Easy cell builder help
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  1. #1
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    Default Easy cell builder help

    I'm finally going to try and raise a few queens this year and still trying to get a good handle on it , I kind of wanted to do it without bothering my production hives to much and have decided on cell punching to get started I've done a tiny bit of grafting and found it kind of tedious and my eyes aren't as young as they use to be . I guess my first hurdle is the cell builder , can i use a queen-right production hive for my cell builder and put my cell frame above a queen excluder or do i have to make it queenless , when the queens are close to emerging I'd like to move them to mating nucs and then use the new mated queens in my hives .

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Have you thought about the Cloake board method. Your existing two box colony is cell starter and finisher if you wish. You can use the colony's own eggs or bring in your punched cells from an another colony. You can use an excluder and a piece of flashing for the only equipment you need.

    It doesn't stop the queen from laying and can be managed even if you have supers on.
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    Frank

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    The cloake board sounds like it has a pretty minimal affect to the queen right production hive which i like and when i transfer my cells out to the mating nucs the hive can go back to the way it was not much harm done .I will read more about cloake boards and see if i can get a good understanding of them and see about making one . Is there any other simple way to make a cell builder without more equipment

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    FWIW - you don't actually need to build a Cloake Board to try out the Cloake Board method. It's possible to approximate the method by the use of a sheet of thick plastic (or something similar) and a shim with an entrance cut into one side.

    So - you arrange your boxes as you would for a normal Cloake Board operation, but use a QX rather than the Cloake Board. When it comes time to insert the slide to create queenless conditions within the upper box, simply lift off that box and place the sheet of plastic over the QX to close it off, with the shim placed over that. Then replace the top box containing the target larva. After 24-36 hrs, remove both the plastic and the shim.

    This is nowhere as convenient as using a pukka Cloake Board, but is one way of trying out the method without making anything (other than a shim if you don't already have one handy).
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Rearing Queens in Oueenright Colonies.

    "The author prefers to rear queens in a queenright colony, since it is not so difficult to maintain normal conditions over a long period of time, and the bees are not so sensitive to fluctuations in weather conditions or honeyflow. It is not always possible to make a success with the first batch of cells given by this plan, but once accepted the same colony can be kept busy rearing cells for weeks, or even all summer if desired."

    "One plan which is followed by successful breeders is to select a strong colony for cell building. Remove the cover, and put a queen excluder in its place. Then take enough frames of brood from several different colonies to fill a second brood-chamber above the excluder, leaving one vacant space. Care must be used to make sure that no queen is on the frames placed in the second story. The vacant space is left as near the center of the colony as possible, and a few hours later a frame of prepared cells is placed there, feeding the bees with syrup from the sprinkling can at the time the cells are given. If this first batch of cells is not readily accepted try again the following day. After four days a second batch can be given, and a new batch every four days thereafter. By this plan the cells are left with the colony until ready to be given to the nuclei. It only becomes necessary to add two or three frames of sealed brood every week to provide the colony with plenty of young bees for nurses, to continue cell building indefinitely. About ten to fifteen sealed cells can be secured from a single colony every four days by this plan. If a heavy honeyflow comes on, it may become necessary to add supers between the brood nest below and the cell-building chamber above, since the old queen continues to lay in normal manner below the excluder. By this method the cell-building colony will give a crop of honey as well as queens. The addition of so much brood from other colonies will keep the cell-building colony very strong throughout the season. Of course, frames of honey must be removed from time to time as frames of brood are given, and, during a good flow, it may become necessary to remove frames of honey quite often to prevent crowding in the cell-building chamber."--Frank Pellett, Practical Queen Rearing, 1918

    Here's a link to a similar setup - a bit more detailed:
    http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/downl...ment.cfm?id=36
    Last edited by little_john; 02-05-2020 at 03:00 AM. Reason: added link
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  7. #6
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Quote Originally Posted by laketrout View Post
    The cloake board sounds like it has a pretty minimal affect to the queen right production hive which i like and when i transfer my cells out to the mating nucs the hive can go back to the way it was not much harm done .I will read more about cloake boards and see if i can get a good understanding of them and see about making one . Is there any other simple way to make a cell builder without more equipment
    You can shake the queen into lower box before you place the excluder over it. As LJ mentions a sheet of tin, alum or plastic can serve as the blocking mechanism. I made up a crude one. To create the upper entrance, nothing is simpler than a couple of taper strips like what I use here.

