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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Better Grafting tools

    I got to use my new stainless steel German grafting needle (about $10 including postage from Russell Apiaries) for the first time today, and I must say it seems to make it noticeably easier. I've tried the red plastic JZBZ tool and (mostly) the Chinese grafting tool. It seems like it's easier for me to see what I'm doing with the German tool. And the incredible poor quality of the Chinese tools is really craptastic - just when I finally fish out a really good larva with one it seems like it would foul up and ruin it, and even though they are cheap I have way more than $10 in the ones I've used trying to get a good one.

    Just saying - if you're a beginner like me at grafting and keep being frustrated with what you are using you might want to give this one a try.

    And yes, I know you old hands can graft 97% using a grass stem. I don't even want to hear it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    good to know, I order one from there at the beginning of the month that i'm waiting on for the same reason... hope they get here soon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    I have one of about everything including the German one, the JBZB one and many of the Chinese grafting tools. I prefer picking a good one of the Chinese.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    1,585

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Glad you like it. I agree that seeing makes it easier... rpeters, pm me your info and I will check on that for you. David, did yours come with a few different types and intro cages? If so, what did you think about the cages? They use those almost exclusively for shipping queens in Europe, but I can't see bundling a ton of queens together using them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,685

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    ...I also prefer the Chinese tool. I have a nice SS German tool, and I'll admit that I haven't spent enough time with it to really dismiss it, but with the Chinese tool, I don't really have to "see" anything. Push the tip down the side of the cell and (when all is working properly), it gently curls under the larvae and worker jelly without me seeing it happen.

    They do take some finessing, but I can get most of them to work well.

    I've seen the "master grafting tool"...i think a SS tongue is the way to go, but I'm not crazy about the actual design.

    deknow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,830

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Chinese is the way to go.....UNLESS you are using new comb and well it just doesn't work...ask me how I know
    mike
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,685

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher Apiaries View Post
    ...ask me how I know
    ...probably the same way _I_ know

    deknow

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
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    1,830

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Thats what is the problem with a comb rotation program and a queen rearing program combined LOL
    mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    Glad you like it. I agree that seeing makes it easier... rpeters, pm me your info and I will check on that for you. David, did yours come with a few different types and intro cages? If so, what did you think about the cages? They use those almost exclusively for shipping queens in Europe, but I can't see bundling a ton of queens together using them.
    It did come with one of the better Chinese tools, and some of the yellow intro cages. I haven't used one, but it looks like it should work fine. It doesn't look like it would be entirely reusable because of the way the release cap works - not a big thing but everyone seems to hang on to used queen cages in case they need one.

    Pretty nice value added considering the good price on the SS tool and the included postage. Mine came right away BTW.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Kingfisher - deknow,

    That's been part of my frustration - I have mostly foundationless comb, so I tend to punch a lot of holes in it. Also though someone should come out with just a decent quality version of the same (Chinese) tool - at least half of the ones I've used never worked right. Mostly there is a gap that causes the squeegee part to ride over the larva. You know what the issues are with them.

    There does seem to be a somewhat higher quality version - like the freebie that Russell Apiary sent with my order.

    If I was starting over I would use black plastic foundation in the brood nests of my "breeder" queens. I never realized that until I took some grafts from a friends Jennifer Berry queen. You can see the larva so much better on the black, and you don't punch through it. A beginner like me really benefits from such advantages.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Kingfisher - deknow,

    I tend to punch a lot of holes in it. Also though someone should come out with just a decent quality version of the same (Chinese) tool - at least half of the ones I've used never worked right. Mostly there is a gap that causes the squeegee part to ride over the larva. You know what the issues are with them.
    Thats the exact reason i order one of the SS ones, might have to give it another chance, I was told that you can curl them with your finger nail like you would ribbon to make them work better. guess try and try again. can become a little frusterating when new to all this

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,384

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    >I've seen the "master grafting tool"...i think a SS tongue is the way to go, but I'm not crazy about the actual design.

    I have one of those, but it doesn't pick up any royal jelly and is harder to work than the Chinese one. The way to get good ones, is play with them and see what it is you want (like that it doesn't slide sideways when it bends or is too loose or too tight etc.) and then when you're at a show with vendors, pick through the ones on display and find the best ones...
    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
    5,407

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    I've used many different grafting tools/needles, SS German works fairly well (I graft outdoors most times and lost two of these somewhere in the litter under the Mesquite tree - so I wrapped the remaining one's shank with white vinyl tape and also tied on a brightly colored string), so do many of the Chinese ones when I'm coordinated enough to work them properly, my favorite has been the red JZsBZs No.1, which lets me easily lift the tiniest larva without harming them. Apparently Jim has redesigned his grafting needles. He recently sent us a set of redesigned No.1, No.2, and No.3 to try out. The new No.1 is entirely different than the old No.1, but it still works very well, perhaps even better than the old No.1. When I tried using the No.2 and No.3, I realized they were not going to work with small cell comb, so I got a couple of Rite Cell foundations and I was then able to more easily graft using all the various grafting needles, except I still have trouble using the JZsBZs No.3.

    But I will admit that I have not ever been inspired to spend the money to try anything priced higher than $10. I've even tried slivers of bamboo.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    I love my 000 artist brush and dont use anything else

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    That's one I need to try. The thing about the German tool is that you need to pick the larva up so that it is hanging off of the end or you it's hard to get off. I could see where the artist brush would let you roll it a bit and ease it off.

    Although, at 36 hours since grafting for the first time with the German tool it looks like I did OK - 16 out of 20.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
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    1,585

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Nice job. By the looks of that white wax, you have a very well fed starter and could get more cells started at once if you wanted to. If you will notice, it looks like most of the top bar took and the lower bar got shunned on the ends. Not sure what set up you use, but a deep 8 frame or five frame starter with a medium cell bar frame will put the cell further up away from the entrance and closer to the brood and bulk of bees. This will get every cell attended to. Also, you will notice that the starters do better on the second round of cells than the first. Great job. And you are right about getting the larvae along the edge of the tip of the needle. When cells are primed, this isn't an issue at all, but to me, I go for the top edge of the "c" to allow it to remain on the outer edge of the needle, without having to push on it at all by trying to get beneath the whole larvae.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    I like the brush because you dont have to prime the cells first it picks up the lavae and the jelly it's resting in all in one go and then it's a simple roll of the brush like you said to deposit it in the bottom of the queen cups.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    Nice job. By the looks of that white wax, you have a very well fed starter and could get more cells started at once if you wanted to. If you will notice, it looks like most of the top bar took and the lower bar got shunned ...
    That's because there aren't any grafts on the bottom bar. I'm using a queenless 5 frame medium (Ala Joseph Clemens) on a slatted rack as a starter/finisher - fed mega bee pollen patty and 1-1 syrup w home brewed EO mix to keep it from going bad in the heat (also makes them suck it down like frat boys). I keep 2 frames of emerging brood, and two of stores in there. This is the 4th set of cells that I've used it for.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Great set up. Keep at it. Bet you are getting some nice mommas out of it. The color of the wax is a clear indicator that they are very well fed and that their are plenty of fresh nurses.

    We have used the paint brushes for years. They do work well, I just prefer the ss needle. We had been considering offering the brushes as well, but they are usually more expensive, and not very easy to locate a bulk supplier.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,407

    Default Re: Better Grafting tools

    Could someone describe the 000 paintbrush technique. Also, what type of brush - natural, synthetic, etc. Several people have mentioned the use of this grafting tool, but no one has yet described the use. Thanks.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 05-28-2011 at 08:03 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

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