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Yes indeed but for me there will be no more starter started until I'm sure I can do the grafting. Hopefully today I can do some exercises as the weather turned into a fine one.
The more food the larva is floating in/on, the easier the grafting will be. If you setup a starter and put the frame to be grafted from in there for a few hours before grafting, you will have an easier time grafting and have better success.

If you don't want to devote a lot of resources towards a starter, set up one of your hives as in the 'cloake board method'....queen, capped brood, empty comb below an excluder, open brood and eggs above. Keep maniupulating the colony to be like this once a week or so, and when you want a starter, just lift up the top box, put a board over the excluder and put the top box back down (or use a cloake board to do this without lifting the box).

deknow
 

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Discussion Starter #22
The more food the larva is floating in/on, the easier the grafting will be.
I've just noticed that. Poorly nurished larvae. I will feed them a bit and yes I will put that frame in the starter. Can I put right at the moment when I form the starter and take it to graft after 2 hours?
 

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Hi Cristian, you asked if your starter box has enough ventilation, personally I don't think so. It may work this time but longer term you should add more.

Thing is, you are working with bees that are trapped in there. they think it is very important to find a way out. Bees do not understand mesh, so they will cram into those holes trying to force their way out & can cause a complete blockage and suffocate the box.

Also, mesh on the bottom gets blocked by dead bees and easily blocked by live ones, the best method for a starter box is to have a strip of mesh along the bottom of each side. A common size is strip 4 inches high along the length of each box, at the bottom of each side.

With temperatures at 60 it may be OK this time although it is a risk. If the bees get hot they will not build the queen cells and if they are still alive when you open the starter you may not know why they didn't.
 

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When attempting to graft:

How long can you keep brood on the original frame out of the hive?
Do you have to keep them both humid and warm? If so someone mentioned wrapping in a warm towel yet that will cool very quickly and cooled and damp is cold.

Same question re the recipient graft.

I don't expect cold, dehydrated larvae fair well.

As far as "priming" the cells with a drop of water. This will also cool quickly. How warm is the water one uses? Must it be distilled water? Do you use a 25g needle or smaller to get a tiny drop...what gage needle do you use.

I like the idea of putting the donor frame in the builder to get a bit more jelly.

It is amazing how anxious I get at the thought of doing a graft when surgery and manual dexterity is a routine part of my life:)

The Mannlake Queen rearing kit came last week...the grafting stuff was on back order. Perhaps that is a hint:)
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
Thanks very much Oldtimer, I will do it as you prescribed.

No more questions. I hope I'll come with some good results after all this theory and preparations. I've read so much that I have tons of bees in my dreams at nights :))

As I've said, the copper wire manually built graft tool works like a charm although the cells were not having an abundance of royall jelly. It works even without tearing the cells. The magnifying head lamp only complicates things and I just use a small flashlight.

How long can you keep brood on the original frame out of the hive?
I guess it's time to just go along with it:

On July 2nd 2013 I was involved in filming for a couple of beekeeping teaching videos. It was a boiling hot day with little breeze. I demonstrated grafting, including transferring larvae into cut away cell cups. It took over 2 hours to complete the whole bar of 10. As it was done for the camera I didn't intend to use them, but I had another colony where we filmed it with a queen, then removed the queen and filmed it again 2 hours later to see the difference in behaviour. Just to see what happened I put the cell bar in this colony. When I checked the next morning there were 8 acceptances!
http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/grafting.html

I have so little time :(. I depend on starting the larvae on thursday in order to have a full saturday to form the nucs and add the queen cells to them.
 

