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My Brother from Idaho asked me to post this. He has been trying to graft queens since spring with no luck at all. So he tried OTS notching with 5 new nucs on Sunday. He looked at them today and only one hive has a single capped queen cell. (not where he notched) All of the young brood in the other four hives is gone. The young brood was also gone in the grafting hives. Andy ideas on what is wrong. He thinks maybe it is due to small population of bees as he did not move the nucs to another apiary.
 

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the cell builder should be a big strong healthy hive that is queenless. Put on feed if there is no flow. Once the cells are capped, make your queenless nucs, wait a few days then add queen cells.
 

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Yup, you can't expect nucs to make quality q-cells. Pull or pinch the queen in the parent colony, notch the cells, then divide with what they produce. Usually they won't produce as many cells in late summer as spring, but you can do a couple splits anyway.
 

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ditto to above comments. I pull the queen from the hive to a nuc. Allow her hive to make queen cells and cap them. (I'm running foundationless topbar so I don't need to notch anything as the comb is new and soft). After they are capped, I steal some queen cells for mating nucs and also leave queen cells in the main hive to requeen there as well(because I don't want to go searching for rougue queen cells) . If the main hive doesn't requeen, then I reintroduce the original queen with a screened push in cage.
 

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Hey Adrian,
Thanks for the link. I watched his youtube video and tried it. I got three queens! I goofed up and lost the mother and now two daughters to rookie mistakes, (robbing and small hive beetles) but the method works! I think it is better suited for small apiaries like mine with 5-10 hives.
 

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I geared upnwanting to graft queens. I learnedly a lot. One you need lots of bees in cell builder. Second bees build.queen cellsin addition to yours, they think they know more about it( I don't care if I want queens. Use wax foundation not plasticell so you can cut those out for extra queens
 

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I would graft into cups. Its really the best way imo. All the cells on one frame, no need to hunt around. the cells are easy to remove and insert into mating nucs.

The only time I wouldn't recomend grafting is if you have very poor vision or a shaky hand.
 

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I was told there are three things that need to be present before attempting to rear queens.

1. A strong population of bees.
2. There must be a flow or you need to simulate one with feeding.
3. Drones must be present.

In The spring I had no problem getting them to make cells but could not get virgin queens mated. By July I could not get them to make cells at all. No idea why.
 

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For good results you need a good strong hive of course. It actually can be a strong nuc BTW. But ANY reasonably healthy queenless hive should make some cells if it has suitable larva during the reproductive season. They might not be built on your grafts. In My Humble Opinion if the starter does not make cells either it is not queenless, not healthy, or it does not have suitable larva. With very few exceptions.

Keep it simple. Try using a strong queenless nuc as a starter/finisher until you know what you are doing as in this article. http://doorgarden.com/11/simple-honey-bee-queen-rearing-for-beginners
 
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