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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Croswell, MI, USA
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    14

    Default Yogurt Vs. Royal Jelly

    I am rearing my last batch of queens for the nucs I intend to overwinter. I have been putting a drop of yogurt rather than royal jelly in my queen cups because it is much cheaper. Sometimes the store doesnt have plain yogurt so I use strawberry or another flavor. Is this a problem? Is there any information I should know about using yogurt over royal jelly? Flavors to avoid, temprature of yogurt, brand or type of yogurt...etc. And is royal jelly far superior than yogurt in queen rearing? thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    monroe, indiana
    Posts
    21

    Default

    I would think that one raised of yogurt would be much more fit than one raised on jelly.

    aam

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,347

    Default

    Huumm. . . I've never heard of this technique. Where does it originate? How does it work? It sounds as though it would be a disastrous waste of time. But does it work?
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
    Posts
    676

    Default

    Yogurt does work!

    Normally, I harvest rogue swarm cells by carefully removing them from the frame, remove the queen pupae, and then pop the resealed queen cell in a bag and into the freezer until I'm ready to graft. That way, I have frozen fresh royal jelly at my disposal.

    But, this year, I've had a problem with a lack of swarm cells. (What a problem, right?) My supply of royal jelly has dwindled and my dry grafting skills need some serious work. What to do?

    Two options: Sacrificial larva in queen cups, placed in a starter nuc, and then harvest specifically for the royal jelly, which seems like a waste to me. Or, yogurt.

    Per Dr. Larry Connor, plain yogurt, mixed 1:1 with water, provides a reasonable substitute for royal jelly for grafting purposes. Flavors will increase the chances of rejection, as will sugar-free variations. No comment was made about fat-free yogurts. A half a spoonful, mixed with room temperature water, will warm to room temperature quickly and prevent shock to the larva.

    Is it "better" than royal jelly? Probably not. The nurse bees will eat all the royal jelly out of a queen cup and replace it with fresh, so by using yogurt, they'll be eating yogurt instead. By the way, lactose (milk sugar) has no nutritional value as a sugar for the bees, but the casin may provide "some" dietary protein.

    Hope this helps!
    DS

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,347

    Default

    Thanks BigDaddyDS, I hadn't heard of that before.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    Rob What was your take?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  7. #7

    Default

    I was told coconut milk. the correct sugars and protien content

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Croswell, MI, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default

    For the record I used vanilla low fat yogurt. I could not find plain yogurt. I am happy with the take so far, although it is only a couple days since grafting and I imagine the actual queens harvested will be less than the number of cells that are being drawn out now. I started 40 or so queens and it looked like 30 or so were being drawn out. My colleague started over 100 queens a few days before me with the same yogurt and about 75% were being drawn out. Hopefully that means will have lots of nucs to overwinter and possibly some queens to sell.

    I would also advise in general that you test the consistency of your yogurt to water ratio before grafting---one time I made it too watery and when I flipped my frame upright after grafting I had several larva drip out of the cup.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

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    I do graft dry myself and I believe priming the cells will RJ or other stuff does not improve the take, it just makes it easier the release of the larvae.
    There are other conditions that are much more important in the cell starter and they have direct influence on the results.
    My last graft of 60 cells, 54 started and look very good. I use a swarm box and a very strong 2 story queen right cell builder.

    Gilman

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Croswell, MI, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default

    what do you consider the most important factors in queen rearing?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob7 View Post
    what do you consider the most important factors in queen rearing?

    Time of the year, weather, number and age of bees in the cell builder and cell finisher, enough drones and the weather during potential matting time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,121

    Default

    I used to gather royal jelly to prime them. But I quit priming and have just as good of a take.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,347

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bleta12 View Post
    I do graft dry myself and I believe priming the cells will RJ or other stuff does not improve the take, it just makes it easier the release of the larvae.
    There are other conditions that are much more important in the cell starter and they have direct influence on the results.
    My last graft of 60 cells, 54 started and look very good. I use a swarm box and a very strong 2 story queen right cell builder.

    Gilman
    I too seem to be poor at dry grafting and as you say, the small drop of royal jelly makes transferring the larvae from the grafting needle much easier.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Default

    As some of these same people replied and suggested, weather and timing does have an impact. For much of the season, I'll use a little diluted honey. And I guess for those who only graft a couple of times under the optimal conditions, just about anything works.

    But if were talking optimal results in a prolonged season, or under conditions less than ideal, I have been playing around using royal jelly from the same hive I am grafting back into. It seems that about the first of July the past few years, I hit a brick wall and the bees, no matter what I did, would just make a fraction of the cells they would make 30 days prior. But harvesting the royal jelly from the hive that was made queenless for a few days, then using it to prime the cells and grafting these back into the hive, has seen my numbers shoot back up at the same time that other techniques show less results.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
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    4,398

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    bjorn: even using royal jelly from another hive?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
    Posts
    676

    Default

    And so, after handing out advice about using yogurt, I leave the house today to do grafting and what do I forget?

    My yogurt.

    I had mentioned that I have a lack of queen cells this year to sacrifice, so yogurt was my chosen substitute. I'll let you know how my dry grafts went.

    And, by the way and without meaning to derail this post, the Chinese grafting tool does a much better job at lifting some royal jelly with the larva, but the JZ BZ tool is much easier for a right-handed person to successfully pick up a larva without "rolling it up the side", although the placed larva is much "dryer". (I kept everyone placed in cups moist with wet paper towel.) We'll keep you posted...

    DS

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
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    4,398

    Default

    DS:

    The chinese grafting tool and JZBZ tool work in two different ways. The JZBZ tool hooks in the middle of the larvae while the chinese grafting tool scoops the larvae out.

    I agree, I like the chinese grafting tool the best.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
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    676

    Default

    UPDATE:

    Yeah... my dry grafting skills netted me a big ol' goose-egg! Zero grafts took. A lot of the cups appear to have dried out larva in the bottoms, although they were covered with wet paper towel during grafting. As expected, the water soaked sponge in my confined starter nuc was dry as a bone. Only about a cup of nurse bees appeared to have perished, which seems to be normal.

    So, now that I'm a few days behind, you can guess where I'll be tomorrow WITH my pint of yogurt!

    DS

    (Every so often, stuff like this happens to remind us: THIS IS FARMING!)

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,830

    Default Re: Yogurt Vs. Royal Jelly

    I am going to revive this thread. Anyone using yogurt? I am starting my first graft tomorrow, I plan on doing a 3rd of the cells each of dry graft, plain yogurt, and flavored yogurt. Will see how it works. Dry grafts sometimes have issues here if it is to dry, this week not a issue, very wet. Will keep everybody posted, and want to hear any suggestions.
    mike
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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Yogurt Vs. Royal Jelly

    I would say the most important things are: larvae of the proper age, abundance of nectar and pollen, abundance of nurse bees, and desireable genetic base. Of course there are other factors, but those are muy importante.

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