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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Saturday, March 15, I headed out to the bee yard and put my starter/finisher together in a double deep 5 frame nuc!! I took donor bees from a few different hives and concentrated on brushing nurse bees from frames of fresh brood only, and only after I found the queen in each hive, which didn't take long! After shaking in about 8 full frames of bees I placed a frame of capped brood, a frame of open nectar/pollen, another frame of mostly capped brood with some eggs/young larva and then put the grafting frame in with cups already installed and let the bees "warm" things up a bit while I let them sit queenless for 2 hours while I went to town and visited friends from the old neighborhood. I then went back to the yard, pulled the grafting frame out that was full of festooning bees and shook them back into the nuc, took a frame of young larva from one of my favorite hives and proceded to graft with the Chinese grating tool, covering each larva in the cup with a wet towel as I went, a step I learned from here which I have never done before, what a huge difference that made, no drying larva!!

I then placed the frame with 20 cells into the nuc, strapped it up and took it home where I could monitor them for the first few days and feed them pollen sub and sugar syrup.

Well, I crossed my fingers before opening the hive 24 hours later and to my surprise 18 of the 20 looked as though they were being worked!! I closed them up and checked again today, 48 hours later, and after brushing most of the bees off to really look at the grafts I found that 16 of the 20 were accepted and packed with royal jelly!! I think I read something about grafting on a full moon being a good thing and I am a firm believer!! I also think the grafts that did not take were the ones I tried to use the JZBZ tool on. I am much more comfortable with the Chinese grafting tool!!

Anyhow, this is my third attempt at grafting since last spring, the first attempt only yielded 2 viable grafts out of 20, the second grafting session yielded nothing out of twenty and now this, 16 out of 20!! Needless to say, im very happy!!!


 

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Congrats! I"m going to make my first attempt at it this year. I'll be happy with 15% on my first try. I'll try the wet towel too!
 

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Looks great!!!!
 

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Well done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone!����

Matt, i used the Starter/Finisher system that was described in the queen breeding section of this site since it better fits my time constraints i have in life! I also got to bring this hive home with me to watch the progress of things for my own learning experience!

The first thing you do is put a frame of mostly capped larva in the nuc. Then take and shake LOTS of nurse bees into it, I mean probably 6 or 8 frames worth atleast, you want enough bees that they will completely cover 4 frames and have more hanging from the bottoms of the frames, a jam packed house!! Then I added a frame of uncapped nectar, a frame of fresh pollen and then the grafting frame with the cell cups in it. I left them for 2 hours to let them know they were queenless and then I took out the grafting frame, filled the cups with 4 day old larva and after adding a larva to a cup i would cover that cup with a moist towel so the larva would not dry out while grafting other cups. After grafting i put the grafting frame between a frame of pollen/nectar and a frame of the capped brood with some uncapped larva. I took the whole double deep nuc home and there I took the top nuc off and added a bowl of water with a sponge in it on the frameless bottom nuc, the water is for the bees since there are very few foragers. I also added some pollen sub and 1:1 sugar syrup in a quart sized paint can that had 5 holes in the lid that i poked in with a push pin.

The big difference i did this time compared to the other two attempts is i added a ton of nurse bees and covered the grafting frame with a moist towel to keep the larva hydrated. The last two times i attempted I added maybe two frames of bees and left the grafts open while i was grafting and i could litterally see the larva dry out.

I am not an expert by any means but I have to thank Joseph Clemens and David Laferny for describing the method i used above!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm going to make splits with them! I am making the splits up Saturday afternoon and will add cells Monday after work! I am basically going to break up all the hives into Nucs and do a large increase of numbers, if queens fail to return from mating flights i will combine the queenless ones with queenrite ones, and start the process all over in another month! I basically want to get up to 40 hives by summer!
 

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Cherries. I start pruning and just can't let them go to waste so I start changing over some of the non productive stuff that's redundant.
 

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Matt, pm me if you want any tips. I'm a fan of the whip and tongue, but I got an omega grafting tool as well, it's not bad.
 

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Good going!

As I am going to try raising queens this spring/summer, your detailed report gives me encouragement and good direction (particularly as to how many frames of bees to load into the starter/finisher box. I have two grafting tools, the JZBZ and the Chinese, and one that I hammered out and bent of a paper clip. I will try all 3 tools.

Thanks for mentioning David Laferny, as I studied his excellent description of his method. As I read your description, it reminded me of his method.

I was curious, did you prime your cups when you grafted?
 
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