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Thread: Q-rearing paraphernalia

  1. #1

    Default Q-rearing paraphernalia

    Several quandaries going on here ...
    • [1]Each time I prepare to raise queen cells I ponder whether I need to familiarise the bees with the cell-bar frame (sprayed with syrup). Some say do, some say don't bother. What's the verdict?
      [2]Plastic queen cups ~ use once only? These are often left very clean after use, or having had their larvae rejected. To re-use or not to re-use?
      [3] Do you feed the queen raiser only when there's no nectar flow or do you feed anyway?
      [4] What's the ideal feeding method for the queen raiser? Perhaps overhead slow feeder or risk drowing with frame feeder (though I now use netting in these which works much better than the float)? Perhaps a frame with water and another with fondant?
      [5]Do you recommend some water source in a sponge or feeder for the cell raiser in warm weather?

    Too many options aren't there. Hey, but wouldn't it be dull if there was just one method and one "correct" way to use it!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    1. I have put in a brand new frame with brand new cell cups and got half the grafts started no problem. key factor is the state of the colony not the smell or lack of it of the cell bar frame.

    2. Use as often as you like as long as they are clean and just have wax at the base. Cocoons need to be cleaned out. Rarely worth the time as you can buy 100 for 4.

    3.I rarely feed. best to raise cells when external conditions are conducive for it ie good weather and a nectar flow.

    4. Occasionally I feed a litre a day via a rapid feeder

    5. Never seen the need for that

  3. #3
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    I also don't think it's necessary to familiarise the bees with the cell bar frame. When setting up the boxes I'll leave an empty frame or a frame of stores in the location I'm going to introduce the cell bar frame. I suspect the reduction in disruption to the colony (when retrieving it to graft in) more than compensates for the potential better take with a familiarised frame.

    And related to point 2 ... if the grafts haven't worked when first checked (@24 hours or sooner) I'll either redraft into the same cups or swap some out and replace with brand new ones and graft into them. I rent not to reuse, but have just rinsed them in boiling water to leave a thin film of wax, and then reused them.

    I only feed if there's no strong flow or if the weather is going to be poor. I only use a frame feeder, usually built-in to the fat dummy in the Ben Harden setup.

    My apiaries all have a burn close by. No need for water, but I never bothered in the past either ...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    I think the most important factor is having the cell starter really crammed with young bees. A six frame nuc is a good cell raiser as long as it is really packed out with bees and you dont offer more than 20 grafts.
    A starter queenless nuc combined with a finisher queenright colony is a good combination or you could use a cloake board.
    I keep meaning to try a cloake board but what I do works for me so I keep putting it off.
    I have about 60 queens mated so far with the first ones starting to lay on 31st May.
    Using an incubator doubles your production as you can move in cells on day 5 from grafting and then graft in another frame of larvae to your starter colony.

  5. #5

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    Very helpful guys. Thanks. So many suggestions out there and, being fairly new to this, I can find myself dithering about the detail. Currently using a Morris board which concentrates the bees more than a Cloake board as top box divided. Grafts can be added to the "other" side after 7 days or so while older ones finishing. I'm also running a cell starter + finisher set up. Wanted to compare how I got on with each of these and will settle for one when I see how they go.

    Jon, I think you mentioned you can keep your cell starter going for the season. If so, do you add a frame of emerging brood (separated from Q for ≠6 days so no suitable larvae on it) box every 10 days or so or shake in more young bees from brood frames with every set of grafts or maybe every second time?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    I add frames of sealed brood to the cell starter and I also often add the frame I have just taken the grafts off as it saves opening the other colony to put it back. Obviously you need to check this for queen cells later but if you want to keep the unit stable it is good to have some open brood there from time to time.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    I add frames of sealed brood to the cell starter and I also often add the frame I have just taken the grafts off as it saves opening the other colony to put it back. Obviously you need to check this for queen cells later but if you want to keep the unit stable it is good to have some open brood there from time to time.
    Jon do you close the cell-raiser for the first 24 hours or so or, once it's up and running, leave it open all the time? And do you put Q excluder over the entrance to prevent any wandering virgins being tempted in (though perhaps they might squeeze in when young)?

    If you move cells to the finisher, after how long? And do you brush off the bees from the starter? I'm always concerned not to disturb cell builders too much.

    Lots of questions ... and I hope you don't mind sharing all this ... but the devil is in undoubtedly in the detail with Q rearing!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Cell starter is open all the time, no excluder on the entrance so there is a risk a virgin could find her way in. Has happened the odd time but not often enough to put an excluder on. The cells are of course safe in a queenright system as they are in the top box above an excluder.
    Sometimes I move cells to the finisher after 24 hours, sometimes longer, sometimes finished in the starter if I cant get over to move them.
    You don't need to brush off bees from the cell bar frame. They are accepted in any colony. Just lift out the frame from one colony to the other.

  9. #9
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    When I was raising a fair few queens, some 50 a year I offered a well provided 5 frame nuc of shook young bees with 36 grafts at a time and did pretty well the best ever being 32 accepted.

    Personally I make my own wax cups as they are easier to slide the grafting tool out from under as I can press the tool slightly into the wax. But that's my way. It may or may not suit you.

    Never familiarized as never saw the need and did fine. I know quite a few reuse plastic cups and I would think if they are well cleaned up they would work well enough.

    PH

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