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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Kingston Springs, TN
    Posts
    112

    Default nicot system just put in today.

    I caught my queen today and got her in the nicot cage. she looks peetyy upset or scared. she just crawled around for a few miutes looking for a way out. There were plently of bees in these with her. Should I be ok ? Should I keep checkng her everydy ?

    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    I use the Nicot system and love it. But...there are disadvantages and drawbacks that almost make me want to learn how to graft. Almost.

    Nicot works for me, but the learning curve must be managed. There's a ton of stuff no one tells you on how to make these plastic contraptions work.

    First, prior to introducing the queen, I hope you put your egg laying box, the cell grid/cage, into the brood nest to "warm up" for 24 to 48 hours. If not, your queen will fight the containment and refuse to lay eggs for a couple of days.

    Also, queens seldom lay eggs the first day (my experience) and so I come back on the 4th day to check for eggs or larvae. Seldom finding any, I come back on the 5th day, sometimes the 6th day.

    The good news is when you remove the back side of the cell grid, you can plainly see if you have eggs or larvae, the newly hatched larvae will have a little drop of royal jelly. You don't even need good eyesight to tell if the larvae has hatched. Don't bother transferring eggs. It won't work.

    My encouragement is to keep trying, and don't worry about making mistakes. It took me about four years to learn by trial and error managing my growing frustration level and suppressing my urge to shout all manner of profanities. Keep trying.

    I've got a resource I need to post that details my step-by-step process...and it's been revised a number of times. Nicot is not the perfect system, but those of us too stupid and stubborn to learn how to graft, it does the trick.

    I wish you well,

    Grant
    Jackson, MO

    Looking for a good resource on swarm trapping? Try this link: https://www.createspace.com/4106626
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Kingston Springs, TN
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    Thank you Grant, I did have the nicot box in the hive for a few days and they attached it to the comb around it. The next few weeks I opened the hive 3 times looking for the queen and couldnt find her. The frame with the nicot was out of the hive during that time. Yesterday I found her and grabbed the frame with the nicot and scooped her and a few bees in it. I hope the hive smell was still on it. (Why I didnt leave it in the hive Im not sure.) But the queen just crawled around from corner to corner once I put her in it. But that's not much different than what she does when I pull a normal frame out and shes on it. I just wanted some reassurance I guess, that its normal for her to look bewildered or distraught for being locked into a strange box. I have read that some people have trouble getting this to work. It does seem that many people are not following instructions and or are moving eggs instead of hatched larve and therefore cant get it to work. I appreciate your advice and wish me good luck. thanks again !

    Steve

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,482

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    I've used the Jenter system with success. I now graft, but still like some aspects of these queen systems. One really nice feature of these systems is that there is nearly zero disturbance of the larva during transfer. Whether this yields measurable benefit may be debatable, but all the royal jelly and the placement of the larva within it remains fixed during transfer. Another benefit, is that my young son really liked to help since these systems are very lego-like!! Perhaps I can persuade him to get into grafting as my near vision isn't that great. Grant provided a really good overview.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    675

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    1. Place NICOT I hive 24 ours before putting queen in.
    2. She very seldom lays in there in 24 hours. I usually wait 48.
    3. They will not make queens from eggs. Must have royal Jelley.
    4. Bring pliers to pull cups off.
    5. Double and triple check queenless cell builder for queen cells. I've wasted a whole frame of larvae one too many times to find an open queen cell a week later.
    6. Get the excel calendar to help with dates
    7. Use queen cages. Inevitably, queens will hatch a day earlier than you think.
    8. If possible, place unhatched cells in new hives before they hatch in cages.
    9. If queens do hatch in cages before you get them into new hive, leave them in the cage at least 24 hours and next to a frame or hatching brood if you can. Even then, I've seen hives ball the new queen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Carlton,WA,USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    I'm a believer in spraying the cage with sugar syrup. The workers clean up and thus "polish" the plastic cells, getting rid of any foreign smell.

    I used to do this one day before caging the queen. But last year I tried caging the queen in the wet cage immediately. This cuts down on work and risk.

