Your bees should all be doing well now that there is plenty of nectar sources for the bees to forage on. Keep an eye on your mite populations and if you see more than you should, then consider using the GREEN DRONE COMB. These combs are plastic and have the drone cell size embossed on them already. The strategy behind the green comb is to have the queen lay these full of drone eggs, because the mites like the longer brood cycle of the drones (24 days until they emerge). Once the green drone comb is sealed, remove it, freeze it for 24 hours, scrap out the dead mites (and drones), then put it back in. Use 1 or 2 green comb against the wall of a deep hive body.
When I first started I would watch my grafting, looking into each cell and watching the whole time. Now, once I see the right aged larva, I do not look but just scoop and drop.
I usually graft about 60 cells at a time. I have a second set of paper towels handy so that I can cover the cells that I graft to keep them moist. Remember temperature is not so much of an issue when larvae are this young, but they can dry out.
So when I finish each bar, I cover it with a wet paper towel and keep covering each one I complete until I am ready to place the frames of cells into my starter hive.
Now transfer your grafts into your starter hive for 24-36 hours. Then, move them over to a larger queenright hive above a queen excluder. Just remember, the cups are going to be capped around day 8 so you can remove the queen cells and place them in your nucs between day 8-10. In case you grafted older larva, you might have your timing of emergence off, so to avoid a queen killing the rest by emerging early, I like to gather my sealed cells on day 10, not day 11!
In lesson 34 we demonstrated how to use a marking tube. But watch the video below as I show you how to mark a queen by holding her. First you pick her off the comb by her wings. Hold the tip of your index finger near her legs and she will hold on with her legs. Then, bring your thumb up and hold her by a couple of legs. We exclusively use this field approach to marking our queens. My video is a bit out of focus, but you can get the idea. Click on the image below to watch the video. If you are viewing this lesson within your Email program, you may not be able to view the video. If that's the case, then you'll need to read this lesson from our website at: http://basicbeekeeping.blogspot.com
Until the next lesson, BEE-have yourself!
David & Sheri Burns