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  1. #1
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    Feb 2003
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    Question Buying royal jelly for grafting

    I have never bought royal jelly for grafting. I see in Bee Culture that you can buy R.J. in quantity from Glory Bee foods.

    Is there any pitfalls or negative impact from using this type of royal jelly?

    How is it best stored, used, used straight/mixed, etc?

    I have had good success with non royal jelly substances, but wonder if this is worth the money and will it make a difference in grafting takes?

    Please P.M. with any comments if you want to keep it off the general board.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    I don't see the point. I have good success w/out priming the cells. Maybe its a matter of preference. I don't do it. Too much will drown the larvae or so I've read.

    I try to get a decent amount of RJ with the larvae when I graft. I think part of the key is to graft carefully BUT quickly. Then before the RJ/larvae has a chance to dry out put it into the starter or into a humid warm environment.

    Last year I grafted outside on a fairly warm day and was doing multiple cell bars. I made the mistake of not keeping the first ones in a protective environment and they had significantly dried before I got them into the starters and had to regraft them. It can happen quickly.

    My personal, unprofessional opinion is its unecessary to use additional RJ if the grafting process is handled correctly.

    I'm sure others will disagree.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  3. #3
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    Jul 2004
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    Seattle, Washington State
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    bjorn: What do you prime with?

    I havent primed with anything this last season but the season before, I would swab with water and a swab stick.

  4. #4
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    I have never bought royal jelly for grafting. I see in Bee Culture that you can buy R.J. in quantity from Glory Bee foods.

    Is there any pitfalls or negative impact from using this type of royal jelly?
    I don't know, but after seeing the PBS special last week, it may be from China! Do you know the source?

    - Barry

  5. #5
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    Chef and Dan,
    I usually use some thinned honey and use about 1/4 of a normal drop of water. I'll sometimes go back with a q-tip and even out the drop so its not one big drop/bubble of water (cut down on drownings)

    Other times, there seems to be enough substance with the larvae already in good fed/primed hives in which the larvae are being grafted from.

    I sometimes have a graft(take) of 39 out of 40 and at other times I have 5 out of 40. I have confidence in my grafting ability. But I am trying to eliminate any variables that may be coming into play.

    Do I take too much time? Too hot? Something else? not sure.

    But since I make up my grafting solution every time fresh, it certainly may be playing a factor, as it has to be different from time to time.

    I just don't know if royal jelly would smooth out some of the wild differences from one graft to another.

    I'm certainly looking at everything else also. This just being the one I'm thinking about now.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    I don't know, but after seeing the PBS special last week, it may be from China! Do you know the source?

    - Barry
    I did not ask Glory Bee on the phone yesterday in asking questions. But their ad says some sort of certificate of analysis is included. Not sure if that would say anything or not. I guess I'll ask.

    Anyone else get any from gloryBee?

  7. #7
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    Aug 2005
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    Manitoba, Canada, North of the 50th Parallel
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    Might be some on the forum that don't like this:


    When I graft, I first pick up a bit of jelly from more mature cells and put it into the cell cups. Then I graft the larvae into the cells.


    JH
    Last edited by Jonathan Hofer; 11-01-2007 at 08:12 AM.
    Happiness comes from within

  8. #8
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    Apr 2004
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    Wheatfield, IN
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    I usually use some thinned honey and use about 1/4 of a normal drop of water.
    I guess I've just always worried about adding anything that may detract from the success. Since I don't know the composition and can't replicate the RJ already in the cell with the larvae I just tried to use what was available.

    I've been afraid to add honey or anything else to the mix as I don't know what potential yeasts or diseases or whatever else may be present and may be to the detriment of the larvae and/or eventual queen. To me it was just another possible introduction point for something harmful.

    I guess I just look at all the possible introduction points for problems or adding something negative to the mix.... grafting tool, cell cup, the environment (too hot, dry etc). Then to add something else to the mix like honey, water, RJ from a different source, etc.. .just increases the chance for failure or at least inferiority in my opinion.

    Probably unfounded but still my concern.
    Last edited by Dan Williamson; 11-01-2007 at 08:33 AM.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  9. #9
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    Jun 2006
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    North Carolina
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    Royal jelly from Communist China has been tested positive for the virus, IAPV. Produce your own royal jelly. You can add a little water to the royal jelly to lessen the viscosity of the royal jelly. (Distilled water does not contain any bacteria.) Adding water to the royal jelly will make it easier to put the royal jelly into the queen cells. Another alternative is to double graph.
    Last edited by JC; 11-01-2007 at 04:53 PM.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2003
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    EASLEY S.C. USA
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    Bjorn,
    Stakich has royal jelley also and i have bought from them before. Nice people too. I do not use any extra royal jelley but i cover the cell bars with a damp towell as soon as i graft. Does a real good job. I also keep grafting tools wiped down with alcohol.
    Thanks Dwight

  11. #11
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    BjornBee...I bet you wouldn't use bought pollen for making patties, would you? And you wouldn't feed honey from an unknown source, would you? Then why would you risk using royal jelley from an unknown source?

  12. #12
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    I don't know the source. I don't know the dangers. I don't know if this is good, bad, or other. That's why I'm asking questions.

    I did not talk to glory bee foods today. But from what I'm reading, everyone suggests a China connection, but nobody has stated for sure. Last time this happened we had people claiming pollen sub from China at MannLake. We know how that ended.

    I'll call tomorrow.

    So I take that nobody uses store bought royal jelly.

    So whats the next best thing? What tricks do you have up your sleeves?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by BjornBee; 11-01-2007 at 07:21 PM.

