Q7 was started on Sunday, July 26th, 2015. I used the same nurse hive as for Q4 and Q6 at the farm: bottom deep with open brood, queen and foragers. On that a queen excluder and the cloak board. On that the second deep with capped brood (about 4 frames and honey). Feeder on top. Original opening closed mostly and the new opening halve way up facing forward (hive rotated). See photos. This hive is a Cleopatra, from 2014, a split form Mel’s Cleopatra
I set it up in the morning and the same afternoon grafted 18 larva from my new Pennsylvania overwinter Queen from the breeder in PA (I call her Pauw). I had dipped the plastic cups in wax and moulded extra was around the cups. The cloak slider was on until tuesday evening, so just 48h. The bees were taking a quart of food and it was pretty busy in the hive, though not as full as with Q6.
On tuesday, 7 cells were started and were a good length. On one of the brood frames, the bees found eggs and larva on the bottom rows that were young enough to make more queen cells: 7 more, not very big, but ah…
I kept feeding the hive every day for the first week. The cells were capped on july 29th, with the exception of a few of the natural cells.
In Q5 we had seen that queens in natural cells can emerge before the grafted ones. Maybe better thermoregulation? To avoid these queens from getting to the grafted once, I borrowed a queen excluder from Liz and installed that frames with one other brood frame in yet a third deep. Feeder op top.
I reduced the feeding to every other day, occasionally checking the cells. They were all intact!
Today, august 5th, day 10 after grafting, I harvested the cells. No queens had emerged, all cells were still intact.
I had set up 2 nucs with frames of brood from one of my Q5. I counted on being able to use the frame with natural cells and one more for 2 more nucs. That worked for me. The first Pauw cell that I tried to take of the bar got crushed. I decided not to use it anymore and took the opportunity to open it to check the state of the queens. This one was no longer white, with purple eyes, but not yet moving. Liz and I saw the same in Q5 when we opened cells. Those queens hatched fine later. I installed 3 Pauw queen cells in my nucs. Of of these nucs must have had a small opening, as it was being robbed. Mel did not have his nucs ready, and it was to crazy in his yard with bees and trenches to attempt to do that in the middle of the day (way to hot, and I fell in the trench once).
I used nail scissors and cut out two natural Cleo’s, thinking to used these for Liz. That was not easy. I messed one up. The next, I cut around more generously. Stuck the piece of comb with the queen cell in a halve drawn frame, using a tooth pick. Installed the rest with the whole frame in one of my nucs.
Off to Todd’s, who had prepared a really nice nuc with two frames of brood and stored. Classic, beautiful. We installed a Pauw cell in his hive. He took some pictures which I hope he will add.
Next, Liz’s yard. Liz had set up 3 compartments in her queen castle, on top of one of her hives. In two, we had installed a frame with a modest amount of capped brood and bees last sunday. Those compartments were empty. Emerging bees were abandoned.
Liz had set up a third compartment that looked much happier: bees, stores, but the bees were not very docile. I installed a Pauw cell, took some photo’s and closed it up. I did not fill the feeder; there was enough honey and nectar on the frame.
At that point I was still left with the two carved out cells and a Pauw cell, so I drove back to the farm and re-united these with the nurse hive: Pauw in the second story, Cleo cells in the third, each separated from Cleo mother and each other with queen excluders.
After that, I decided that I needed more nuc boxes to be able to have double story nuc hives, so I drove to Mr Martin. He had a few. I also bought some in hive frame feeders.
Just got back. Ate dinner, drinking a (alcohol free) beer.
Good day for me. Have not yet figured out how to get the photo’s from my phone to the computer.