafting again in 2017. Since then I've gotten better at causing less carnage in the brood nest, but my kill to graft ratio is about 1:1. This is my third graft this year, each graft was 14 cups. First graft yielded one cell. Last graft yielded three cells which will be emerging in a couple of days. Fortunately I don't need a lot of queens, so I can get a few by grafting a lot. If I get three out of this graft I'll have all my nucs in use.
    Zone 6B

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,851

    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    I had promised myself that last week I made my last split. Well, Sunday I got into one of my stronger hives and found a whole bunch of drones and capped drone cells. And I can always use a few extra queens, so I made another split today with the intention of harvesting queen cells and getting a few mated queens out of the deal. I was suprised to see so many drone cells this late in the season, an indication of a late summer swarm prep? Going to give the mini mating nucs another try, maybe even try to overwinter one just to see how long they last. Temps today are in the high 90's. Apparently the bees do not know that fall is just around the corner.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 08-19-2019 at 09:10 PM.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    England, UK
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    I have few Q/C's currently in the pipeline which should be on mating flights the first week in September - if the weather holds. I'm not banking on these, but a few extras would be handy right now as I've discovered a couple of drone layers. Otherwise it'll be a case of combining ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Placed grafts last night, got a round caged and one being finished
    Still got plenty of drone brood, all the mating nucs are set up and runing and my cell builder is self sustaining(single box horizontal cloak) So I am going to just keep cranking till they come back drone layers or I see the drones being evicted.. its only costing me a bit of sugar and time to keep things running
    I need the practice and to try out a few widgets for next year

  8. #7
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    May 2014
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    Sedgwick Co. KS
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Okay, now you guys got me in the mood to try a late split to see if I can get a couple of new queens mated..

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    splits can cost you....
    a cup of bees in a foam mini (now on its 3rd round of queens) doesn't really

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    splits can cost you....
    a cup of bees in a foam mini (now on its 3rd round of queens) doesn't really
    I don't have a foam mini, but I do have a short three frame nuc box. It can't be too costly.

  11. #10
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    splits can cost you....
    a cup of bees in a foam mini (now on its 3rd round of queens) doesn't really
    Even a rich cell starter is costly. Fortunately I had a packed hive. I found the queen, set her aside, and shook in six frames and it still looked like I hadn't taken any out. So I waited a few minutes and while the frames filled back up and shook in some more. Its the richest cell starter I have ever set up so I'm going to go ahead and let it be the finisher and then bust it up for the mating nucs.

    I use Barnyard bees style two frame mating nucs. Those also aren't especially costly but that way I don't have to deal with what to do with mini-frames.
    Zone 6B

  12. #11
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    Williamsport, PA
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    I am 100% out of space or I would try some for fun as well. I need to make boxes for the last batch and don't have time. Making more bees would not be a good idea.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Update. Got my first look in the cell starter after work today. 3 of 14 accepted.

    So…

    I still suck at grafting and not getting better. I think I'm killing the larvae when I graft.

    As it is, it works out. I've got the three cells from the last round that will be going into three of my mini mating nucs on Thursday (emerging Firday). That leaves me with just one two frame mini mating nuc, a 5 frame nuc that is empty, and the cell starter nuc for eqipment for mating those queens when they emerge. And with that all my mating nucs and nucs are in use. So if I had any more I wouldn't be able to house them for mating.
    Zone 6B

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    Even a rich cell starter is costly.
    its only costly if you use it to finish and bust up , the bees can go back to their hive in 24 hours so you only barrow them for a bit, once started the cells can be finished in a queen right hive
    my starter/finisher/timing box exports bees so it pays the bee yard instead of costs
    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    I use Barnyard bees style two frame mating nucs. Those also aren't especially costly but that way I don't have to deal with what to do with mini-frames.
    2 frame Dcoats nuc.... and now a whole gen is saying "barnyard".....lol
    your looking at a spit ball 6,000 bees to stock a 2f nuc (60% layed frame of capped brood and cover bees) vs 600 for a foam mini.. there is nothing "to do" with the frames, hatch them out, shake them out. They are drawn in the spring by the 600 bees and a cup of syrup, and often cut out as its hard to stock the bees in them if the frames are drawn.

