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I've found that the 12" tall, ventilated, 6-frame nuc' box with a feeder inner cover is better at making queen cells than the 5-frame box. I also find that if I keep it to 16 queen cells, they tend to come out larger and with better take.
So KC... 6 frames from start. Are we looking at center slot for grafts (at day -10 what is in center slot foundation?)- Honey and pollen on each side of center grafts- and then three frames of capped brood on the outside....
 

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I set it up 10 days ahead of grafting (grafting is therefore on day 11, right) with one frame of pollen / honey and 5 of capped brood. If you can't find pollen and honey on the same frame, youcan put in one of each and only 4 frames of capped brood, but you should add another 2 scoops of nurse bees if you do.

4 days before grafting day, I put in the open brood - Ray Marler's trick to get the girls into nurse mode (feeding babies) - in the slot where the queen cell bar frame will go. The pollen goes right next to it.

The day before grafting, I place the queen cell cup frame in for "polishing". The bees always accept better if they have a day to prepare the queen cells to their own specifications.

On the morning of grafting day, I first take the super fresh pollen out of the freezer to thaw and fill the bucket with hot water, bringing it down to 95 degrees F. I then pull out the open brood and the queen cell frame from the Cell builder. I take the latter into the grafting tent, where I have set up the table, my chair, my 7X loupe, my flashlight, my grafting tools, my bucket of 95 degree F water, my spray bottle, and the net with which I capture the bees that somehow always get inside the tent.

I graft one bar, and go place it in the Cell Builder. Then I graft the next cell bar, then go add it to the queen cell frame in the Cell Builder.

Now I've removed 2 frames and replaced 1, so another frame of capped brood goes in, and I replace the pollen with the thawed-out, SUPER-FRESH POLLEN, which I've shaken into an open, empty comb.

Like Oldtimer, I find that 16 cells at one time usually gets the 100% acceptance, so I rarely even attempt 20 cells. Also, I find he's correct that a 6-frame nuc' is a bit better than a 5-framer.

Hope this helps :)
 

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Like Oldtimer, I find that 16 cells at one time usually gets the 100% acceptance, so I rarely even attempt 20 cells. Also, I find he's correct that a 6-frame nuc' is a bit better than a 5-framer.
Well,now... I have 5-frame boxes and 10-frame boxes and a couple of 8-framers. I could mimic a 6-frame box with fillers in either 8- or 10-framers, but is there anyone who knows that using an 8-frame box is beyond some production boundary? Should I expect 6- and 8-frame queenless boxes to be equivalent in QC generation? I'll probably try this fairly soon.

Michael
 

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Well,now... I have 5-frame boxes and 10-frame boxes and a couple of 8-framers. I could mimic a 6-frame box with fillers in either 8- or 10-framers, but is there anyone who knows that using an 8-frame box is beyond some production boundary? Should I expect 6- and 8-frame queenless boxes to be equivalent in QC generation? I'll probably try this fairly soon.

Michael
Box size is irrelevant. What is relavant is the amount of well fed (have eaten a lot of pollen) nurse bees (in relation to the amount of larvae given to them) and the mood of the bees. If they have experienced queenlessness they want to raise cells, but if the queenlessness has been going on too long (more than couple days) they most propably have own q-cells (very tiny!) coming, and therefore they are not interested in the larvae you try to offer.

If the queenlessness has been going on 10 days or more raising queens becomes impossible for at least two reasons: no nurse bees (there are no larvae to be fed, bees brood food glands are not in good shape any more) and maybe young queen has emerged,

And: some bees are just so unwilling to swarm and focused to collect nectar that they just wouldn´t care less of raising queens. Then it is time to change the queen rearing hive.
 

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Juhani, Thank you. What Charlie and Oldtimer may mean (please correct me, folks, where I err) is that to get the number of cells drawn that they want, 6-frame boxes have enough size to hold adequate resources. I will be starting off small, trying to get 5-8 QCs per ~10-day cycle, and I rather expect a 5-frame setup to do that adequately.

However, I am at a loss as to what to do about pollen. I never notice a _lot_ of pollen. How worthwhile is it to add pollen patties in addition to pollen in the usual stores frames? I'd expect that if the bees eat it, then it was helpful to them. If they don't, then not so. I've not considered a pollen trap and don't know whether that's what, for example kilocharlie uses to get his pollen that he puts into the freezer. Or should I be able to find pollen dense frames in some hive somewhere?

Michael
 

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Made my first attempt at grafting today....;)
This morning I made what I'll call a "grafting pulpit" kind of a slanted box that can sit on a table or tailgate or whatever, it has an edge to keep the frame from sliding off and an adjustable U-shaped bar that goes over the top that I mounted 2 LED battery lights (160 lumens each) -- held to the bar with rubber bands...I discovered that my 60 year old eyes wasn't the problem or my focal length,, but just a lack of lighting....Whew- I thought I was getting old...
I grafted 10 larve into nicot style cell cup holders and mounted them to a frame. They look like good grafts to me, but we'll see what the girls think of them..LOL...:(
I have to add that I took a grafting class on the weekend and am building off of the practice I got there...
I also prepared a Frankin-Nuc with TONS of bees from a overwintered 5/5/5 nuc and the grafts are from another overwintered nuc (black queen) :) anyway on about memorial day the proof will be in the hatched queens.....




==McBee7==
 

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WOW--Maybe I'll have to take it down a notch. I'll check them in 3 days and see what's going on with them and maybe I'll have to do it again. Thanks for the input wwfoste.

==McBee7==
 

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Do like your stand.
Nice photo of priming the cells first and re-grafting too.
 

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Great photo WWFoste!

I agree with the others. The larvae are translucent.

I can often only see the reflective segments, and I use 3x magnification.

I'm finding the cell-builder/starter strength seems to be the critical part.

Cool stand!
 

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I've never raised a queen but plan to so I'll ask what's maybe a stupid question that's probably been discussed. Why not notch cells with eggs? It should be fairly obvious the cells that got started with larvae by bees that's possibly are not revved up in jelly making mode quite yet. Eliminate those after 2-3 days then let them build from freshly hatching eggs when they should be in full go. Is it strictly a time saving thing or am I missing something?
 

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McBee7, it may just be the perspective, but those larva look too old to me. When I'm grafting I'm getting ones like this:
Sorry to say, McBee, but I think you should pull them now and regraft. I've grafted some that big before and I ended up with a virgin emerging DAYS early and she started laying right away.
 

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I'll take a look at them tomarrow....
Thanks for the advice ALL, and it sounds like even though they might build them out, they could still be duds--just because--Thanks for the extra info on that JW, I appreciate it.
My problem is that I only have silly Italians in my back yard to graft from, and my favorite hives are building up 20 miles down the road and I'll have to plan my trip so I can bring home another frame to graft from....and the lucky Italians will get the grafting frame when I'm done....I started out 4 queens in my back yard with the left over bees from packages I installed a week ago...They also adopted the fly-aways from the starter/finisher I started last week. They are building up if they want to or not :eek:

==McBee7==
 
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