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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Put 8 frames of fully capped brood above an excluder 10 days ago, went in today to remove the lower box, shake in most the bees, and place that colony on top of another for 48 hours while the cells are started, then put it back as the finisher.

All standard stuff.

However, I like to look for the queen before taking the box away to make sure she's not shaken in. Looked for about an hour and only saw emergency cells. Not sure what happened but they went queenless, I'd say 4-5 days ago. I shook frames and knocked down the cells and don't see any larvae old enough for them to build new queens with, but can always check. Not too worried.

That's not a problem for the starter, but I've always added the queenright portion back under the starter so they can finish the cells. I suppose the idea is they have a hard time finishing the cells, or may knock some down, if the colony isn't queenright - relying on more of a swarm response than the previous emergency response?

As such, could I add the starter to another queenright colony? Since the bees aren't from the same hive I couldn't imagine that going as smoothly?
I may also just take all the remaining brood / nurse bees and newspaper combine them above an excluder to another hive, essentially turning that hive into the starter/finisher. This would also allow me to requeen the new queenless portion - as I have mated queens ready in the queen castles.

Good thing I checked and hadn't grafted yet...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Decided to use the now queenless starter/finisher for just a starter, since it's queenless. After 48 hours I'll move the cells to another colony, above an excluder, to finish them. That will allow me to put a new queen in the starter as well.

This may also be a good time to see the success rate on just leaving the cells in there for the 10 days. I've always been told they'll knock a bunch down but have never seen this for myself.

Thoughts?
 

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I've only done a queen right finisher once or twice, and I've never left the cells in after they were capped, but removed them and used for splits. But that way I did it, the cells were not torn down or damaged.

I've read of many other people that use a queen right finisher and they do fine leaving them in for 10 days, so I suspect it'll work fine for you also. Please report back with your results. :D
 

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The way I did it was using a 2 box hive, split with an excluder with the queen below, and eggs/larva frames with pollen and nectar frames above, with an added entrance to the top box. The bees drew cells above, and as they got capped I removed that top box and used it's frames and sealed cells to make splits with. I added a new box to the top of the queens box that was left.

I was always afraid that the bottom box might swarm (come to think of it that actually happened to me once a couple decades ago) so I never left them past being capped cells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've always done a queenright finisher (Michael Palmer style) so wasn't sure what my success would be by allowing them to finish the cells.

I also have the option of moving them to the incubator on the day of capping, and could still get them into the mating nucs before they emerge (my preferred method as my success is higher than introducing virgins.

I suppose I have a few options, I'll report on what I went with and how it worked out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Checked my grafts just now and have 100% take with massive cells, after only 48 hours. There are a LOT of bees in there with the two deeps condensed down to one with nothing but emerging brood. I'm probably going to have to divide it out before requeening to keep them from swarming, or add a lot of supers.

I'm still undecided on if I'll let them finish the cells to the 10 day mark, pull them into the incubator when capped, or move the frame above an excluder on another hive.

I'm certainly not a commercial operation, simply trying to make the fattest queens possible. As such, I may leave them in there to finish to day 10 and hope they don't tear any down. I also plan on adding another grafting frame from another breeder colony today. Perhaps just leaving this colony as a queenless starter? From what I've observed from the commercial operations this is how they do things, use a queenlees starter for 2 frames at a time and move them to incubator/finisher when older. Shake in nurse bees, regraft, repeat.
 

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For the most part, my cell starter/finisher is the same queenless hive, I don't separate the operation into 2 different hives, and I've never had them tear down cells unless there is a stray queen or virgin inside that I didn't catch or that flew in after setting it up. I leave the cells in until day 10 to distribute, leaving one cell in the box to become the queen of that hive. And they won't swarm if they don't have a queen to go out with the swarm, along with eggs/youngest larva or another queen left behind to carry on. For the most part, this has always been my way or raising queens, a single queenless cell starter and finisher as the same hive, I never had 2 separate boxes one for starting and one for finishing. I've never needed that many queens at one time to do them separately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks. To clarify I always use one hive, I just move all the capped brood to the queenless side of an excluder and after ten days (for eggs to hatch and brood to emerge) I take away the queenright section for 48 hours to start the grafted cells, then return the queenright portion to finish. In this instance, my starter/finisher went queenless.

But from what you're saying I should be able to leave them to day 10 and then either requeen or leave a cell without them knocking them down.

I grafted way more than I can use so I'll leave them for the full term. My castles are full of mated queens so I'll probably end up using one of these when I cycle out mated queens for cells.
 
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