    I still suck at grafting and not getting better. I think I'm killing the larvae when I graft.
    many of the issues with grafting have to do with the builder try some cut strip cells to check.
    https://beesource.com/resources/elem...t-cell-method/

    I am not great, but getting much better. Repetition is the key so I found running a decated starter/finisher for the season to be help full. Poor take? move the cells to a queen right hive to finish, or place a single 2 day cell per 2f queen less nuc to raise, and re graft till you get a good take... the ability to graft 3x a week is very help full, turns that 3 in to 9 a week so you can get usfull numbers of cells while learning

  15. #14
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    Jul 2016
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    Dayton, TN
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    I still suck at grafting and not getting better. I think I'm killing the larvae when I graft.
    I used to have the same problem. I still may suck but I changed something this last time and got 29 of 43 acceptance. I watched Kamon's (Tennessee's Bees) youtube video on grafting where he used the RJ from queen cells that were started in the cell starter hive to prime the cups for grafting. It made grafting a lot easier and the grafted larva even looked a lot better in the cell cup floating in RJ.
    Andy

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Thanks Bronco. i'd be ecstatic for 67% acceptance instead of the 10% to 20% I'm at. I've seen that video. I've been following "Caveman" (see, I listen). I'll have to give it a try next spring. I think I'm killing them when I am extracting them from the cell, not when placing them. To graft 14 I probably extracted twice that many, but I could tell I killed the others when extracting them. I think I may be damaging the others and that I didn't realize it. Maybe its time to get a microscope.
    Zone 6B

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    many of the issues with grafting have to do with the builder try some cut strip cells to check.
    https://beesource.com/resources/elem...t-cell-method/
    Thanks for all that msl. I did try Oldtimer's cut strip method a couple of years back. I could certainly work for what I need. What I didn't care for was the need to first get some comb drawn, then sequester the queen to that one frame, and then cut and mount the strips with eggs in them. That turns out to be more work than just finding a frame with 1/2 day old larvae and grafting a bunch of it to cups, even if I have to graft a lot of cups to get what I needed. If I can get my acceptance rate up then I could do it with just one set up of a cell starter.
    Zone 6B

  18. #17
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    Aug 2014
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Tim KS: Okay, now you guys got me in the mood to try a late split to see if I can get a couple of new queens mated..

    msl : splits can cost you....
    a cup of bees in a foam mini (now on its 3rd round of queens) doesn't really
    With the above thoughts in mind I've been considering a new (for me) approach, as although the weather forecast for the first week in September is looking fairly good, I'm none too confident of success this late in the year.

    So - rather than locating mating nucs away from my main hives as usual, I'm now considering doing quite the reverse. I plan on pulling 3 appropriate frames of bees from a main hive, and replacing these with dummies. The mating-nuc box containing these frames will be placed on top of the main hive but with it's entrance facing in the opposite direction. Install the virgin ... and wait.

    Then, if that virgin doesn't 'get lucky', it's simply a case of breaking-down the mating-nuc, returning those frames to the main box from whence they came, and let the bees figure out the new entrance position. So - in the event of those failures which I'm anticipating, there should be minimal losses.

    What can go wrong ? LOL.

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Still have lots of drone brood so today I grafted.

    Update - On the 28th I moved the three cells into queen-less mating nucs. On Sep 1 I checked to make sure they had emerged. All three queen cells were empty so I removed the grafting cups. I left them alone until Sept 12. On that inspection I spotted the queen in one of the mating nucs. Today was my capped brood check. I have two frame sides of capped brood in the highest population nuc and about 1/4 frame of capped brood in anohter. There is a much smaller bee population in that nuc, I'm going to give it some nurse bees from another hive. There is no brood or eggs or visual spotting of a queen in the third mating nuc. I found and marked both queens. So I've got two September mated queens to try and get through the winter now. Resources will be a challenge.

    Pictures of one being released back into 2 frame mating nuc, the other on a crowded frame of bees, honey, and brood for the other nuc.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by JConnolly; 09-21-2019 at 01:50 AM.
    Zone 6B

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