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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Villa Rica, Ga
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    Default Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    I am thinking of trying to raise a few queens next spring. I have 20 hives at the moment. I wish to raise some queens to replace any winter losses I have and to requeen a hive that has swarmed to get a laying queen faster, then taking the capped swarm cells from the swarm hive and put in the finisher hive to complete. This way any possible production hive will have the best growth. Is this feasible as far as a hive that has swarmed is concerned? I do plan on curving the desire to swarm, but I want to be prepared just in case.
    I have read both process of the "kits" and with grafting. I plan on only making a small number of queens at the moment. Please tell me if my thought process is off base; if I use the queen rearing kit I will have many more larvae than I need. Wasting bee resources and having to replace 110 cups each time. Also, i have plastic foundation and would have to alter a frame to make this work (again altering the donar hive somewhat). If I graft, I can take the amount of larvae that I intend to use (around 5) and start the process without altering the donar hive at all. I believe I can get the larvae from one of my hives in the yard with little issues. Question is, is grafting really that difficult to accomplish? I feel that I have eyesight and dexterity for this. Those that have grafted before, do you prefer the "kits" or grafting?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Australia, NSW
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    107

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    Quote Originally Posted by gibby937 View Post
    I am thinking of trying to raise a few queens next spring. I have 20 hives at the moment. I wish to raise some queens to replace any winter losses ........ Question is, is grafting really that difficult to accomplish? I feel that I have eyesight and dexterity for this. Those that have grafted before, do you prefer the "kits" or grafting?
    I'm a newbee, 1 have 1 hive, and I purchased 10 grafting tools from China for $8 and made my own queen cups by dipping a piece of dowel in some wax. I have 3 cells about to hatch tomorrow. Cheap as chips!
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/230686588253

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    I have several Jenter boxes and have raised a lot of cells this way. I also have grafted a lot. I graft more in recent times as it requires less trips to the yard and less of my time. But I enjoyed the kits. If I were doing it over, I would probably do the Hopkins method instead as it requires no special equipment and no grafting and would give me a chance to learn to raise queens before I learn to graft.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...#hopkinsmethod
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshopkinsmethod.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,556

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    I've used Nicot kit and it works well if a flow is on. In a dearth it's not as good for me. This year I tried out a Chinese grafting tool and I was very much impressed with the ease of grafting with it. I think I'll be using it exclusively from now on. I think grafting is easy if you have a tool that will pick up and release the larva with jelly easily. The Chinese tool is the best I've used.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Villa Rica, Ga
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    93

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    Thanks for the responses! I can't wait to give it a try next spring.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    771

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    Check out On the Spot queen rearing: http://www.mdasplitter.com/

    Tom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    1,372

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    I have never been able to get the OTS method to work for me. I get the best results from the Case/Hopkins method. My grafting skills leave a lot to be desired - so does my eyesight.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
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    579

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    I made up a nuc shallow section with notches and support to hold a shallow frame sideways for the Hopkins method per Michael's description and even sought his guidance for "every other row". When I created a calender to anticipate capped queen cells per Michael's "Bee Math", it occurred to me his "walk away split" has the same timeline. Since I didn't want to do more than populate my existing gear and that seemed to me a one step means of accomplishing same, I went with it and haven't had the need to do otherwise.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    1,693

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    I have found that grafting seems to be alot more sucessful than queen "kits".

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,298

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    If I wanted just a few cells, 10 or less, I would simply put a foundationless frame into the heart of the hive I chose for the queen mother. Kept an eye on it, and as soon as a comb had been built and laid with eggs, I would move it to my cell builder hive. If the cell builder were queenless and this was the only viable brood they had to raise queens with, and they had the resources to build many nice cells, I'd make sure that I eliminated any cells that were too close together, or outside the center of the cluster area, and keep only a few more than the target number I plan to need (some will usually be aborted).

    When I want lots of cells, twenty or more, grafting is the only way to go. I can graft several hundred or more in just a short time. And I can repeat it as often as necessary to get the number of cells I want.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,252

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    Quote Originally Posted by gibby937 View Post
    Please tell me if my thought process is off base; if I use the queen rearing kit I will have many more larvae than I need. Wasting bee resources and having to replace 110 cups each time.

    Question is, is grafting really that difficult to accomplish? I feel that I have eyesight and dexterity for this. Those that have grafted before, do you prefer the "kits" or grafting?
    You're sure about this, eh? I would think the opposite. You get all your set up ready to accept the larvae, and there are zero...not 110.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    >You're sure about this, eh? I would think the opposite. You get all your set up ready to accept the larvae, and there are zero...not 110.

    You are right. I've never consider 110 to be a problem. I have considered 0 to be a problem...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    905

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    Another good system to employ for beginners making a few cells is very similar to what Joseph describes - Dr. C.C. Miller's method. It is described in several beginning books, and the only differences are to cut the foundation into angles before drawing into comb, and then to cut it back to an angle so that eggs are on the diagonals before they go into the cell starter. I'd recommend using a Cloake board - sure makes it easy to convert from queenless cell starter to queenright finisher 24 hours after the frame goes in.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    Thank you, Michael Bush! It was good to read that again.

    I notice the modern interpretation is wireless foundation wax cut into points hanging from the top, as opposed to his original "starter patches" of foundation 4" from the sides. He gives his reason as wanting several different ages of larvae and let the bees choose which get to be queens, and he mostly cut away eggs at the outside edges before giving the frame to the starter.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Carlton,WA,USA
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    129

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    I haven't had much success grafting. I am 64 and impediments include my vision, a tremor in my hands that is congenital (my grandfather, uncle, cousin and one son have it), and the fact that I have spent my life as a carpenter and have hands like leather.

    I have developed a variant of the Cloake method. The Cloake method uses grafting, but I use the Nicot system to produce the larvae.

    There are some tricks to the Nicot system (the Jentner is very similar) and if you want, I can give you the tips.

    "Met-How Kraig"

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    The ez queen system sold by dadant isn't bad for just a few queens, especially if you have trouble with grafting or with the small cups in the Nicot system. It is basically a nicot system but the laying cage inserts are in strips that make it easier to place them into cell cups. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone wanting huge amounts of queens but for the hobbyist just needing a few at a time it works pretty good.
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    905

    Default Re: Grafting verses queen rearing systems "kits"

    Gibby - Grafting is not that difficult to learn. My third frame I grafted had 17 takes, and that was using chop sticks! I mostly killed the grubs those chop sticks, and have since used hooks, paddles, Chinese tools, and a 3/0 artist's sable paint brush.

    At first, the Chinese tool was easiest, but after a while, the hook is faster. I use the hook with artificial queen cups primed with royal jelly. I use the hook for grubs about 90 to 96 hours old from egg-lay, and I can use the Chinese tool for younger grubs - 80 to 86 hours old. I use a loupe, and I try to watch and make sure not to flip them over. I have poor up-close eyesight, but good hands.


    Try every method you can learn about and keep meticulous notes. I doubt there is a such thing as too many queens. You'll get good at a couple of methods, and find out what works for you. I think it is effort well-spent. However you get your best quality queens, that will be your best method.

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