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Discussion Starter #1
I've been doing a bit of grafting this year (and last) with varying degrees of success. I have been trying to come up with a list of variables to try and figure out what things might be causing me to have high failure rates.

1. Bad cups (homemade wax cups) (have some plastic now so probably not the issue)
2. too old of larva (They don't get much smaller than I'm grafting, don't think that's it)
3. mangling the larva moving it. Could be, but all of them?
4. Queenless starter isn't queenless or is too weak or not enough resources.
5.
6.
7.

What am I missing here?
 

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Not enough nurse bees in the starter.
Not enough bees in the starter
Need pollen and nectar (I prefer nectar over sealed honey) in the starter
Got a queen, queen cell or virgin running around in the starter.

Read Randy Oliver's article in ABJ about "Queens for Pennies." He may have that article posted on his website as well.

Better luck...
 

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Cells polished for a day before grafting into them.
Flipped larva over when transferring.
Larva dried out.
Larva chilled.
Larva too hot.
Shook frame of larva and drowned some of them.
 

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One of my mistakes as explained by the ever tactful Keith Jarret: "Too dry." Not getting the bees prepped enough to have enough jelly under the larva.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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I'm with SNL...

The top ten causes of cells not being drawn
1) Not enough bees in the starter
2) Not enough bees in the starter
3) Not enough bees in the starter
4) Not enough bees in the starter
5) Not enough bees in the starter
6) Not enough bees in the starter
7) Not enough bees in the starter

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm#cellstarter

8) Make sure the starter is queenless.

9) After you have that covered, then you can worry about pollen and nectar coming in so there is plenty of food.

10) After that, make sure you aren't flipping the larvae over.

Did I mention the starter needs to be OVERFLOWING with bees? If they will all fit in the hive, you need to compress the hive until they do not fit. or if it's a "swarm box" you need more bees shaken in until they don't fit...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think in my particular situation, after reading the responses is that I was getting greedy. I was trying to do multiple runs of grafts in the same starter hive. That's my first problem. 2nd not enough bees in the starter. :) But the only thing that points to total failure of my last 12 grafts was that they already had 5 or 8 queen cells started (almosted capped to capped) when I put the new grafts in and I guess the bees were like "dude we already have queens going stick it" Thanks
 
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