Traditional grafting cannot be done prior to the larvae stage and so usually transporting between apiaries is done post grafting and at the larvae stage, when stores, feeding, and density of nurse bees are all critical.
Use of a Nicot cage (or any similar 'graftless' queen breeding system) allows the possibility for the graft to be performed at the egg stage. Is there any reason this is a bad idea? Has anyone tried it?
In any case, it seems like transporting at the egg stage would be much easier than transporting at the larvae stage - sufficient nurse bees are needed to maintain temperature of the eggs, but there is much less complexity surrounding honey and pollen stores, density of nurse bees, and the feeding of royal jelly to the young larvae.
I am planning on transporting at the 2-day-old egg stage (30 minute drive) in the Nicot cage which will be kept warm by a few frames of nurse bees in a small transport nuc. Immediatly after arrival at my home apiary, I plan to graft a first top bar at the egg stage and then place the remaining eggs (still in the Nicot cage) into a queen-right colony for another two days until they are 1-day-old larvae, at which time I plan to graft a second top bar with 1-day old larvae.
If someone has already done this experiment and can tell me which will work better, or if there is a reason trasporting and/or grafting at the egg stage is a bad idea, I don't want to waste my time on this experiment. Otherwise, am interested in exploring the option the Nicot cage opens up of grafting at the egg stage and seeing how it compares to grafting at the larvae stage (in which case I will report back on my findings).
Any experience, advice, or opinions for this Nicot novice appreciated.