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I use the Michael Palmer method of cell production. There are so many nurse bees in a hive that they readily take down feed. I feed 1:1 syrup with a little HBH to keep them feeding on it - although I doubt they need any encouragement.

Along with a frame of pollen and a frame of honey in the builder my cells come out loaded with royal jelly - as they should.

To your title, what makes you think the bees don't want the food?
 

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Also warm syrup works well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have some dead hives with honey next to this hive. The bees ignore it. Could bees ever need feeding if they forage and don't rob good honey next to them?

I read Michael Bush's new book, and feeding times and quantities were skipped. I asked about feeding on his thread.
his book thread

I don't want to take risks. My plan is to feed, make a 5 frame cell starter, start cells, and put the cell starter back in the colony over an excluder. I've made cells by grafting and cutting cocoons. I grafted with a hypodermic needle. I'm not going to graft this time. Its risky, and I don't have a Chineese grafting tool. Ideally, I will find a frame with a small amount of new comb with larvae of the right age. Then I might be able to put it in without cutting comb.

I don't understand Michael Palmer's method. It involves making a hive with a lot of capped brood and condensing it to make a "cell builder" some time after the brood hatches. I couldn't find out if the pre-cell builder is queenless. I don't know what a cell builder is. I'm not going to take a risk on doing it because I have gotten a cell starter to work. I would want to use his method to make a cell starter. Does it take a lot of resources?
 

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Santa Cruz, CA
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In my experience bees will always choose nectar over honey. During our flow they wouldn't touch a frame of honey if I uncapped it and laid it out on a silver platter.

Keep in mind that nectar is a bees true food source. Honey is their emergency food source.

The Michael Palmer method is rather simple and is good for making a lot of really fat queen cells.

You take capped brood and place it above an excluder in a queenright colony. This keeps the queen from laying in these frames.

10 days later when the brood is emerging, and there are no eggs old enough to make a new queen you remove the queenright colony below and shake in most, if not all the frames of bees. Some use a shaker box to make sure the queen doesn't end up in the cell builder. I simply find the queen and don't shake that frame.

You then take that queenright colony and can put it on top of the cell starter with a double screened board, or I put an excluder on top of some honey supers from another colony and put it on there. This turns that colony into an over/under double queen colony and nurse bees will come up to keep the brood warm. I've never had an issue doing this.

You then have one box full of two boxes worth of bees in the original location to put your graft into. Give them a few hours and install your graft when they are "hopelessly queenless".

48 hours later you put the colony back to where it was with the queenright portion on the bottom, an excluder, and your now cell finisher box on top.

Come back 8 days later to harvest your cells.
 

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Santa Cruz, CA
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You wouldn't use a small colony, you want a ton of nurse bees. If you only have one colony though, grafting isn't the best way to increase your hive numbers.

Bees seen to always take did from inside the hive, but not if you have a really strong flow.

If they aren't taking food because you have so much available, it shouldn't be a concern anyway.
 
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