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The nicest thing about graftless systems is it eliminates the grafting issues and lets you master the other issues of queen rearing. Once those other issues are mastered (timing, cell starters etc.) then you can focus on mastering grafting without wondering if it is your grafting or your cell starter or your timing or some other thing that is the problem There are many FREE graftless methods that require no expense or special equipment at all. Probably the simplest with the least equipment is the Hopkins method. Next is the Miller method. The Better Queens, Alley and Hopkins original method are simple enough but require cell bars and wax melting etc. All of these books are available here:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesoldbooks.htm

After you can raise queens without grafting, you will know if your issues are with your grafting or something else.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I did the grafting yesterday. That was the easy part. The tough one was the shaking of bees into the starter without a funnel. I kept shaking, they kept comming out. I'm not sure of how much I've put in. I had a delimiter on 2'' as Dave Cushman suggests and I'm not sure of the amount of bees. There were about 2 frames with polen and honey and bees and another 6 frames of shaken bees. I've also added a frame with water.
I can't wait to see the results this evening when I move the bar frame to the finisher hive. I've grafted about 25 cups. I don't need that much but I put more as I'm at my first experience of this kind and I need a margin for error.

Hehe... I can now see/feel the difference between theory and practice. You have to be very organized in order to make these things happen and I thought I was, until now. :)

Thanks for support,
Cristian
 

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The only reason a funnel is a good idea is if it has a queen excluder built in (so you don't shake the queen or the other queen into the cell builder). This is important if you are on a tight production schedule or if you have problems finding queens.

Otherwise, simply remove a few frames from the "target" box and shake the frames in the gap created by the missing frames. A frame of open brood will help hold the bees in the box. Snaking the free absolutely vertical helps also.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
First timers are always stressful to me. I shook them vertically, no brood frames just stores. I probably haven't sprayed them enough.

Conclusions: need a better veil, better smoker... (got some bees under the veil.. had to stop... one sting in the head, lost things through the yard)

What do you guys do if it rains on day 10? Use umbrellas? Leave the queen cells in God's hands?
 

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For shaking nurse bees, I've never sprayed the bees with anything...you may just need to get used to the process.

Raising queens is the point in beekeeping where convenience and weather get ignored..
 

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To clarify, the shaking should happen with the frame 3/4 of the way IN the box you are shaking into...not over the box. A frame of open brood will hold bees in the box.
 

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>>What do you guys do if it rains on day 10? Use umbrellas? Leave the queen cells in God's hands?
>Raising queens is the point in beekeeping where convenience and weather get ignored..

That's one of the things that just goes with queen rearing. What I have to do today, I HAVE to do today... the queens wait for no man...
 

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If you are shaking bees into a starter box, you will probably have at least 2 combs in the box for clustering and food. During the shaking put one on each side of the box. As the shaken bees run up the side of the box they get to the frame and pause a bit on the comb. If you have the box you are shaking from set up so you can quickly get frames out and in you will get the job done no worries. Speed is the essence. Like you say, some experience helps you will now be thinking about what you can do better, and next time you will improve.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Well... seems like I have towards 100% acceptance of the cells(much more then I need). I've just moved them to the finisher together with all the bees from the starter.

IMG_0001.jpg IMG_0002.jpg IMG_0004.jpg IMG_0005.jpg

Thanks again for all the input given. It really payed.

Cristian
 

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Cheap umbrella and a weighted stand are handy in ugly weather when opening a hive for queen rearing is necessary. It's easy to move around and easy to store closed up until the next time. (Makes nice shade too) Look for weighted stands at garage sales. This umbrella was on sale at Rite aid for $19.99.

 

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Nice work Cristian you have done thorough research and it has paid off! :)

Please keep the thread updated with progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #39 (Edited)
Well... seems like I have towards 100% acceptance of the cells
Well... it seems that the fish isn't that fat and long :). I've just opened the hive a few minutes ago and saw 15 or 16 QC's out of 25 wich means 60% acceptance.
Fine with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
About queen castles:

I need some advice regarding the quantity of bees in the queen castles. I was thinking on 1 frame brood + 1 frame stores with the bees on them.

We still can have down to 45 F during nights and in the upper 60's during the day.

Thanks.
 
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