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James Withington

Starter Cells

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I cant find the answer to this question on the forum so I am just going to ask.

 

I have transferred the day old larva into my starter box with lots of bees. My question is 'how long do i leave the queens to be in the starter box?'. I recall reading somewhere that you leave the grafted cells for only two days in the starter box before returning the bees and grafted cells back to the queenless hive to finish off. Is this correct or is my memory fading.

 

Cheers

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i don't know much on it, but starter is 1-2 days.

a starter is a queenless hive. gets moved to a finisher hive which has an old queen and/or pheromone reducer board in it.

start them under emergency cell impulse, finish them under supercedure impulse or swarm impulse.

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Update: so i have checked the cells and 7 of the 19 are filled with royal jelly and had the cells extended. Its looking good to have created up to 7 new queens. feeling quite stoked about it to be honest. That's a 600% increase since the last time.

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Leave them in the starter - queenless hive with capped brood, pollen and uncapped honey - for 24-36 hours, then transfer them to a queen-right hive (with queen excluder!) with plenty of pollen again, uncapped honey and young larvae. You want to draw the nurse bees up to feed your queens. In both types of cell builder the brood should be on one side of the cells and the pollen on the other. They should probably also be having a feed still at this time of the year to encourage wax making which is required for the queen cells. 1-2 litres of 40:60 sugar:water for your starter and 3-4 litres for your finisher.

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Post Analysis: So i checked the state of my 'queen cells' as they should be sealed now and awaiting hatching, but i found that none of them gotten past the larva stage. They seemed to have died for some reason and remain sitting in the royal jelly. Thoughts please as to what went wrong.

 

Possibilities are;

1. I should have left the starter hive until the cells were sealed

2. The recent over night cold temperatures have had something to so with it

3. Once moved back into a finishing colony the bees ignored the cells

4. Something else I'm missing

 

Your thoughts suggestions etc are always welcome. quite disappointed as it was looking so promising.

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So here's my guess. Your finisher wasn't strong enough, and/or you didn't move enough of the young larvae up. The nurses prioritised the unsealed larvae below and neglected what was above.

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Or the queen was accidentally transferred up, or lack of pollen/nectar or sugar syrup. Queen cell building requires wax so there needs to be a nectar flow, medium is best, or a syrup simulation of a nectar flow. When we started queen breeding we were told there are 1001 things that need to be right! The question is always - which one (or more) did I not get right? Getting good cells and good queens is hard work -keep going at it, you will get it right in time.

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@James Withington im just going over your timeline. On monday you posted you had just transfered your one day old lavae into a starter box was it actually on the Monday just gone?

 

If it was then its too soon for the cells to be capped.

 

When you say they appear to have died in the cell what about how they look makes you think that?

 

after taking them from your stater box you say you transfered them to a queenless finisher, is that right or did you mean queenright

finisher?

.

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Frazzledfozzle here was my timeline; (don't be confused by the date of my posting)

 

16 October the queen was placed into the Jenter box.

17 October she was released and had laid in all of the caps. The jenter box was left in the hive for the eggs to hatch.

20 October the caps were transferred into the cups and moved into a starter nuc with lots of nurse bees. Eggs had just hatched and we very hard to see the larva.

26 October 7 cells has royal jelly and larva in the middle, the cells has been drawn and were looking good (hence the reason for the inital question on this thread about when to transfer back to the finishing hive)

30 October checked to see the status of the cells, expecting to see them sealed. However they hadn't developed any further from when placed in the finishing hive.

 

I am wondering if the finishing hive i used is the problem. It has been queenless for several weeks now and broodless and I thought that as the cells were so far along in development they would have been sealed. Maybe this is where it went wrong.

 

Hopefully that provides additional information to assist in your prognosis

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16 October the queen was placed into the Jenter box.

17 October she was released and had laid in all of the caps. The jenter box was left in the hive for the eggs to hatch.

20 October the caps were transferred into the cups and moved into a starter nuc with lots of nurse bees. Eggs had just hatched and we very hard to see the larva.

