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  1. #1
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    Mar 2010
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    Default royal jelly not removed

    I here it stated by many experienced queen breeders that the royal jelly used for priming will be removed and replaced by the nurse bees. I found this to be suspect for two reasons. First, if they remove the jelly why would someone like the Miksa's go through the trouble and expense of using organic R.J.? Second, I have noticed that the cups that I fill with more R.J. than the other cups always contain more jelly. Why would this be if the nurse bees remove it all? If anything the cups that were primed with more R.J. should be less full than the others because of the time spent on removal.

    So I did a little experiment, I primed every other cup with tinted R.J., and checked them today, three days post graft. Here's the pics.



    1. primed cells
    2. 3 days post graft ( wax removed) notice layering of R.J.
    3. jelly removed, R.J. on left was on the bottom of cup( priming R.J.)

    Yes, I know too much time on my hands.
    Last edited by muskratcreekhoney; 07-07-2011 at 05:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Wow, that's amazing. I've never primed with more than a small drop of watered-down royal jelly. I'm thinking my next batch, I'll double-graft --> graft a bar of cells with my usual amount of priming R. J. --> then remove those larva and replace with fresh young larva into the full cup of R. J. That should produce a bar of cells with nearer the quantity of R. J. that appears in your photos.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,872

    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    I'm so glad you had too much time on your hands, and so tested this matter of bees removing RJ primer. I've only heard the argument of bees removing the jelly this last year or so, and have been wondering about the truth of it.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
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    635

    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    I noticed in pic you are using JZBZ plastic cell bar. Do you like them?

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Clinton County, Michigan USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Joseph Clemens- I haven't been grafting very long so take my experiences for what they are worth: I find that if I fill the cup half full my acceptance rate is around 90%++. I tried the watered down R.J. along with these cells and the take looked around 50%. I had the feeling that with the watered down R.J. the larvae were sinking down into it too far, they were very small larvae. Thanks for the positive comments Joseph I was a little nervous that I would get grilled by the more experienced beeks for conducting this little experiment.

    Broke-T- I love the plastic cell bars, they are so much better than the stupid grooved bottom bar that has to be waxed or you lose 10% of your graft. I'm still a little slow at grafting so when they drop on the ground it is maddening. I haven't dropped a cell yet with the JZBZ's cell bar, but I don't graft but a few hundred a year.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2010
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    Clinton County, Michigan USA
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    301

    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Joseph- I was a bit surprised myself when I saw how much R.J. was in this cup. I have filled them about half full before but they didn't fill them to the rim before, however this time I used a queenless double deep hive instead of a starter finisher. I grafted 90 cells but only the one experimental bar(15 cells) had been primed with the pure R.J.. I would guess that I will only get about 30 cells, 27 more than I can use. The rest will be emerged as virgins and hopefully sold.

    Anyway does anyone know how much R.J. that they can possibly use? Is a full cell cup only getting half eaten?

  7. #7
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    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Starting this season, I too have taken to using the JZsBZs plastic cell bars, they hold 15 JZsBZs wide base plastic cell cups. I can fit two JZsBZs plastic cell bars in a medium wooden frame, or one attached to my former single cell bars.

    I would have to harvest royal jelly from lots of queen cells in order to have such a large quantity to prime cell cups with. It should be easier to do a double-graft. This would be similar to my very first attempt to raise my own queens. As my first attempt at queen rearing I removed the queen from a strong colony, then after they started emergency queen cells, I removed the larvae and replaced them with <24 hour old larvae from my chosen mother queen. It worked perfectly -- I soon had my first half-dozen cultured queens.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Very cool. What did you use for the tint? Food coloring? That would be very useful for the purpose of instructional pictures.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2010
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    Clinton County, Michigan USA
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    301