    To crowd the upper box you have to trick the bees by closing their normal bottom entrance and they will move up to one you create with the taper strips. Drill a 3/4 hole in the rear of the bottom box for a temporary exit. Some instructions talk about rotating the box 180 degrees but that is work that would have to be done twice. The drilled hole and the taper strips is easier on the back. Also easier to return the colony to its original state when you pull the cells. Remember you can also mate one queen from the original hive too. Lots of options there.
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    Frank

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Little John, that’s about what I do with my cell building. Basically a takeoff on Brother Adam’s management, but with some changes. I use emerging brood when placing brood above the excluder. That’s what Adam did...according to David Kemp who worked with Adam from ‘64-‘74. Also, the brood remains above the excluder for 9 days so there are no larvae in the cell builder. I don’t want any larvae that take nursing resources away from the growing grafts. Grafting is done on day 10 after adding the brood. Adam harvested brood from production hives. I have dedicated nucleus colonies (brood factories) that provide the brood needed for boosting the cell builders.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    For easy, I like this vid.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z62UwOLfdMo
    46.91 N

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Frank, Thanks for the photos. I wasn't sure about the Cloake board. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Thanks for the different options guys , I will keep reading all the information and let you know how it goes , has anyone had good results with a queen right cell builder it sounds like it might take multiple trys to get them to accept the cells

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    I ran across the Ben Harden method of queen rearing with a queenright hive and it sounds easier than the cloake board and doesn't require any new equipment . Has anyone had any luck with this method . Here is a link https://theapiarist.org/ben-harden-method-setup/

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    OK see if i have this right , I wont be changing entrances any they will all use the regular bottom entrance bees in the cell builder will come down through the bee escape , just one box above excluder with pollen , honey , dummy bars and cell bar , with jar feeder above . not sure what to do with supers unless i put jar feeder above them maybe its best not to have supers so syrup doesn't get into honey .I'm surprised they accept the cells and build them out as there isnt any reason for them to like they would if they were queenless .Is this a cell builder and finisher all in one and i can wait until the cells are ready to hatch before moving to the mating nucs .

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    It is quite a few years ago that I tried putting an excluder between deeps to get cells started. That did not happen! Now vertically positioned cells like in the Case/Hopkins method or what you propose might be more of an inducement to cell starting. Personally I would add myself a bit of insurance by placing a layer of newspaper on top of the excluder before you place the cell bar frame. Maybe my doubt is not warranted: see what other response you get.

    The Snelgrove method has never failed to start cells every time I have used it, but its double screen board is one degree more isolation than a mere excluder.
    Frank

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Quote Originally Posted by laketrout View Post
    .I'm surprised they accept the cells and build them out as there isnt any reason for them to like they would if they were queenless .
    But there is a reason - it's the same one which causes supersedure cells to be started - a reduction in, but not an absence of, Queen pheromone. This pheromone reduction can be further increased (i.e. creating even less pheromone) by increasing the path length between the Queenright area and the target cells - for example by inserting one or more boxes between the QX and the target cells.

    This is the underlying principle of the Rose Method of queen-rearing, which maintains the presence of some pheromone (but not much) during what would be the queenless 24hrs of the Cloake Board method (that is, when the slide is inserted) by creating a extended path length between the queenright chamber and the target cells.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Two years ago I was late putting the excluder in one of my hives and I was nadering a super, not realizing the queen had just laid eggs in the bottom cells of the super I was moving up. Got several real nice queen cells accidentally. One of the reasons I now keep deep AND medium 5-frame boxes.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    What would be the variables that make it sometimes not work unless separated by more than one box? This has been kicked around before, I think.
    Frank

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    I appreciate all of the info I never knew there were so many ways of raising queens , when I research one method another is mentioned and on and on it goes and I have learned alot . A lot of these methods I had heard of but didnt know what they were so good to understand them now .

