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When Can I Move Grafted Queens

4067 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Beetastic
I want to move my queen cells into their mating nucs on day 12 or 13. Is that too early because the queen and cell are too sensitive to move, or should I be fine?
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If you mean day 12 after grafting, it's too late. One will likely have emerged and killed the rest. If you mean day 12 from when the egg was laid (day 8 after grafting) it's safer to wait two more days, but if you're gentle you will probably get away with it.
I meant day 12 since eggs were laid. Thanks. Anybody with firsthand knowledge?
I move them all the time as I sell a mated queen out of a mating nuc, avoiding even a short 'queenless' period that will demoralize the small colony and encourage them to make cells of their own.

I'll place them before they are capped if the nuc is strong enough to feed a single cell well, or just after they are capped if the nuc is smaller. I am of course very gentle with them at that stage. You can't be rough or clumsy.

I routinly place recently capped cells (around day 7-9 including the grafting day.)in the incubator when the main flow is going on and they are prone to building comb over them. My hatch rate is excellent.

Here is a couple that are recently capped and delicate:

Cell is soft so be sure not to squish it when pressing into the comb

Heres a cell that is closer to emergence. A little more texture to the cell itself and a tougher exterior.

If the cells are young, I don't try to get them out of the grid system yellow cell holders. When they have hardened off and are ripe you can wiggle them out with out damage and place just the brown cell cup like photo above. Photo below shows the yellow cell holder. I just retrieve them when I harvest the mated queen.

The younger the cell, the more vulnerable it is to temperature. Keep it warm during transport and when placing in the nuc.
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Thanks Lauri. I'm actually grafting from a breeder queen that I got from you. I want to do a graft before summer's out. I'll graft 15 and see what happens. My starter cell is looking pretty strong.

Oh Wow, Hi :) I see where you are from now..
If you have questions you can PM me. I'll be happy to assist you if you need it.

I am actually going to be placing an open cell this evening, due to a failed batch of queen cells last week. It's left me a little short this week. I won't make a panicked customer who's just realized they are queenless wait a week for a mated queen just because I don't have mature cells ready to place.
I can take a couple pics if you want to see this open cell placement.

Stay in touch. Folks that bought a breeder queen get the guarantee if they lose the queen before they get a couple daughters, I will send you a couple virgins at no cost if you pay for shipping. Want to make sure you get your moneys worth. (I'll do this as long as it is not being abused.)

I remember that fattie I sent you. Was she able to lay in small cell?
She's laying just fine :) I've only been in a few times, but they've grown into 2 mediums (she started with 3-4 frames of bees/brood) and she's laying nice patterns + good temperament. Looking forward to having her daughters mix it up with my best yard. Really nice bees that put on tons of honey. Thanks the info and customer support Lauri.
>Anybody with firsthand knowledge?

I'm sure I've transferred them at every age from just hatched larvae to emerging as I put them in the nuc with some success. It depends on how gentle you are, and how well populated (and therefore temperature controlled) the nuc is, and what time of year it is. The further along I can get them in a strong colony that can keep them at a consistent temperature, and before that feed them well, the better the odds. But the other side is that in hot weather they sometimes emerge a day or a day and a half early... so between how tough they are as far as bumps and how far along they are so temperatures don't affect them for as long, and making sure they don't emerge before they get in the nucs, day 14 is your best bet. If I were going to be out of town that day, I'd have no qualms about doing them on day 12, I'd just be extra careful about knocking them around... but then I always am...
Thanks Michael. I was sure you had done it at some point ;) I am pretty gentle with my bees, and they usually return the favor. My question was sort of 2 part in that we might be having some heat over the next week to 10 days + a tight personal schedule. I know they can hatch out early in heat, and I would hate to lose all my hard work to an early queen. Either way you slice it, I am grafting today. Looking forward to see what takes.
I usually end up transferring them 8-9 days after grafting as this usually falls on the weekend when I can get out to the bees!! I have had excellent hatch rates, first batch of 16 this year had 100% hatch and get mated, I just put my second wave of cells in splits last Saturday that were due to hatch out on Tuesday and should be going on mating flights by this weekend I imagine. Not sure how many hatched out of the 18 I out in, but I will see this weekend while pulling honey off the production hives!!

My main yard is about 30-40 minutes away from my house, and I have a couple other yards about 10 minutes from the house that I am going to turn into queen rearing yards, that way I will be able to graft at home (in town) and then transfer the cells to splits 10 days after grafting.
Just pulled the bar real fast to see the take. Looks like 12/15, and I am dang happy with that, this being my first time grafting. Well, I tried once before, but I managed to add in a queen so nothing ever got started. Now to divide some mediums for mating nucs, and figure out what I want to do with all these queens. Fun fun fun!

BeeGhost, good to know. And cool that your are so close to me. We should get together sometime when the winds blow in the right direction? I've got a yard in Pleasanton.

Thanks everyone for ideas + support. Larui, I will let you know how hatch + mating goes.
Moved 7 nucleus mating colonies today. Today is day 14 from egg laying. I had one cell where it looked like a queen emerged. Cut circle opening at the bottom of the cell. All the other cells were still viable. I tore one open to see what was going on with development, and she was in the early purple eye stage. If someone did hatch, at least I didn't lose all the cells.

Looking into the tops of the cups, about half still had royal jelly left. The other cells - where the jelly wasn't left over - you could see a physical size difference in the cells: Smaller. I know this isn't the most opportune time to graft, but I was determined to be successful before the season ended. I am actually more worried about decent mating. There just aren't a lot of drones in the hives anymore, and I didn't stick in any extra drone frames a 3 weeks ago, but once again, oh well...

All in all, even before I see final results, grating queens was super fun. I have a firm handle on what it's going to take to hit my goals next spring. Hopefully CA will get some decent rain this winter to replenish our aquifers, reservoirs, and water table! It's August, but I can't wait for next year's spring nectar flow to raise some great looking queens. This forum has been a great educational tool + resource. Thanks to all the old salts who pass down their knowledge.
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