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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that I’ve got the Queen Rearing Kit figured out or at least in a zone where I feel I’m ready to have a go at it. Another problem has popped up. It is about the cell building hive. I’ve read so many different ways to set one up and use I am totally confused.:s Any comments, hints, and help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.;)
 

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I will tell you how not to do it:doh:.

I had never used my Jenter before and had heard that people had problems getting the queen to lay or, if she did, the eggs would disappear when they went back to transfer the larva to cell bars.

So I waited until I had eggs in the Jenter, removed the queen and put it back in the brood nest. Then on that same day I got a single deep and went to three strong hives and took 2 frames of capped emerging brood from each. I found the queen in each donor hive and moved 2-4 frames away and selected capped brood with no open brood (more on this later). I kept the adhering bees on the frames and then shook in another frame or so of nurse bees from each hive. So this was a strong single deep.

I put a frame of honey and pollen, a frame of foundation, a frame feeder and 6 frames of capped brood. This left room for a frame of cells.

I have kept bees for quite a few years and often I would find the queen and then go back in a day or so and find her again on the same frame or on a frame or two away. Most of the time on the frame with most of the eggs. So I always assumed that she just moved from one frame to the next every day or so....

I learned something with my queen rearing experiment.

So on the appropriate day I removed the Jenter from the donor hive, made up my cell bar and put it in the cell builder. Now I waited anxiously for a couple of days and went out expecting to see my cells starting to look like queen cells. I pulled the bar out....nothing:cry:. I looked in the cells and found they were empty and dry.

I pulled the first frame out and :eek: six queen cells. Now what are the odds that the queen walks around the hive at night depositing eggs on frames:scratch:??? Well pretty good it seems. There were queen cells on all 6 brood frames. I think a total of 30-35. I was stunned.

Anyway it turned out fine as I only wanted about 6 queens so I just put each brood frame into each mating nuc. One frame had 13 cells so I just let them fight it out.

So my lesson was to make the cell builder up early if you use brood frames and then carefully remove all queen cells made or maybe just shake a bunch of nurse bees onto empty frames with a couple frames of honey and pollen, feeder and foundation.
 

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I have done both the cloak board method and the swarm box method. Both have been successful, but the swarm box is much more. If you don't leave the cloak board in long enough then the bees don't do very well. :doh: It seems to take at least a few hours for the bees to decide they need a queen before you put a cell bar in them. Also, they have to be a very strong hive. I just found it easier to use the swarm box and use all the hives with cloak boards in them at finishers for now. I may try to go back to the cloak board method since the swarm box is a bit to maintain.
 

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I use both, the cloake board and the swarm box, I like the swarm box better because it requires less manipulation, again both methods are good, but at the end of the day what works for you is what matters. I usually use the swarm box as a starter, leave my graft in it for about 12-24 hours rejoining the swarm to the original colony with the upper chamber already configured as a finisher (excluder, brood, etc) add my queen cells and the rest of the nurse bees that I used in the swarm box.
 

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I like the Ben Harden method, it uses any queen right production colony as a starter/finisher and does not interfere with the honey production of the colony. No unstable queenless starter to fool with. Since they are not building under the emergency impulse, they are a little more finicky about the grafts, but if you are using the Jenter system, I would think that it would work quite well. Also, since they are queen right, no rogue cells being produced on the frames of young larvae. So far I seem to get very good quality cells using this method (see here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showpost.php?p=523757&postcount=1 ). Here is a link to a description of the method on Dave Cushman's site:

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/benhardenmethod.html
 

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This is my second season using it. I have kind of customized it to fit with my management style. Don't know if there is much else written about the method, I found it on Cushman's site and since I have tuned it to work well for me, I have not bothered to search out any more about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Ben Harden Method seems like a good way to go. But could you give me a time line, like when you set up the Breeder Hive versus when you set up the Cell Building Hive:s
 
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