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Author Topic: They cleaned out the larvae  (Read 978 times)
Rabbitdog
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Location: Lynchburg, VA


« on: July 13, 2010, 03:27:39 PM »

Greetings all,
I put a frame of grafted larvae into a cell builder Sunday afternoon.  The cell builder was definitely queenless, packed with young bees and most frames were filled with emerging brood.  I took a new cell bar frame (with starter strip at top) and put 2 bars of plastic queen cups with the smallest larvae I could see in them.  Then, I put on a feeder with sugar water (but they also had a frame of honey).
I checked yesterday and every single blasted cup was cleaned up like new.  What went wrong?  Should I have introduced the new cell bar frame and empty cups for a day or two before grafting?  Should I now try regrafting again under the same circumstances?  Thanks much!
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"Born Po, Die Po" ........ just need to feed myself in between!
fish_stix
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Location: Palm Bay, FL


« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2010, 09:01:17 PM »

Recheck for a queen! How long queenless? Hopelessly queenless, meaning no young brood in hive that they could make cells from. Some folks get better results by letting the bees polish the cups overnight. Make sure to never let the larva dry out; cover the cell bars with a damp towel or if you're taking a long time to graft then use a little drop of plain yogurt to prime the cells, about the same amount as the Royal Jelly puddle the larva are laying in. The larva size should be almost as small as an egg. Make certain to have a full frame of pollen next to the cell bar frame and mucho BEES; thousands of nurse bees; bees boiling out of the hive when you lift the top; a gallon of bees hanging on the front entrance. Oh yeah, almost forgot, did I tell you to have BEES? Keep adding capped brood frames to keep the nurse bee population high. Don't know if the weather has anything to do with it but we've been having low cell starts too; temps in the 90-100 range.  grin
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BjornBee
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2010, 06:22:10 AM »

I could write a few pages on possibilities and scenarios for low/no cells built.

But no sense in that until a few questions are answered.

I key in on your partial comment about "But they also have a frame of honey". I see this as a non-issue, except perhaps indicating the cell builder is way less than it should be. Cell builders many times are full size hives compressed down into a smaller unit to overload the builder with bees. But it should have ample honey, pollen, etc., on a scale of being more than one. You also mention putting on a feeder. (which I usually do not in a flow) Feeding is best served by doing this for the week prior, or at least a few days in advance of the bars being introduced. Putting on the feed at the same time as you put in the bars, is not time enough for the bees to prep properly if needed. Bees do not react that soon.


Can you describe your cell builder? How many frames, setup, stores, etc. How long queenless?

Low counts, can be for many things. Seasonal (we are after the summer solstice which is a huge thing), dearth, etc.

No cell counts can be due to other larvae being chosen from their own comb ignoring your offerings, a second queen in the hive, bad eggs being selected with viral issues, really poor grafting, over heating or cooling the larvae while grafting (are you wet or dry grafting?), and many other things.

Double grafting or having the bees polish the cups prior to grafting would change your take rate, but I do think that would be reason for none at all. There is something else going on, so don't focus on the small stuff yet.

For the record, my grafting rates are down this year also. Probably for a host of reasons.
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Rabbitdog
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Location: Lynchburg, VA


« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2010, 02:04:56 PM »

Thanks for the responses.  Looks like I'll be trying again tomorrow.  Temps were in the upper 80s and I'm not real fast at grafting, so maybe some dried out a bit.
My cell builder is a nuc with 3 frames of capped and emerging brood and 1 frame of honey (the 5th frame was the cell bar).  A week prior to inserting the grafts, I took the mature colony apart to make the builder.  Then I moved the queen with the rest of the original colony to another location in the middle of the day.  I assume the little nuc box would be overflowing with returning bees, however I was surprised that the returning foragers didn't seem to explode the population much.  In any case, they were packed well with bees.  Of course, there were 8 - 10 queen cells started in various stages of completion.  I took them out and used their royal jelly to prime the cups before grafting.  I tried to use only frames of large larvae or capped cells, however as you know, there are always a few usuable larvae or eggs tucked around the edges that were used to start queens cells.  Since all of that is now completely gone, maybe I'll have better luck.
By the way, this is the same cell builder method that I have successfully raised queens from, by using the cell punch method.
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"Born Po, Die Po" ........ just need to feed myself in between!
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