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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It is the time of year for thinking about new ideas or projects when the flowers come back.

I dabbled in grafting for the first time last year and that has opened some new possibilities. I have a few queens that I am really impressed with and some that are heading colonies but are suspect for having been late season mated etc., so I want to do some selective requeening.

I have three colonies that are double deeps that I want to split and run as single deep broods. One of them is newly drawn Dadant depth frames. I was pleased with the singles I ran last summer. I have previously been doing Snelgrove splits and let them make queens but I can save some time if I put in ripe queen cells or mated queens; my season is short.

I bought a packet of 10 chinese grafting tools that I am tuning up for a trial. I made several grafting tools with tips like the German grafting needle that worked OK for me but I like the idea that chinese tool picks up and deposits a fair bit of the royal jelly along with the larvae. I tried one a number of years ago but found the tip was stiff and dug into the wax comb I was using at the time. Have seen a few references to thinning the tongue and find that some work with a fine diamond hone really does give them an attitude adjustment. I am now on mostly plastic foundation so that aspect is not so important but thinning is a plus.

The advice is to get a bunch of them so you can select the one that works best for you. Good advice. Some are very stiff, some have distortions in the tongue or the pusher is not centered on the tongue etc. I found two of the 10 had tongues loose in the stem. A bit of thin CA does the trick but you have to disassemble to keep from paralysing it forever.
 

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I think I'm going to give MSL's do it all queen rearing box a try. I've become determined to improve my grafting acceptance. Until now I've been grafting small numbers because I've only mating nuc capacity for 8 (four two frame and a quad mini), but I badly need the practice so I need to be grafting a lot more often just for practice. If that means making more cells than I can use then so be it. Maybe I'll be giving away cells.

In conjunction with that I rather liked the quad mini mating nuc I made last year. I'm going to make another, boosting my queen mating capacity to 12. And then since I'll be making more queens than I can use, I'm going to stack the two minis and just see if I can overwinter 4 queens in a two story quad mini. If it works then I'll have extra queens in 2022, if it doesn't then I'm not out anything except effort.

I also plan on tuning up my Chinese grafting tools following the method Joe May demonstrated.

I saved myself some 1-1/2 wide scraps of hardwood from a woodworking project that I'm going to use to make myself a grafting frame bench top holder. I'll post pictures when I get it done. I'm getting a new router table for Christmas so it might be the first project off it.

Last year saw me move up from hand crank to electric extractor. I need to make an anti- vibration base for it, something on wheels and tilt-able to drain it.

I've got plenty of honey to last several years so I think summer of 2021 I'm going to focus on splitting and growing.
 

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Santa Cruz, CA
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Come back? Mine hit a few weeks ago and just added another super to half the hives ;)

Pretty rough Coastal California problems over here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Come back? Mine hit a few weeks ago and just added another super to half the hives ;)

Pretty rough Coastal California problems over here.
You will have about a 5 month jump on me. I sometimes might put the first super on last part of May. 12th of June is traditional white clover bloom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wont be doing large batches either so I will make a quick and dirty Cloake board for 5 frame boxes. That should be plenty of resources to raise 10 cells. I have one colony wintering as 3 stacked 5 frame boxes that would be a snap to put in the cell starting mode.

Bernard Heuvel I think, or msl, had some good data on exceptional virgin queen development from eqqs produced where the queen had been caged a bit before she laid the eggs that would become the grafting larvae, then grafting larvae at the very youngest age. I made a queen timing cage and frame last year that could render known age larvae when you wanted them. That is likely a bit of foolishness but is entertaining!
 

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I made a 3 in one box (3x 3 frame hives in a 10 frame box) to try to raise and keep an extra queen or 3 around next year. I have had enough queen problems that having another queen or 2 readily available will be useful.

I also have a completely sealed up (bee not air tite) hive in my basement that I am seeing if I can keep alive thru the winter. I know keeping hives inside is generally not recommended/problematic, but since this hive had a late started queen and was down to about 1 frame of bees I figured I would try it to see what happens. This hive has been being dificult, but It think I am starting to figure them out.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Yes, I saw that post. I would suggest much finer grit abrasive though. It takes more elbow grease but is more selective.
I figured this technique out on my own but used too coarse of a grit the first time around. Went from almost there to oops real quick. Finer is better on the abrasive. Check the flexibility every couple of strokes.
 

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I might try to sell or give away some nucs next year. My apiary is growing beyond my desires.

Other than that, I'm happy with what I'm doing and pretty much plan to stay the course.
 

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Mastering the Snelgrove. Ok, at least using one without having to re-read instructions for the 100th time to be sure I am doing it right. J
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I plan to get better at grafting queens and using the little ML double mating nucs. Did not use them last year and two years ago only had moderate to dismal success. Watched Jason Bragg's vlog on setting up his mating yard and am planning to change a few of the things I did wrong before.
 

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I'm just getting started. Urban backyard. 2 hives. Will orders 2 nucs in feb. 1 Italian and 1 carnolian if available, if not 2 Italian. Got my hives readyto go.
 

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Dubble my queen production
Make good on the II investment
Obtain a VP queens VSH breeder

Launch a training program for the Colorado State Beekeepers Association to get queen rearing projects started at the local club level.. 2019 I proved the do all box concept works, 2020 I proved it worked for other people, and proved the mini nucs worked... 2021 I hope to start the tech transfer process and have a day or 2 to bring 2-3 people form each club together to assemble some equipment and do some demos and instruction so that they can go back to their home clubs and start a basic queen rearing program ( push in cages on "wild" cells made with timed larva as a start, hopefully stepping up to grafting) we will see what covid says about my plans
 

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Burlington, MA. Langs
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:cry: I can't plan anything as I am trying to buy a house and i'm not even sure how the hell I'm going to move the 3 hives I have now
 

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A crane o_O
must be an interesting location !!

Move them out the same way they went in... A box at a time
make up some screened tops/bottoms
 

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Burlington, MA. Langs
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A crane o_O
must be an interesting location !!

Move them out the same way they went in... A box at a time
make up some screened tops/bottoms
OH not one of those huge things! I should have said a lift of some sort. Would just be easier to strap each shut, use a mechanical lift to get it in and out of the truck. The bed of the truck is pretty high lol.
A box at a time I think is just a bit too much work.
 
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