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Hi all,

This is my first year beekeeping and I've had lots of fun. I want to try grafting, and I've read quite a few posts about starter cells and starter hives and so on and so forth but I only have 1 hive.

What is the minimum I need to start?

will a 5 frame nuc with a few frames be enough to get started? any links? advice?

much appriciated.

Thx
 

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You're not going to have much success with only a single hive. Wait until you get a few more. In the meantime start reading and searching the web for how-to's.
 

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If you only have one hive, remove the queen and a couple frames of brood and put it in the nuc. The bees in the big hive will raise some emergency queen cells.

This is the easiest way I know to raise queens on a hobbyist scale.
 

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The 'emergency queen' method has been what I've been doing for about two years now. Before that I was buying all my queens for splits. $20 a queen and a few hundred dollars a year and it became too costly to keep doing that (for a hobbiest).

Problem is now my 'emergency queens' are being superseded alot. Not surprising, as emergency queens by nature aren't quality queens. Now I need to figure out a good balance between buying queens and ****** free queens.
 

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I think WVAbees is on the right track. Swarm queen cells are big, and the bees often decide independently on the timing.
One way to do it (I'm not the expert - that would be Mr. Bush) is to split off the frames with sealed cells into multiple two framed nucs, and then just wait. After three weeks there should be mated laying queens. The hardest part is the waiting! If you are handy with woodworking equipment it is easy to build a queen castle, if you are not dividers can be bought. One thing when you move the cells be careful, as it is easy to crush them on accident.:eek:
I currently have 9 of these units with cells, virgins, or laying queens in them.
It adds another level of interest to an already fascinating hobby.
However, if you just want to try grafting then perhaps you could attend a workshop. I have seen that they are offered quite frequently each year, usually by people, like Marla Spivak, who have great experience. The advantage of this is that it would save you many missteps.
Adrian.
 

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What is the minimum I need to start?

will a 5 frame nuc with a few frames be enough to get started? any links? advice?

much appriciated.

Thx
Well if you really want to try to graft, then I say go ahead and do it. It will take some time to practice, but no matter what you will learn. Sure you could graft some cells into a five frame nuc, and they might make a cell or two, or even more.

But if you are interested in making some quality queens then IMO you should have at least 3 hives to play with. One hive to graft from, one hive (should be your strongest) to use as a cell builder, and a third hive to tear down to use to make your mating nucs. You will need a mating nuc for each queen you want to mate.
Now you could graft from the same hive you use as a cell builder, which would mean only 2 hives.

But most folks want some honey too ...

But can you do it with less? Sure!

However like the rest of the gang said, you should start out learning how to do splits and you should have at least 3 hives anyway so you know what is working and what doesn't.

Also don't forget you will need lots of drones too so that is another reason to have more hives.
 
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