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Discussion Starter #1
I've been watching YouTube videos on how to cut out QC's with a razor knife from all wax foundation which is pretty straight forward. I have not seen any harvesting of QC's from plastic foundation like Acorn. Is there anything available explaining how it is done with plastic foundation?
 

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I have looked for this same info a while back. I found nothing. I made a post asking if a hot knife would work. It didn't turn up one response. So, I do plan on exploring a hot knife experiment or even a modified soldering iron. I just put this on the back burner for now and haven't gotten around to trying it. If you think my idea is decent and you do try it, please let me know how it works out. And if I try before you, I'll post back on this thread.
 

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I never had any luck trying to cut cells from plastic, but I have seen photos of beekeepers putting little cages over the cells. That might work better, never tried it. If its a hive I really want queens from I just knock down the cells, use the royal jelly to prime cups and do a graft (if there's the right age larva) with great results.
 

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I just take the whole frame with cell Darn near impossible to cut out. Probably not what you want to do, but taking the frame is probably the easiest, safest bet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
trottel1, I would think that anything hot would do harm to the queen in the cell. I was thinking more along the lines of using a thin feeler gauge blade, say .030 or less thick (depending on stiffness). Start above the cell and go in on an angle until you make contact with the hard plastic surface. Then run the blade the length of the cell, behind it along the plastic, always keeping the blade in contact with the plastic. Make a cut along each side and the bottom and see if you can lift the cell away from the frame using the blade like a scoop. Now sliding the blade along the plastic may expose the queen, but once you transfer it to the new frame with the opening against the wax, the opening will no longer be exposed.

Think along the lines of: https://www.mcmaster.com/feeler-gauge-stock

Well that's my thinking on getting the cell detached without destroying either the plastic sheet or the cell itself. Your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Under the link I provided above, look under Ready-to-Use Feeler Gauges. Most are 12" in length and 1/2" wide.
 

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Rick, I was.able to slice a qc off of a plastic frame recently. I think your feeler gauge idea is good for the flexibility needed to get under the cell. Also it helps if it is new wax on a warm day. My cell lifted right off using a box cutter blade.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
JW, I have a 6" by 3/4" wide steel scale here on my desk, with a set of dial calipers, it measures .030 and then it's not too flexible. I'd like to try around .020 maybe to achieve the flexibility. The price of the feeler-gauge-stock isn't that bad to where one couldn't work with several thicknesses in order to get one that feels right.
 

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My thoughts weren't to cut the cell off of the foundation, but to actually cut the section of foundation out. Cell, wax and plastic. Say maybe 3 inches long by 2 inches wide. Then take the entire rectangle and stick it into the drawn frame in the cells new home. Might be a silly idea. I'll get around to trying it and find out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
JW, I just ordered one each of .016,.020,.025 and .031. $14 plus shipping which doesn't break the bank and they'll be here Tuesday. Now to find a cell on plastic!
 

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My thoughts weren't to cut the cell off of the foundation, but to actually cut the section of foundation out. Cell, wax and plastic. Say maybe 3 inches long by 2 inches wide. Then take the entire rectangle and stick it into the drawn frame in the cells new home. Might be a silly idea. I'll get around to trying it and find out.
I have thought about this a number of times but not motivated enough to devote the time. I use the Snelgrove method and it does the trick. My analysis for what it is worth is based on having made a few custom punch press dies and rifle chambering reamers etc.. Sawing out a surrounding slug of comb with anything like a jig saw would likely cause vibration damage to the queen pupae. Similar damage from any sort of hot wire cutter.

Punching out a slug of comb with a queen cell silhouette could be done without large damage to the frame. I have done 1" holes and the bees usually repair the damage nicely though they decided drone size would be appropriate.:rolleyes:

Dies could be made out of nothing much more exotic than mild steel pipe that nest in diameters. A wooden frame could be your press and a small hydraulic jack (or your wood splitter or wine press) the power source.

I dont see many people going to the trouble but it could be done. Shades of Acebird for the old hands on the forum ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think the whole idea is to be able to lift the cell without destroying the actual plastic frame. At the moment, I have wax foundation in my hives with boxes of Acorn foundation sitting in the barn which will be incorporated into new hives this season. I don't mind cutting out the cell from the wax foundation, but I'd sure like to come up with a way to lift one off the plastic foundation in the future without leaving a large hole in my Acorn foundation!
 

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I think the whole idea is to be able to lift the cell without destroying the actual plastic frame. At the moment, I have wax foundation in my hives with boxes of Acorn foundation sitting in the barn which will be incorporated into new hives this season. I don't mind cutting out the cell from the wax foundation, but I'd sure like to come up with a way to lift one off the plastic foundation in the future without leaving a large hole in my Acorn foundation!
I think it might have been M. Bush describing patching up the hole. Unless very close to emergence, dehydration might be a factor. Sometimes emergency cells stand out quite well from the foundation with a fair bit of space underneath. I have cut some off just for the heck of it but it appears it would be very much hit or miss. Try a few.
 

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Instead of cutting a hole in your foundation, I'd be more inclined to take the whole frame. If there are numerous cells on that frame, what's the harm of trying to carve a few out? I've got some cheap steak knives from the dollar store with 1/2" wide blades that i will experiment with (bending them etc). I think it may occasionally work.
 

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I think he said something about direction of cut; my guess is bottom to top; less chance of snagging bee parts. Same as petting a cat; head to tail! Better double check that I might have my wires crossed!
 

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I've cut, or maybe more accurately scraped queen cells off of plastic foundation quite a few times. I just used a hive tool. Made a score down to the foundation on all four sides of the cell, and then gently scraped in towards the cell on all sides just to get things lose all around. Then I scraped from the side of the cell towards the cell, on both sides, back and forth from side to side, until the cell lifted off. It tends to roll away from the hive tool as I scrape, so that scraping from top or bottom seemed it might do more damage, so I do the final scraping from the sides. It does work most of the time for me.
 

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A few months ago I saw (on YouTube?) where a guy used a Dremel tool with the 1/8" diameter spiral cutting bit that is normally used for cutting out electrical box holes in drywall sheets. It had no problem cutting through the plastic foundation and wax. He cut about 1" away from the queen cell, all the way around it. There was no followup on if the queens actually hatched after this procedure. I wondered if the high speed vibration of the cutter would do any damage to the queen.
 
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