    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Yes, blue food coloring. I just dipped the tip of a toothpick into the coloring and mixed a little in a bowl, then I use a syringe that comes with children's ibuprofen to pipe it into the cells.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Where did you get that much royal jelly?
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Glorybee sells royal jelly.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Not "grilling" you, I swear... but keep in mind that the condition and overall quality of the queens will be ultimately dependant upon the nutrition that they receive during development... at each stage of development (every 6 hours) we have pulled grafts from starters and builders to examine just what the bees are truly doing and when... a proper starter will have cleaned out all of the priming jelly and given a fresh food source to the larvae within a few hours of placing in the starter... this is just their way of returning to a natural process from a manipulation... man has yet to produce a form of royal jelly that bees will deem suitable, even stored jelly... this is why David (and most of the rest of us) uses pure jelly for priming (when the temps require it)... in your pic it appears that the tinted jelly was left, yes... but there also appears to be a new pool of fresh jelly that was added creating an excess of jelly... the most probable reason is that the bees were not willing to eat the tinted jelly, and so they made the top of the tinted jelly into the new cell floor... much like they do when floating a larvae up for an emergency cell... about half of a cup is what a good strong starter will produce... when priming, a tiny dab (like Joe described) is plenty... it would be interesting to see if what happens to the old jelly when queens emerge while caged or even in nucs or hives... mainly to see if the queens would be as picky about not consuming the tinted jelly as the bees were, and also to see if the bees would clean it out after she has emerged...

    Again, not knocking you... please understand that as a scientist, I accept all possibilities, but feel that the best way to teach others is to be forward. While I sincerely want to encourage you to keep those wheels turning and experiment with every aspect of bee keeping, I just want to help you along the way with explanations for what you find that I and others have learned throughout our careers. Hope that makes sense...

  13. #13
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Joe, we have been harvesting fresh jelly in surplus, if you would like a syringe full, just send me a pm with the address that you want it sent to and I will have some mailed to you.

  14. #14
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    You should try priming some cups with both tinted and non tinted jelly - but don't graft into them. Then check back to see if they clean out the non tinted but are reluctant to take the tinted jelly. Whatever happens it wouldn't be "proof" just by itself, but it sure would be evidence. Very cool experiment anyway.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Once in awhile when the only forage available to the bees has been prickly pear fruit juice, the royal jelly has turned pink and the larva turn pink too, then unfortunately they fail to mature properly, sometimes the bees just keep extending these cells until they're about 1-1/2 inches long, but they still don't cap them -- finally they tear them down. I've taken to always being ready to feed the cell builders so this doesn't happen again.

    I wonder if the royal jelly could be man-modified to affect queen development in a positive way? I mean, other than keeping good feed on the bees so they can produce lots of it and that it has proper nourishment for the developing queens.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  16. #16
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    Mar 2010
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    Clinton County, Michigan USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Joseph- I bought 2 ounces from ginco international, probably about $30.00. I can't vouch for it's purity, it states 100% Royal Jelly and it is meant for human consumption ( made in USA), but is it as nutritious as fresh that is minutes or hours old? Doubtful, but a real scientist would have to prove/disprove that one.

    Russell- thanks for your input. How much R.J. do you consider to be enough to provide the necessary nutrition for the queen, i.e. when would you cull a cell because of low feeding? 1/4 full? Care to give us an idea of how much you will be selling the R.J. for? P.S. I would love to have been grafting from my breeder queen. Could you P.M me on order status?

  17. #17
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    You should try priming some cups with both tinted and non tinted jelly - but don't graft into them. Then check back to see if they clean out the non tinted but are reluctant to take the tinted jelly. Whatever happens it wouldn't be "proof" just by itself, but it sure would be evidence. Very cool experiment anyway.
    I might see that today when I pull the cells.

  18. #18
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Very interesting thread!
    Looks like there is still a fair amount unknown.

  19. #19
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    Mar 2010
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    Clinton County, Michigan USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Well, I pulled the cells tonight. I am very disappointed with the amount of R.J. feeding with the grafts that were primed with a small amount of R.J./water mix. This was my first time using a queenless double deep cell builder. Anyway I put the best fed cells in a JZBZ cell holder with the bottoms drilled out and slid in the cage neck.




    second pic is the sealed experimental bar, these were fed well.

  20. #20
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    Mar 2010
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    Clinton County, Michigan USA
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    Default Re: royal jelly not removed

    Now I need some advice on how to return the cell builder to normal. I inspected both deeps and two supers to make sure that there were no started queen cells. I put a new caged queen into the bottom deep, then queen excluder, second deep with caged cells and two supers. The problem is both deeps are plugged with nectar with the exception of 4 frames of sealed brood. Will they move this nectar up to the supers or will I have to do something else?

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