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  1. #1

    Default Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    I'm just getting into raising queens through grafting, at this point just trying to self teach the trade. I've made two attempts at grafting, with pretty dismal success. Ok, I'll say it: 2/30 took, and then 3/40 took. Now I know there are several variables here, and most likely the biggest offender is my lack of experience. What I am struggling with most is getting the larva onto and off the tool. I fear that most times I damage the larva trying to get it off the tool.

    But onto the main topic, I have seen several references to priming the queen cell cups with royal jelly, which is said to help float the larva off the grafting tool. Also of course it will help jump start the larva on it's healthy diet.

    I'm fishing for input from those with experience on this, and ideally some references on where to purchase good quality, chemical free, royal jelly. Thanks in advance!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,639

    Default Re: Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    I've never primed any cells. I just started last year myself. I use the Chinese grafting tool. I don't have any trouble getting the larva off the tool. I do trim down the tip of the tool. I find the way it comes from the store to be too flexible. If you trim just a little bit off it seems to give you more control. Give it a try they are very cheap. Sorry I can't give you any input on priming.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    Hi Tom,
    Priming is done to help get the larva off the tool--the nurse bees remove all the "prime" and put in new jelly.
    If your larva are well fed, you can get away with a "dry" graft. Some folks like this way, some folks prime.
    By the way, we use a 50/50 prime of royal jelly and distilled water mixed and brought to room temp.
    We store collected jelly in the Fridge for the season. It keeps just fine.

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,990

    Default Re: Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    Unless your eyesight is outstanding get some lighted magnifiers so you can see what you are doing. Try to pick up the larva so that it is almost hanging off of the tip - unless you are using a Chinese tool. If you are using a chinese tool use that magnification to make sure the tool isn't mangling the larva. Even a tiny bit of water helps get the larva off of a solid tool. If you even think anything went wrong abandon that larva and try again. Keep your finished grafts covered so they don't dry out. Maybe do fewer in a batch so that you can get them back in the starter faster. Better to get 7 out of 10 than 2 out of thirty. Graft every week or so, and you'll improve fast. Good luck.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Panola County, TX USA
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    use a chinese tool and forget about priming

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,324

    Default Re: Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    Like David said, if you have the slightest inkling that the larvae may have been roughed up during the process, abandon that one and start with another one. If the possibly damaged larvae is on the tip of the grafting tool, I remove it with my tongue, eating it from the tool. Perhaps a little unorthodox, but there is no strong flavor from the tiny larvae, and it cleans the tool tip very quickly and successfully. The larvae are so small it's even difficult to feel them on my tongue.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,990

    Default Re: Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    Quote Originally Posted by benstung View Post
    use a chinese tool and forget about priming
    You hear that a lot, and using a Chinese tool does make it easier during the learning period - if you have a good one. You better treat that one like treasure. In my experience if you are ordering them you better get at least 5 to have any hope of getting one that works right.

    BUT if you just start out using any of the solid tools, you will soon get the hang of it, and your SS tool will always perform in exactly the same way. And you are only a little practice away from being able to graft with a grass stem or paper clip if you ever want to. It might not matter to you, but if it does you will never get there using a Chinese tool.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Unless your eyesight is outstanding get some lighted magnifiers so you can see what you are doing. .
    David, can you recommend a lighted magnifier? (brand name, model, where to buy it)

    Phil

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,598

    Default Re: Priming Queen Cell Cups w/ Royal Jelly

    Heres the one I use. Spendy, but I love it. (I don't skimp when it comes to tools) Makes eggs look like hot dogs:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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