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Author Topic: Queen cells failing  (Read 1369 times)

Offline D Coates

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Queen cells failing
« on: August 01, 2011, 03:49:59 PM »
I've been working with my grafting skills this year and I've run into some challenges.  I graft 12 to 14 larva into propolized J-Z Q-cells and along with one frame of pollen and anther of open larva (too old to be made into queens) I dump a 10 frame super's worth of bee's in the (3-4 pounds).  I give them good airflow with a SBB nuc and a 2" shim with 8 screened 1 1/4" holes and a feeder jar on the top with 1:1 syrup.  They draw out the cells with live queens nicely and I had 12 of the last 14 I did get to the drawn out stage.  Similar to the week before.  I then put them, along with the 2 other frames (pollen and open brood) above a queen excluder in the middle of a deep full of capped frames.  Fast forward 7 days.  I had only 4 of the 12 queen cells capped, and a couple were freshly torn down.  I feel very confident that it's not another queen as they'd all be dead and drilled out from the side.  It's very hot here but they've got a great soybean flow going on (finally, after 4 years since the last one).

Any advise would be appreciated.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Queen cells failing
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2011, 01:44:10 AM »
Cell building is all about density.  I would compress the hive (remove any empty space and maybe even some honey and capped brood and maybe shake in extra bees).
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Offline D Coates

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Re: Queen cells failing
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2011, 10:42:35 AM »
I'll try that.  Thanks!
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Offline BjornBee

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Re: Queen cells failing
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2011, 07:59:56 PM »
I have talked to a good number of breeders this year, and one thing is clear...this was a very difficult year for queen rearing. Why? Hard to say. Why did many states see 50-80% overall hive losses last winter. Hard to tell.

But one thing is true for me. I've done everything the same as in years past. And this year, if I got 50% takes on my grafts, I was happy.

Some things you should keep in mind:

Grafting before the summer solstice is different than grafting afterwards. Bees are much in tune with the shortening of the day light, and even the slowing of the flow. And I have found that feeding alone has limited results without a flow stimulating the bees to bring in nectar.

I shut down grafting a few weeks back as my last two grafts was 5 and 4 out of two grafts of 32. Nothing to write home about. Earlier in the year, I had some good grafts, 30 out of 32 and some real lousy. For the most part, if I was getting 50% take, I was happy.

Don't let anyone fool you. Every breeder has difficulties from time to time. Those who never say they have anything less than something like 98% every year are mostly full of crap.

I keep very detailed notes. Temp, what was used to prime the cups, strength of hive, etc. And sometimes no matter what you do, it just seems like the bees are in no mood to make the cells you want.

Keep chugging along. Although at this point of the year, your not going to get much. April, May, and June....great grafting time. July and August....I just waste my time.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 09:23:31 AM by BjornBee »
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Offline fish_stix

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Re: Queen cells failing
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2011, 12:31:54 PM »
Same as BjornBee. During the summer we have a large loss of cells in the cell builders. They start out great and draw them out and cap them then start tearing them down. 50% is a good take. During the spring they never tear them down once they're capped. Just pulled a graft yesterday; started with 40 out of 45 cells grafted. Capped 37 cells. Final tally was 21 cells and one already emerged in the cell builder.