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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked a particularly strong hive which had 10 frames of capped and uncapped brood in 2 deeps. I checked for queen cells and didnt see any. Put the QE on then an empty deep, into which went 10 F capped brood from my overwintered nucs. On top of that i put a partially filled medium super with stores/nectar/pollen.
The bottom hive beneath the QE has pollen and winter patty .

I think i have done phase one correctly.
My question is obvious i guess...what the heck stops the bottom hive from swarming????
I am going to check for QCs in the top cell builder box and also in the mother colony below the QE on day 5 and again when i separate the two units on Day 10 ( grafting day).

Hope this works. I had success with grafting in terms of hatched virgins in 2017 but i didnt make the cell builder/finisher strong enough so made smaller queens of which only one did well. She is actually still alive having gone through 2 upstate NY winters.
 

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My question is obvious i guess...what the heck stops the bottom hive from swarming????
The way my schedule works, I'm checking the CB for cells every 10 days. First when setting it up with added brood. Then 10 days later on grafting day. Then 10 days later I harvest the cells, and re-establish the CB. Colonies will rarely swarm within the 10 day cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The way my schedule works, I'm checking the CB for cells every 10 days. First when setting it up with added brood. Then 10 days later on grafting day. Then 10 days later I harvest the cells, and re-establish the CB. Colonies will rarely swarm within the 10 day cycle.

Perfect thanks MP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The way my schedule works, I'm checking the CB for cells every 10 days. First when setting it up with added brood. Then 10 days later on grafting day. Then 10 days later I harvest the cells, and re-establish the CB. Colonies will rarely swarm within the 10 day cycle.
the bottom main colony is absolutely bursting with bees...can i just do your tip the box back trick to check for queen cells or do i need to remove each frame and check more thoroughly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For a cell builder? You absolutely need to check the entire broodnest...everything below the excluder. Bees have a way of hiding queen cells.
ok thanks MP ill pull every frame and check. Ill be honest i dont know how you do it. Im feeling near overwhelmed with a couple dozen hives. How you manage thousands is beyond me!
 

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Michael - how do you re-establish the CB to use it again?
I pull the cells and distribute them to he mating nucs we caught the day before. I remove the deep that was the cell building box that's above the excluder, full of bees but no brood. Those bees can be used...move to bottom board and give them a cell. Then check cell builder for cells and add a box of emerging brood above the excluder. 10 days later graft into it. 10 days later harvest cells and repeat. I get another round of cells every 20 days.
 

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So you take what was the top CB box off, give it a cell, and let it become a separate hive somewhere. Then you scavenge other hives to make up a box of emerging brood and you put that on top of the queen's box and start over as before. Presumably you also shake in a pile of nurse bees into the box of emerging brood while you are assembling it?

I have been following your initial method of setting up the CB, grafting on day 10, but then on day 5 after grafting I take the cells out and graft again. On day 5 after the second grafting I either take the cells out and rejoin the colony without the queen excluder or I leave the excluder on, put the queen back on the bottom, and leave the cells until their day 10 after grafting. In either case, I am now done with that hive as a CB. What is your reaction to such a process?

Thanks
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
weather here this weekend looks crap.
Is it ok for me to check for QCs and separate the cell builder tonight ( day 9) and then tomorrow after work ( 24hrs later) do the graft? Im assuming this is ok that there is no issue with leaving the cell builder queenless for 24hrs.
 

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I think that this will be ok, Aran.

I would regard that window of time as giving the bees in the cell builder an opportunity to realize they're queenless. I believe the bees will recognize the absence of the normal pheromonal signals and get themselves fired up to try to raise a new queen.

I've read several accounts of putting the frame you want to graft from into the hive for a brief period of time. The cell builder bees will be very interested in feeding the larvae, and they'll all be 'floating' in a pool of royal jelly, as opposed to what I've sometimes seen--lying a little tiny wetspot. Perhaps as you separate the cell builder box you can put the frame you want to graft from into the 'slot' that will eventually be occupied by the grafted larvae frame, with a frame of pollen on one side of it, of course, and a bit of sugar water on top to make sure nothing is lacking...

When I set up my next cell builder I will be trying these modifications to see if it improves my grafting success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think that this will be ok, Aran.

I would regard that window of time as giving the bees in the cell builder an opportunity to realize they're queenless. I believe the bees will recognize the absence of the normal pheromonal signals and get themselves fired up to try to raise a new queen.

I've read several accounts of putting the frame you want to graft from into the hive for a brief period of time. The cell builder bees will be very interested in feeding the larvae, and they'll all be 'floating' in a pool of royal jelly, as opposed to what I've sometimes seen--lying a little tiny wetspot. Perhaps as you separate the cell builder box you can put the frame you want to graft from into the 'slot' that will eventually be occupied by the grafted larvae frame, with a frame of pollen on one side of it, of course, and a bit of sugar water on top to make sure nothing is lacking...

When I set up my next cell builder I will be trying these modifications to see if it improves my grafting success.
yes i have read about this and i will probably put the grafting frame in tonight when i separate the CB from the mother colony below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So i grafted last night around 5pm. I checked today and there are about 40 of the 45 grafted cells being built up. I didnt take a good look but 20-25 of the cells have a lot more wall development than the others so i guess we will see how those go. Only about 5 cells have no wax development at all.
 

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So i grafted last night around 5pm. I checked today and there are about 40 of the 45 grafted cells being built up. I didnt take a good look but 20-25 of the cells have a lot more wall development than the others so i guess we will see how those go. Only about 5 cells have no wax development at all.
That's terrific! Did you put the frame you were going to graft from into the cell builder for a few hours? If yes, did you have any sense that the larvae were floating a little better, and were a little easier to pick up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's terrific! Did you put the frame you were going to graft from into the cell builder for a few hours? If yes, did you have any sense that the larvae were floating a little better, and were a little easier to pick up?
i did not put the frame i grafted from in the cell builder for a few hours...darn i misunderstood i put the GRAFTING FRAME with the plastic cell cups in the cellbuilder for 24hrs before i grafted.

I didnt even consider putting the frame of eggs/larvae in there.
I did it MP's way and am happy. I have 33 capped very large lovely looking queen cells to put in nucs this weekend.
 

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i put the GRAFTING FRAME with the plastic cell cups in the cellbuilder for 24hrs before i grafted.
I've read about people doing that as well...they want to 'get the cups polished up'. I'm not sure of exactly what that might entail.
 
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