  13. #13
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    We buy our RJ from Stackich out of MI. He claims it is US produced. A little goes a long ways, we buy a small jar every year, I think it costs less than $15 delivered and is way more than we need for about 1000 cells.
    He stores it frozen and we keep it in the fridge during Q rearing season. I mix it 50/50 with warm water then dab it in the cell cups. I use a wooden match head (the non sulfurous end ) which fits in the little divit at the bottom of the cups. I have good success with it as long as it doesn't dry out, I keep the finished frames covered with a damp cloth until ready to put in the starters.
    Sheri

  14. #14
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    >What tricks do you have up your sleeves?<

    > I do not use any extra royal jelley but i cover the cell bars with a damp towell as soon as i graft. Does a real good job.<

    I don't use anything to prime my cells, either. I provide the breeder colony with a good frame of fresh pollen...just on the other side of the excluder. The young larvae have a nice puddle of RJ. I use a Chinese grafting tool, which picks up both the puddle, and the larvae. Cover each cell bar with a damp towl when grafted, and when 3 bars are grafted, immediately place in cell builder. I have a very good acceptance rate...usually better than 40 of 45 grafts accepted. So...I don't really see the need for any priming.

  15. #15
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    I'm no queen producer, but I'd be very Leary of buying RJ from any source. Look at the risk/benefits first. CCD is here, and perhaps it has spread to US RJ producers and they just don't know it yet. Is it really worth the risk? Of course the link of CCD to RJ is far from proved, but the conservative route would be to avoid it unless the benefits outweigh the risks - only you can answer that.

  16. #16
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    Lima, Ohio, USA
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    I really don't see why anyone producing queens would need to buy royal jelly. Just graft a couple more cells than you really need and harvest the jelly to prime the next batch. Only takes 1-2 cells of jelly pulled on about the 3rd day to prime the next batch (38 cells per frame in my case). If you end up with a particularly good take, harvest a few more and freeze it. At the end of the season just freeze some to use in the spring. If you are just starting, graft a few days early and even if you have a lousy take, it will provide jelly for the future graft.

    It takes little more time than you are already spending, costs almost nothing and avoids any risk of bringing in viruses, foulbrood, etc.

    I just use small 2ml centrifuge tubes with caps. Handy for freezing and I only use them a week or two, storing them in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Only downside is that I've only seen them sold in bags of 500 or larger. So I've got more than a lifetime supply.

    Of course priming is not necessary. I've had perfect takes without it, but I simply find it easier and quicker to graft with more consistent results. Larvae also are not as likely to dry out. The makeup of royal jelly the workers feed the larvae actually changes with the age of the larvae, so the workers will end up changing out the jelly you put in there anyways.

    -Tim

  17. #17
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I started out priming because Doolittle and Jay Smith recommended it. I also tried not priming and didn't see a difference. Then I got "Better Queens" and found that Jay Smith gave it up.

    "We used to prime our cells with bee milk but, after careful examination, believe it was a detriment, for the first thing the bees do is to remove all the milk we had put in. Grafting in bare cells is better-or rather not so bad." --Jay Smith, Better Queens
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbetterq...fting%20Method

    I don't see a difference. But when I did this is how I got it:

    "As a container for royal jelly, I use a small porcelain jar with a screw cap. A piece of waxed cardboard in the cover makes it air-tight. Let me offer a suggestion as to where you can get one of these jars. Make a raid on your wife's manicuring outfit, and, if luck is with you, you will find one of these jars. To be sure that luck will be with you, better do it when she is out. This jar usually has some pink dope in it. Take this out, put it into a tin can, present it to your wife with your compliments and make off with the jar. Thoroughly sterilize this jar by boiling, for the bees seem to object to the funny smell that comes with it. If your wife does not have this, or if you do not have a wife, you can go to the drug store and find just the size and style that suit you. The dope looks as though it might be of use if you put it into the grease cups of your flivver, but I do not want to suggest too many dangerous experiments for you to try all at once. For a jelly spoon, I prefer to make one out of the bone handle of a toothbrush, which also may be found in the manicuring outfit. Break off the brush and whittle down the small end until it fits nicely into a worker-cell. This jelly spoon and the jelly jar are to be carried in the pocket of your trousers or dress, whichever you wear. While working with your bees during the season you will be running across colonies that have royal jelly to spare. Whenever a swarm issues, just take out the jar and spoon and get the royal jelly. I have found that I come across enough in my regular work so that I never have to make any special hunt for jelly. It is well to have two of these jars; keep one in your pocket and the other in the grafting room." --Jay Smith, Queen Rearing Simplified
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearingsimplified.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Nov 2004
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Michael, that is priceless! Did they really used to make toothbrushes out of bone? And what was that pink dope anyway?

    With CCD and other boogies out there we maybe should reconsider boughten RJ and go to collecting our own. Sounds like an older "Carmex" container might work well. I know RJ isn't necessary but I tried grafting with and without and it just seemed easier to "float" the larvae off onto a pool of liquid, but I've heard of other substances that would not be as risky.
    Sheri

  19. #19
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    Colorado
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    Thanks for answering Red, it helps to get more experienced answers. Mr. Hofer, where did you get that idea? I never heard of it and am just curious. Not arguing.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  20. #20
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    Aug 2004
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    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
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    after reading this post bring up a question, does anyone one here double graft, you know to have the bee's prime the cell for you and you just swapping larva 3rd day, I use dry cell also but wondered if double grafting really was worth the time and how much better were the queens?
    Ted

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