Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I finally went back to my 'old' way of doing things and made my own wax cups, primed them with royal jelly, and grafted the larvae into them. Out of 26 cells I had 20 that were accepted by the bees. The advantage I think to making your own cells are several-fold: Cost...they're free. Freshness...they are brand new and so don't have a chance to build up any wax bloom on them that I think deters the bees from accepting them. "Crispness" By that I mean that the edges of the cells, when properly made, are sharper than those available commercially. Having the thinnest, most pliable edges on the cells I think increases the rate of acceptance. The bees seem to prefer them.
After grafting I wait 24 hours to check to see how many are accepted. If the bees have begun to draw out the cell you can generally assume it has been accepted. You mark the graft date down on the calendar and make a note 10 days later to remove the cells to the mating nucs. I generally place two cells into each nuc (in case one is a dud) and let the queens emerge and take their mating flights.