First Attempt at Queen Grafting

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donwal
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First Attempt at Queen Grafting

Post by donwal » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:09 pm

Finally got a chance to try queen grafting this year.

My first attempt at grafting larva to raise queen cells. This has been a team effort. Pete (Gary Wallace) helped me make up the queen cell starter box last week. With the help of Lesa Pierce and Ken Keever on Saturday (07/04/20) afternoon, we shook nurse bees into the queen cell starter box. I put the queen cell grafting frame in the starter box overnight so they could polish and clean the plastic queen cups. On Sunday morning (07/05/20) when I pulled the queen cell frame out, we saw that the workers had already started drawing wax on some of the cell cups. I picked one of the nuc hives I raised in May to pull a frame from for grafting young larva. I chose a frame with eggs and young larva right next to the eggs so they would be the right age for grafting. I transferred 20 larva into the queen cups and then I put the queen cell grafting frame back into the starter box. The starter box has a frame of honey, a frame with nectar packed with pollen, two frames of emerging brood (with no young larva they could raise a queen from). We also gave them a pollen patty and one quart of sugar water. I checked the queen cell frame on Monday (07/06/20) to see if the workers had started drawing out any of the queen cups. I counted 15 out of 20 queen cells had been started.
First look at queen grafts.
First look at queen grafts.
20200706_183142_Moment.jpg (140.25 KiB) Viewed 706 times
I know a quell cell starter box should not have any brood frames, but I plan on using this starter box again to graft more larva. I wanted the nurse bees to already be established in the box. I figured my first attempt at grafting, I would only have a few cells to take and wanted to be prepared to start over. To increase the drone population in my area, Eddie Fuselier kindly added a green drone frame to one of his hives and I've added four frames to swarms I caught and cut outs I did this year.

Jacobs
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Re: First Attempt at Queen Grafting

Post by Jacobs » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:56 pm

That is an excellent result for a first grafting attempt. Wally had Larry and Janice Tate come down to his place years ago and show several of us how to graft. We didn't have near that good a result with several of us grafting a few larva each into prepared cups in one starter box. What mating nuc set up are you planning on and what are your plans for the queens that do get mated?

donwal
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Re: First Attempt at Queen Grafting

Post by donwal » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:02 pm

I have a few different plans for the queen mating setup (Queen Castle, Mini Mating Nuc Hive, 5 Frame Nuc Hives). The queens I keep will be put in 5 frame nucs or replace queens in the 8 frame hives in the bee yard. I will sell extra queens if I get a call for queens.

DuaneB
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Re: First Attempt at Queen Grafting

Post by DuaneB » Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:04 pm

Nice job! I've been wanting to give it a try and see if I can be successful as well. Practice up for next year.

donwal
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Re: First Attempt at Queen Grafting

Post by donwal » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:56 pm

Checked the queen grafting frame after work today. All 15 queen cells are capped. Will move them this weekend to splits, queen castle or mating nucs.
15 capped queen cells.
15 capped queen cells.
20200709_190156_Moment.jpg (237.28 KiB) Viewed 644 times

Wally
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Re: First Attempt at Queen Grafting

Post by Wally » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:11 am

Beautiful outcome for the first try. As Jacobs said, much better than our first. CONGRATS!!

donwal
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Re: First Attempt at Queen Grafting

Post by donwal » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:30 pm

Thank you Wally! I had 13 queens emerge this week from the 20 larva that were grafted. I am happy with this first round of queens. They are beautiful. Now hoping that they all make it out and back on their mating flights.

donwal
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Re: First Attempt at Queen Grafting

Post by donwal » Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:53 pm

This girl has had a busy weekend! Ended up having 12 queens to emerge and spent the weekend setting up new hive for the queens. With the help of Lease Pierce and Ken Keever, they all got a place to go. Ken is learning when beekeeping, plans change with the wind. Now the waiting game...hope they all make it out and back on their mating flights. I wish I had been able to get a picture of all of them. It was cool to see the different colors of all of them. Here is the video we took of pulling out the frame with the roller cages to see how many queens emerged. I became a silly girl with excitement to see how many I had. I hope you enjoy the video and get a good laugh.

https://youtu.be/WQIITRqwD48

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