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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    11

    Default Observations from first graft attempt

    After my first grafting attempt here are a few observations that I offer in the hopes of helping others in their attempts at grafting.
    1) Before you start, have your queen cups in the grafting bars, have your wet rag to put over the grafted cups and have your grafting tool, headlight, etc. all in place before you go get your frame of brood.
    2) THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART>>>>Follow Randy Oliver’s advice and do the grafting in a darkened room and wear some form of magnifying eye ware and an LED camping type headlight (the brighter the better). Without the dark and the LED aid my 60 year old eyes couldn’t see anything. Youth is wasted on the young. I hate the YouTube of the guy grafting outside in the sunlight!!! LOL. With the magnifier and LED it is text book clear what you have in front of you.
    3) Once you get used to seeing what is in front of you there really is a marked progression starting at the center with capped brood, then really big uncapped larva, then smaller uncapped larva, then really new smaller larva (these are what you want to graft) and then eggs. Or find the eggs and then take the larva next to them. This is not new information just confirming the known for us neophytes.
    4) There is a learning curve in using the Chinese grafting tool. Here are my 2 cents worth:
    a) Don’t be timid, shove the grafting tool in with some force or you won’t get any royal jelly with the larva
    b) Imagine you are putting in the grafting tool at 6 o’clock on the cell and the bendable end of the tool hits bottom, bends and scoops up the larva and the jelly. Now, before you start to withdraw the tool, make sure the tool is back to six o’clock and you are pulling straight up. At first I was pulling out the grafting tool and losing contents to the 12 o’clock side of the cell as the end was too far away from six o’clock. In other words straight in, hit the bottom and have the end of the grafting tool bend and then straight back out.

    Practice your Zen like tai chi slow movements, it is easy to bang things around.

    As my mom used to say “Do as I say, not as I do!” I unfortunately violated most all of these observations in my first attempt. Maybe my first attempt will be a “Good bad example”.

    I transferred 25 larva and in a few days we will see. Put my frame of grafts in the second super above a Queen excluder in a hive of two deep, 10 frame supers with a honey super on top, “Harden” style. I’m just trying to raise a few queens for use on our cherry orchard. Let the games begin!

    Thanks to the experienced beekeepers on this forum. I really appreciate the knowledge and experience that is so freely shared on this forum.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Palmer, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Observations from first graft attempt

    Thanks for posting your experience. I'm going to try next year

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    493

    Default Re: Observations from first graft attempt

    Can't quite tell if you put the graft in the second deep above excluder with brood, or the grafts went into the super above the 2 deep hive bodies with nectar and stores vs. brood. You'll want lots of young bees/brood in the hive body, plus something to make them feel queenless. You'll discover a lot more observations along the way. Good luck, have fun.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Observations from first graft attempt

    Brandy

    Put grafts above excluder in second deep super.

    Progress Report:

    Sunday was first attempt. Grafted 24...None took. I think they became too dry...they seemed to have small amount of royal jelly with larva.

    Tuesday grafted 24 from different hive. There seemed to be twice the Royal Jelly and I was better prepared. Checked today and only 3 took....a dismal result but all things considered maybe a small group to start isn't bad, so I can get the next step of queen castle/mating nuc figured out.

    Won't try anymore grafts till I see how these work out in the next step....this learning curve is steep.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,486

    Default Re: Observations from first graft attempt

    I think you will have a better take if you use a 5frame queenless nuc packed full of bees. Three frames capped brood, one of honey and pollen, then a couple extra shakes of bees. Put a feeder on your nuc and use it as a starter and let them finish the cells. I have started queen cells above an excluder in a queen right hive several times with pretty good success. But, only during swarm season. I have not had as much luck doing it that way during any other time of year. JMHO

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Sarasota, fl
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Observations from first graft attempt

    My best results are in a totally bloodless and queen less nuc. 1 frame honey, 1 frame pollen and 2 frames of drawn comb. Feeder bucket and closed up tight with screened bottom. Shake a few frames of nurse bees from open brood frame to really raise your success rate.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,043

    Default Re: Observations from first graft attempt

    farmer, did you put the frame with the cups on it in the hive for 24 hours prior to grafting so that the bees could polish up the cups and everything would have bee smell on it?

    i also used two deeps, but slid a cloake board in between to make the upper deep queenless for 24 hours prior to placing the grafts. there is also a trick with the entrances that is used to get more bees in the top box during the cell building, here is a link:

    http://www.delta-business.com/Calgar...ue%20Cobey.pdf

    i think it was mostly beginner's luck, but on my first and only attempt so far i had 12 out of 19 grafts accepted.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Observations from first graft attempt

    Yes..let them clean up cups....am getting ready To try swarm box method...i am Thinking our near dearth wasa factor in my poor yield...will try swarm box monday if work allows.....to be
    continued

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,043

    Default Re: Observations from first graft attempt

    understood farmer, the swarm box method is what my bee supplier uses. good luck monday if you get to do it!
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

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