I tried raising a number of queens with little success. I guess I tried to take too many shortcuts and only got a couple of huge queen cells out of the 20 cell cups I started. I am wondering where I went wrong and could use some advice from someone that has done it.
I quickly found the queen I was going to use as my mother queen and decided I would use the same colony as my cell builder. I placed the queen in the jenter cage and set her in a box on the side while I arranged the colony for queen rearing.
I arranged the colony as follows=
1. bottom box with capped brood, honey and pollen in the bottom box.
2. empty deep above the bottom box for field bees and possible honey flow
4. Cloake board in closed position
5. deep with capped brood, open honey and pollen and space for queen cells frames.
6. I shook so many bees from uncapped brood frames that I had to put a box with foundation on top just to get them to fit in. I added a feeder full of sugar syrup in the box.
This yard is a long trip for me so I decided to give the queen a few hours to lay eggs and then transfer the cell cups to the top box. It turned out that she wouldn't lay while I was there and I wasn't able to do that. I decided to leave her in the cage in the top box overnight and have a friend release her into the bottom box the next day. By then she had layed in most of the cell cups. He transferred the cell cups to the cell holders and placed them in the top box between frames of honey and pollen. The rest of the box was full of hatching brood so I figured I had plenty of nurse bees, food and sugar syrup. When he returned to check 7 days later I had only 2 of 21 cells being developed. I am wondering why I had such poor acceptance. Could it be that I needed to give them time to realize they were queenless or is it the Apistan I used last year. I also wondered if I needed to leave the cell grid in the colony till the eggs hatched and were developing larvae before I moved them into the queen cell position. Any ideas from someone that has reared queens would be appreciated. I know in my reading I found one person that used a frame of brood between his grafted frames and another that had good luck with no uncapped brood in his cell starter so I don't know what is the best way for me.