    Based on one year's experience, the queen will start to lay in 12 to 24 hours.

    Riverhawk, what kind of cages do you use ? I've never understood how they work.

    "Met-How" Kraig

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    675

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    I forgot to mention spraying with sugar water on my list. It's a must.

    Here's a pic of the cages. I'd spread them out a little more than I have. It's a little tight in there sometimes on this frame. But the cages are a must in my book due to how much we are controlled by weather. Nothing worse than rain on cell placement day!

    image.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,482

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    If its show-and-tell, then look at the cells on my website: http://localvahoney.com/?page_id=105 These were made with the Jenter system.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Kingston Springs, TN
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    Ok, I opened my hive w/the nicot yesterday, and found the queen doing fine and a buch of eggs in the cups. It was overcast and around 60 degrees, so I didnt play round, count eggs....I just took the front grid off and let the queen out and put the frame back in. I'm going to look for a day by day instruction guide on Beesource and the internet in general so I dont mess this up. I put the queen in the Nicot on May 1st, went back to look for eggs on May 4th, found eggs only, released queen. So that's the timeline so far. Thank you to those who have posted with advice and encouragement ! I will update when anything else significant happens.

    Steve

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    675

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    Steve....send me a private message with your email address. I will email you 2 excel file calendars for the NICOT that details what to do and what happens each day. It's a great tool to have.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,332

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Kingston Springs, TN
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    I checked my nicot box on the 4th of May after putting the queen in the box on the 1st. I found eggs so I let the queen go. I came back on the 7th of May and found about 20 of the cells with a dab of royal jelly in them and small larve in the bottom. So I moved the cups to the cell starter frame and put it in the top box of one of my hives. I made the top hive queenless by putting a board in between it and the bottom box. I them shook all the nurse bees I could in the top box with the queen cups. I also put another box on top of the cell starter so I could put a jar of syrup over the opening in the top cover to feed them. I put a shim at the bottom of the box so the bees could get out. I didnt feel like they should be locked in there with no way out. Is that a good idea or should I leave them locked up ? Thank you to theriverhawk for sending me an excel sheet with the timeline. Thank you also to Ross for posting a link to Michael Bushs timeline. I forgot that was out there as well. Heres a few pics

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/jxvjdz2ukm...2012.13.33.jpg

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/leufhaugqd...2012.14.39.jpg

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zv4xrlawit...2012.16.16.jpg

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3qtx853ckr...2012.16.21.jpg

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/d42v61gkqr...2012.26.56.jpg

    Above are links to 4 pictures of Nicot cups with larve in them on my dropbox storage account, sorry they arent embeded, but the links wont embed in the post. I put about 20 of these on the cell starter frame. I will look in a few hours to see how many they are working on. The last picture is after I was done moving them over. I had more cups then space, so I put a few in between with beeswax.
    Last edited by Steve Johnson; 05-09-2013 at 04:06 PM. Reason: adding pics

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Kingston Springs, TN
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    I have 5 nice queen cells that are being built. Its 5 in a row which seems weird. I must have not put enough bees in the box and they just decided to work on the closest ones. Below are pictures of them. Does that make sense ? Any opinions ?

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/njpcyc1k9n...15.11.41-1.jpg

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/64r2uemrlh...2015.11.44.jpg

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/em4jxlb7a8...2015.12.06.jpg In this picture, you can see a few cups that look like they were worked on at one point and partially closed in. Do you think they gave up because there werent enough bees and they decided to focus on just the 5 that are built out ?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,922

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    That box looks pretty empty of bees. I would expect to see bees on the top and between every frame when I remove the hive top.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,575

    Default Re: nicot system just put in today.

    Get yourself a pair of these to remove the cell cups from the grid:


    I rarely use my grid anymore..much faster and easier to graft. But I DO use it when I have a good queen on tough older comb. Grafting from that is a real pain. The grid comes in handy for sure then.

    Yeah, I know I could just insert a frame of new comb but when she's covering three 10 frame deeps, I prefer to confine her.

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