Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I have been following all the "grafting trouble" threads of late and have a question.

I fully agree that to get a good "take" with grafts/cut cells the most important thing is for the cell starter colony to be queenless and PACKED with bees. Makes sense to me.

I also have had great success with walk away splits, dealing the boxes of a hive L-R-L-R and letting the queenless box raise a queen on their own.

I used the OTS methed last year with fine results.

The question arises in my mind, is the need for packed bees in the cell starter because we are asking it to raise 20-50 grafts at a time? With the walk away split or the OTS they raise a few cells only. All done on the resources of a split down hive.
Are the "packed cell starter" queens superior?
Are the queens of a walk away split inferior?

capathome
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,108 Posts
>The question arises in my mind, is the need for packed bees in the cell starter because we are asking it to raise 20-50 grafts at a time?

Certainly part of the issue is inducing them to make more cells, but the other part is to get them fed well.

> With the walk away split or the OTS they raise a few cells only. All done on the resources of a split down hive.
>Are the "packed cell starter" queens superior?

Some people think so.

>Are the queens of a walk away split inferior?

Some people think so. I don't think they are necessarily. But it takes a flow and a lot of bees to feed cells well and it takes well fed cells to make good queens.

Some quotes from some great queen breeders: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesafewgoodqueens.htm#emergency
 

·
Registered
35
Joined
·
2,005 Posts
Over the weekend, I was debating the same question myself, and mapped it out in terms of resources needed. To do walk away split, with half a dozen colonies, I end up with 6 boxes making 6 queens, ie I tie up 60 frames of bees for a month, to produce 6 queens.

If I took those same bees, and instead I put 30 frames into a starter/finisher setup, it can produce a dozen cells, and the other 30 can be left working as a couple colonies producing brood. I'll have plenty of frames to populate a dozen mating nucs, and end up with a dozen mated queens, on roughly the same timeframe, for roughly the same amount of bee resources. But, where the starter / finisher methodology really starts to shine, is getting overlap in the use of colonies by doing a second round. While the first round of cells are being mated in the nucs, I can start another round of cells, and put them into the nucs when the first set have been mated. I can use bees from the second set of 30 to restock the starter finisher, and to populate the mating nucs when the first round of cells is ready.

So, I think the real reason folks go with the starter / finisher is not so much that it may or may not produce better queens, but rather because it will produce a lot more queens, for the same amount of resources tied up. It's about efficiency of production. In 4 weeks I can get a dozen queens instead of 6, but then I can get another dozen queens on 2 or 3 week intervals moving forward by using the same set of bees / equipment. The mating nucs will be producing a fair amount of brood which I can cycle back into the starter / finisher to keep that end of the chain populated with young bees, and keep the nucs down in size so they dont get swarmy on me.

So far, for me, this whole process is about the reading and watching video knowledge, but we have to start somewhere. We want to do a significant expansion on colony numbers this summer, so I'm going to use a starter / finisher setup, with mating nucs to produce the queens we will need. In theory, I can get much better use of my available resources. Ask me in the fall how well theory matches reality.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top