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    A way I have done several times is simple and works well.
    A two box hive, move frames of eggs/youngest larva with frames of pollen and nectar into the top box after shaking all the bees off into the bottom box. Place top box back on over an excluder. Make sure there is an entrance into the top box over the excluder, this can be done by placing a pencil under the front edge of the top box over the excluder. The eggs/young larva and frames of pollen attract youngest nurse bees up into the top box. The entrance makes it a hive of it's own right, granted with a queen below, but it works.

    If the hive is especially crowded or a strong flow is on, place a box of combs or foundation over the bottom box under the excluder. This gives distance and room for bottom box hive to store without invading the box you have above excluder.

    The bees then build cells in the top box. 9-10 days later I cut out cells and put in mating nucs or use to requeen other hives.

    This system can be modified to fit your goals/needs, such as grafting instead of doing cut cells. Just remove the started queen cells after 7 days and insert your frame of grafts.

    This system can also be used to harvest frames of brood and stores from above the excluder for making up nucs with or boosting other hives or nucs.

    You could also remove the bottom box after cells were removed from top box after a week, to a new stand. Place the top box down in place. This gives you a queenless cell starter/builder.

    Like I say, a few modifications can be done depending on your goals/needs.
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  20. #19
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    Ray im sure your method would work great but my mind is spinning from all of the different queen rearing methods I've read about and im just going to settle on the ben harden method and give it try , also i want to give the cell punching and give grafting another try .

    Ray when the queen lays a egg how long is it until the bees put royal jelly in the cell is it fed royal jelly in the egg stage or not until day 4 when it becomes a larvae I've read that I should look for a 4 day old larvae when grafting and i know i can't graft a larvae with out royal jelly . When I did a quick class on grafting they had royal jelly on hand to add to the cell is this necessary , thanks

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Easy cell builder help

    LakeTrout...
    There are many methods to raise queen cells, and I think it depends on your goals and location and management style to determine which one works best for you. Just be sure to have fun with it all, I think it's the most interesting part of all the parts of beekeeping to undertake.

    OK, now I've not used an observation hive and I've not pulled out my grafted frame enough to know just exactly when the egg turns into a larva and they start giving the royal jelly. I believe it's at the end of the three day period, but I may be wrong by and hour or a few hours. Anyway, I figure egg for three days, and at the end of 3 days it turns into a larva and they start giving royal jelly at that time.

    You do not want a 4 day old larva, you want a 1 day old larva. I have been taught in the past not to graft a larva that was younger than 12 hours, and anytime within the first 12 to 48 hours of age was good. I myself like the 12-36 hour larva. They have enough royal jelly to graft them more easily at the 24-36hr mark, and the queens turn out very nice. Now, that's age of larva, not the age of the time it was an egg and larva both added together. I'm just clarifying timing here to be sure.

    No, it is not necessary to add royal jelly to the graft as you do it. It helps greatly if you feed the queen mother colony a day or two before grafting, as that helps insure a good amount of royal jelly surrounding the larva you need to graft. I've used the chinese grafting tool and like it because it picks up the royal jelly with the larva as you are grafting it and deposits it into your cell cups as you graft. That's very nice feature of using the chinese tool. Now, I've read that the nurse bees will remove any royal jelly you've added to the graft anyway and start with fresh, but the reason I like the royal jelly with the graft is it makes it much easier to pick up and then release the larva into the new cell cup. The larva will flow with the jelly. The royal jelly as you graft also helps keep the larva moist while you are doing the grafting which is very important.

    Hope all this helps and best of luck to your adventures this year.
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