I am trying to decide on two things:
1) should I prime the cell cups with royal jelly?
2) should I use a swarm box?
1) I tried it and decided there was no difference. Jay Smith tried it long before me and came to the same conclusion.
2) I keep meaning to try it, but haven't got it done. It's a well proven method if you do it right. Marla Spivak's method is similar to Jay Smith's except for the use of a wet sponge on the bottom for water for the swarm box. Both Marla and Jay put open brood above an excluder so they can just shake the bees off of these combs and know there are a lot of nurse bees that were busy nursing when you shook them in and now have no brood to feed, so they will feed the queen cells.
Michael: In Jay's book, he mentions to prime the cells with royal jelly mix.
When they put the open brood above an excluder, do they do this a few days before making up the swarm box?
You put open brood above the excluder as you make the swarm box. That way after the grafts have been in the swarm box for 24 hours you place them next to the open brood above the excluder to get the queen cells finished.
The only reason to put open brood above the excluder a few days before making up the swarm box would be if you are hopeless at finding queens. I would shake all bees into the bottom box and place the open brood above the excluder. Later, when the bees cover the open brood you know that the queen is below the excluder and you know those are young nurse bees, just the ones needed for the swarm box.
I would say that neither is necessary for success, but wet grafting sure is a lot easier for me. The larva floats easily off the spoon and does not dry out during grafting or transfer to the cell builder. RJ is not the only thing you can prime a cell with but it is what I like.
John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com
Warm water, just the smallest drop from a syringe
I used to prime cells as an advantage to removing larva. I now dry graft. Usually I can get the small larva off with no problem. IMO grafting with royal jelly is a waste of time, when normally the nurse bees will remove all existing jellies and replace with new.
>Michael: In Jay's book, he mentions to prime the cells with royal jelly mix.
In better queens he says he gave it up because they just remove it anyway. I saw no difference in acceptance or quality when I did it, and it was a lot less work to not do it.
In Queen Rearing Simplified, I believe (but I'll have to look it up later) that Jay said he did prime the cells with royal jelly. Doolittle also did, if I remember right.
When I graft into wax cells I donÂ’t mind grafting dry but into plastic I usually put a drop of fresh honey that I get from the frame that I am grafting from.
If a job is worth doing - Then do it well