26 October 7 cells has royal jelly and larva in the middle, the cells has been drawn and were looking good (hence the reason for the inital question on this thread about when to transfer back to the finishing hive)

30 October checked to see the status of the cells, expecting to see them sealed. However they hadn't developed any further from when placed in the finishing hive.

no mention in there of when you transferred to finishing hive

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no mention in there of when you transferred to finishing hive

 

On 26 October they went back to the finishing hive.

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On 26 October they went back to the finishing hive.

6 days before moving to finisher i would say is far to late. they should be in the starter for a day or two.

i would guess that because your using a jenter and not grafted, a single day in the starter would be ample.

 

how was the finisher setup? how strong was it? pheromone board? age of queen? was brood lifted up?

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When producing queen cells you have to have ALOT of young nurse bees because they are the bees that feed the copious amounts of royal jelly needed to produce a queen.

If your hive had been queenless for a while it may not have very many young bees.

What was your starter made up of?

Next time just leave them in the starter if you are only raising a few cells at a time. Not much point in moving from a queenless starter to a queenless finisher.

 

We start our cells in a queenless starter and finish in a queenright hive.

.

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I agree with frazz a hive that has been q less for that amount of time will not be any good as a finisher, the best finisher hives are queen right. The queen cells are finished off in a box above an excluder with the queen in the bottom box. This is what it looks like when your mated queen gets through your excluder as we found out today. image.jpeg.3c88f1e997eb40c3916d9fa902b4179a.jpeg

image.jpeg.3c88f1e997eb40c3916d9fa902b4179a.jpeg

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Merciless female!

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To right! I caught her in the act this afternoon. I personally removed her from the bar and put her back bellow the excluder.

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@James Withington why not have another crack at it but this time leave your cells in the starter the whole time.

 

How did youu make up your starter?

 

If you have a nuc box you can make up a starter from one of your hives by taking a frame of mostly sealed brood and a frame of open honey and a frame with a good amount of pollen. Put those in the nuc box then shake all the bees from the brood frames of your hive till the nuc is overflowing.

Obviously make sure theres no queen.

Put your graft in and leave it there until the cells are ready to install into nucs. Leave the entrance of the nuc open so the bees can come and go and when you are finished put the bees and frames back into your hive with a little squirt of airfreshener.

.

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Merciless female!

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

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Like Thomas Edison said 'Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up'. Don't worry frazzledfozzie, i am one step ahead there, already had the queen lay into the Jenter kit. Today is day 3.

 

Plus also looking at giving the cloake board technique a go.

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I am wondering if the finishing hive i used is the problem. It has been queenless for several weeks now and broodless and I thought that as the cells were so far along in development they would have been sealed. Maybe this is where it went wrong.
Yes the finisher was the problem. Long term queenless hive could have many issues including laying workers or virgin queens you don't know about.

 

Finishing hives should be a strong normal hive with the queen below an excluder, cells above the excluder. There are other little refinements you can add but that's the basics.

 

Don't give up, give it another try I think you have the makings of success once you have refined your method.

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Or the queen was accidentally transferred up, or lack of pollen/nectar or sugar syrup. Queen cell building requires wax so there needs to be a nectar flow, medium is best, or a syrup simulation of a nectar flow. When we started queen breeding we were told there are 1001 things that need to be right! The question is always - which one (or more) did I not get right? Getting good cells and good queens is hard work -keep going at it, you will get it right in time.

I have seen the situation where the queen is in the finisher box with the cells.

She tore them down as they were sealed but not before.

I was able to remove her to a cage placed on the top bars and allow the bees to finish the remaining cells.

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Hmm me thinks I am going to start a new thread called 'the Dummies guide of how not to be a beekeeper'. I am going to write up all the humorous muck ups that I seem to experience on a regular basis. Hopefully someone gets a chuckle or even a laugh out loud time.

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