Before you win big. you have to lose big…

“If you want to win big, first you have to lose big. So what are we doing now? We’re losing big!” Some Kind Of Wonderful, 1987. It was odd line that has always stayed burrowed in the back of my mind. Yesterday it seemed to fit more than usual.

My queen grafts didn’t take, so Noah and I both agreed that we should remove the excluder and give the queen more room to lay. However, since she is so hard to find, we also agreed we should mark her with a yellow dot. See how I am allocating half the blame to Noah – that’s what friends are for.

We had already captured the queen in a hairclip cage but needed to move her to a marking cylinder. Nervously, we started to open the cage but I stopped everything and said, “Wait! Lets do it over the hive just incase something goes wrong we won’t lose her.”

Good thinking, huh?

So we moved over to the top of the hive and slowly opened the cage. In a flash, the queen flew out and landed on Noah’s arm. I lurched for her but in an instance she was in flight again.

Even now, I can see it so clearly in my mind as if I were flying right behind her in a CGI movie. The bold rust colored queen soaring in a straight line towards the emerald backdrop of ivy that covered the fence. My heart pounding and the slow motion “N_o_o_o_o_o_o_o_o_o” ringing in my ears.

I told Noah to stay put on one side of the fence while I rushed to the other side… yet there was no sign of her and, like so many other redheads in my life, she was just gone.

I’ve been fervently praying for peace in my heart and I am beginning to think that God is answering that prayer… by sending such an elaborate excess of equine excrement that I am simple ceasing to give a fuck!

Anyway… we drank wine.

Moving on:

(15) Grafts (0) Success. I really felt like I did everything right. Nonetheless, possible things I may have done wrong:

  1. The wax I used to make my cell cups came from an old hive that I had used Maverick mite chemicals on. This chemical could have been impregnated in the wax.
  2. I put all of the brood in the cell builder side of the hive. I doubt this was the issue since the bees didn’t draw out any of the other cells either.
  3. I did a poor job grafting my larva. Possible but I really think I did a pretty good job. The larva was very tiny and adjacent to the eggs. I took my time and made sure not to flip the larva.
  4. I took too long. It took me (26) minutes to make the (15) grafts. It was a very warm day (about 80degrees) so I don’t think the brood got chilled.
  5. I didn’t give the hive enough time to feel queenless. I segregated the queen at 5:00pm Saturday and placed my grafted cells around 7:00pm Sunday. (26) hours should have been enough time but if it was, then why didn’t the hive draw queen cells from the larva I didn’t graft?

I have a new plan. I plan to make a starter colony out of a (5) frame nuc and place it next to my grafting hive. I will keep the starter hive queenless and give it a new frame of brood every two weeks. I will use the grafting hive as my finisher hive and place the cells in that hive once they have been capped.

I was really hoping to do the cloak board method but I think a more traditional setup might work better.

I’ll sort this out Saturday.

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