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Author Topic: Grafting  (Read 2564 times)
psbeekeeper
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« on: September 17, 2010, 09:55:55 PM »

This year I made a split from one of the my last year hives and it's doing great.  Next year I would like to start rearing queens by using the "grafting" method.  I read that you need a starter hive, a builder and a finisher.  How do I make those colonies?  How can I get the correct aged larvae to graft? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated  Smiley
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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2010, 10:21:08 PM »

You don't absolutely need a starter/builder/finisher...it can all be done in a single hive on a smaller scale. I raise smaller (100 or so) queen cells in a queenless/broodless hive. Something I learned from Alan Buckley. Bjorn is who you really need to talk to, I'm sure he'll have lots of good advice for you. MB would have some pointers as well I'm sure.

A good book to get you through the winter is Laidlaw's "Contemporary Queen Rearing".

Scott

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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
psbeekeeper
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2010, 11:06:46 PM »

 Thanks Scott. I hope mb or bjorn chime in here Wink.  I took bjorn's class year when I was a first year beekeeper.  I kind of felt overwelmed at the time but now I think I'm ready.  Smiley
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fish_stix
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2010, 11:47:47 AM »

One method to get the right aged larva follows. Take a clean drawn frame that has had brood in it and place it in a hive overnight, above an excluder, so the bees will clean and polish it. Next day, catch your queen and confine her on that frame in a cage (5"x6" is plenty big) and place it back in the hive for several hours. Remove her after she's laid enough eggs for you and replace the frame in the hive. 3 1/2 to 4 days later those larva are the right age. Make the confinement cage from an excluder so the nurse bees can get in and keep feeding the queen while she's in there. Very simple and almost foolproof!  grin
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psbeekeeper
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 11:31:33 AM »

Excellent technique fish_stix  grin.  Sorry to be  a pain, but what is the most efficient way of capturing my queen in the hive?  She can be a pain to find  Sad  sorry for asking so many questions....
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fish_stix
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 01:08:14 PM »

Either buy a queen catcher or learn to pinch the wings with your pointy finger and thumb.  grin
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 08:27:23 AM »

This year I made a split from one of the my last year hives and it's doing great.  Next year I would like to start rearing queens by using the "grafting" method.  I read that you need a starter hive, a builder and a finisher.  How do I make those colonies?  How can I get the correct aged larvae to graft? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated  Smiley

Many do not have starters, builders, and finishers. It sometime just comes down to resources and number of queens being raised. Some shake bees from many hives to have a starter bursting at the seams. Of course if your raising 60 or 72 cells like some operations, you will need to do this. I tend to graft 16 or 32 cells depending on orders and my schedule. I think you also get better queens this way.

I mostly use one strong hive as my starter and finisher. This does add some extra precaution as any missed rogue cell will doom your graft.

Much of queen rearing is centered around the queen calendar. If you keep true to your dates and schedule, you will do fine. Miss your schedule by one day, and you can lose it all.

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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2010, 09:34:25 AM »

You can do a starter/finisher or separate them...

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesafewgoodqueens.htm
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2010, 08:02:11 PM »

i found I stink at lifting larvae,but after seeing the young girl at Buds do it and then taste the grubs,I tastsed a couple and they had a slight almond flavor.
Now back to your regular scheduled thread. It just came to mind reading here. Wink
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psbeekeeper
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2010, 07:31:38 PM »

This year I made a split from one of the my last year hives and it's doing great.  Next year I would like to start rearing queens by using the "grafting" method.  I read that you need a starter hive, a builder and a finisher.  How do I make those colonies?  How can I get the correct aged larvae to graft? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated  Smiley

Many do not have starters, builders, and finishers. It sometime just comes down to resources and number of queens being raised. Some shake bees from many hives to have a starter bursting at the seams. Of course if your raising 60 or 72 cells like some operations, you will need to do this. I tend to graft 16 or 32 cells depending on orders and my schedule. I think you also get better queens this way.

I mostly use one strong hive as my starter and finisher. This does add some extra precaution as any missed rogue cell will doom your graft.

Much of queen rearing is centered around the queen calendar. If you keep true to your dates and schedule, you will do fine. Miss your schedule by one day, and you can lose it all.



Out of your 16 to 32 cells that you graft, how many usually take?
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hardwood
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2010, 09:34:53 PM »

I know this wasn't directed at me but...I normally can expect 80-90pct take on the cell building. Of course there are a lot of variables to this so nothing is really predictable. I thought all conditions were met this spring and only got 3 nice cells out of 70 or so. That was the first real bust I've had.

I've been using homemade wax cells and seem to get a slightly better take than with the plastic ones.

As for the splits accepting the ripe cells and getting a viable/well mated queen...maybe 80pct there if lucky.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2010, 08:41:52 AM »

expect significant variation in success rate depending on season.  during a  flow in the spring grafting can appear to be too easy... later in the fall when the flow has become irregular don't expect too much success.

for the beginner...
1) if you use wax queen cell cups getting the cells polished ahead of graft day is another step that you will need to add to the total process.

2) priming cups with a bit of royal jelly will greatly improve your initial success.

3) aging larvae*... cut the six sided worker cell into 6 pie slices.  an appropriate size larvae will fit into one of these six slices.  an automatic grafting tool (nothing really automatic about it, as far as I can tell) will somewhat prevent you from grafting overaged larvae since overaged larvae will fall off of the small tongue of the tool.

*Steve Taber suggested that you graft larvae that you cannot see...   
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I am 'the panther that passes in the night'... tecumseh.
psbeekeeper
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2010, 10:36:48 PM »

expect significant variation in success rate depending on season.  during a  flow in the spring grafting can appear to be too easy... later in the fall when the flow has become irregular don't expect too much success.

for the beginner...
1) if you use wax queen cell cups getting the cells polished ahead of graft day is another step that you will need to add to the total process.

Quote
I was going to use jzbz plastic cell cups and let the bees polish them for 24 hours. 

2) priming cups with a bit of royal jelly will greatly improve your initial success.

Quote
that was already part of my plan as well..



3) aging larvae*... cut the six sided worker cell into 6 pie slices.  an appropriate size larvae will fit into one of these six slices.  an automatic grafting tool (nothing really automatic about it, as far as I can tell) will somewhat prevent you from grafting overaged larvae since overaged larvae will fall off of the small tongue of the tool.

Quote
sorry, but I'm not very familiar with that....
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tecumseh
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2010, 07:31:02 AM »

the plastic cells don't need to be polished.

Kelley carries the automatic grafting tool.  It's one large advantage is the tongue of the tool pulls back to drop the larvae in the queen cell cup.  this advantage is somewhat muted if you prime the cells with royal jelly.  I use the flat end of the tool for knocking down cell walls (generally in a line of appropriate size larvae) to make access (with the working end of the grafting tool) easier.  the tongue of the automatic grafting tool is somewhat delicate so special care is required between grafting episodes.  if you go the direction of an automatic grafting tool some replacement tongues are a good idea.

Taber advice that you graft larvae you cannot see is another good rule to consider and follow.
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I am 'the panther that passes in the night'... tecumseh.
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