The modified Snelgrove board by Pasaga Ramic is an excellent starter board.

Where you usually have the broodnest box(-es) – on the bottom board – you place a queenless box with bees, with or without a couple of brood frames. A lot of bees in it is good, but not a must. It will receive a lot of field bees from the brood box(-es). Upon this queenless box you place the starter board with a small entrance in the opposite direction compared to the main entrance. (Picture 1)

01 Brädan  Picture 1

Now you place the brood box(-es) on the starter board. If the colony is strong you may have a queen excluder on top and a super. (Picture 2)

02 Brädan Picture 2

Next day you graft, 15, 30 or more cells depending on the strenght of the colony and the nectar flow. You place the grafted cells in the bottom box. Which means some lifting, so it’s a good thing not to have more than a few food frames in the brood box(-es). Otherwise it may be a lot of heavy lifting.

Next day again, one day after grafting you manipulate the boxes. The bottom box with the cells you move to the side temporarily and put the brood box(-es) on the bottom board. Then the excluder. (Picture 3)

03 Brädan Picture 3

The box with the grafted cells you put on the excluder. Now you can check how many cells the bees are building. (Picture 4)

04 Brädan Picture 4

Then comes the supers, covering plastic sheet if you use that, and a covering board (inner cover). On top you store the starter board until next time. Then the outer cover. (Picture 5)

05 Brädan Picture 5

Three days later Rebecka  brings the capped cells to the incubator. If a cell is not capped, she takes the royal jelly in a small bottle and dilute it with somewhat water. She uses a matchstick and puts a drop of this solution in each cell just before grafting next  time.

If you let a colony incubate the cells above an excluder use at least two broodframes on each side of the capped cells. Otherwise the bees may not keep the correct temperature for the cells. To prevent the bees from destroying one or more cells you may cover the cells with cages.

The best cell starter