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  1. #1
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    Aug 2005
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    Embarrassed Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    The Queen was on the first brood frame that I checked in the top box - I take that as a good sign. Now lay, your Majesty, lay. (Thank God it takes me an hour and a half to get to the yard where she is or I would be checking progress every half hour!)
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  2. #2
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    Apr 2013
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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Is it difficult to get them into the cup cage? How long will you leave her there? Do you put attendants in with her? I presume she stays in her original hive.

    I ask as we received one of those systems but haven't had the courage to try it yet
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    It took about two minutes to get the queen to leave the clam shell catcher and descend into the cage. Workers can get into the cage without needing to be added in - the cage is designed to prevent the queen from leaving (queen excluder) and it does not prevent workers from entering. I had the super containing the cage on a hive for several days before I installed the queen and at one point there were a bunch (maybe 30) workers in the cage. I hope they were polishing the cells in preparation for the queen.

    This is my first use of this system - I will check on Wednesday to see if the queen has laid eggs in the cups and try to estimate their age. I have put together my cell builder with a cloak board - for the time being the metal partition is not installed. We had (I'm undertaking this project with two friends) 10 frames with various amounts of brood in the top box - set that up yesterday (Saturday.) It will be replenished at the time the cups are added. We will probably use this as a finisher as well. If we get any queens from this first experiment we will be pleased.

    There is an e-book by Grant G that describes making the Nicot system work (better than the directions) Have you looked at it? As I recall I downloaded it from Amazon onto my Kindle - the cost was minimal.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  4. #4
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    Apr 2013
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Thank you..no I have not seen thee book but will look for it.
    I had wondered if one was to leave the front off the cage for it to get polished...now I have then answer..the workers fit in.

    I guess the front will need to be lifted off to release the Queen.

    How did you hang the Nicot cage in the super?

    I also wonder why they have so many cups in the cage? Do you think folks actually can handle over 100 Queen cups at a time ?

    How many do you hope to set up? Do you have lots of mating nucs set up? I don't have much extra brood, stores and drawn comb to give to a lot of nucs.

    Please post how things go.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Finksburg MD
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    9

    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Please post pics as you go.
    Thanks

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    I will post pictures when I visit them next.

    I placed all the cups - While I have no need or desire to make that many queens from reading it seems at least at first the queen is extremely reluctant to lay in a Nicot cage and one has to get the cage to smell like it belongs in the hive.

    You won't need to take the cover off to get the queen into the cage. There is a plug over a hole - remove the plug instead. Once I've harvested what cups I intend to I will free the queen. I will probably leave the cage (with plug installed) in a super on top of the donor hive in order to have it get thoroughly bee smelled. I want the rest of the frames drawn out too. (Nicot cages go in a medium frame - I hadn't used mediums before and so didn't have any well used supers with drawn comb. The bees will just have to start from scratch and draw out all the frames.)

    As for mating nucs, we haven't set anything up yet and won't until we see what we get for cells. We have a couple of queen castles and a bunch of 4 and 5 frame nuc boxes. As per the general advice in the queen rearing literature, we will make do with what equipment we have for mating purposes until we get through the process a few times. We are planning on two cycles (at most) this summer. We've got six colonies at this location and another twelve in short range distance to provide brood/bees for the mating nucs. The queen castles (where each division gets 2 deep frames) are far more frugal of resources than the 5 frame nucs.

    The book: NICOT Queen Rearing: The Non-Grafting Method for Raising Local Queens - by Grant Gillard available in paperback and download - I downloaded my copy - cost was $5.95
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
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    423

    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    Thank you..no I have not seen thee book but will look for it.
    I had wondered if one was to leave the front off the cage for it to get polished...now I have then answer..the workers fit in.

    I guess the front will need to be lifted off to release the Queen.

    How did you hang the Nicot cage in the super?

    I also wonder why they have so many cups in the cage? Do you think folks actually can handle over 100 Queen cups at a time ?

    How many do you hope to set up? Do you have lots of mating nucs set up? I don't have much extra brood, stores and drawn comb to give to a lot of nucs.

    Please post how things go.
    Depends on your size and the strength of your starters. 10 starters to kick off 110 cups if you put roughly 15 cells per starter, or half that many starters if you put 30 cells in each.

    Also, I figure that it gives the queen some extra room to lay. Four days confined with just 15-30 cups to lay in isn't great for the queen, I'd reckon.
    www.apisrustica.com (French-only website) Bee Breeding: Canadian nuclei & queens / northern hygienic bees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
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    1,939

    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic View Post
    Four days confined with just 15-30 cups to lay in isn't great for the queen, I'd reckon.
    You don't confine the queen for 3-4 days. I released the queen after 14-18 hours. If I left the queen for 24 hours many cells would have double eggs. The strange thing was the both eggs would hatch and be lying on the jelly. I only used cells with one larva so I don't know when, or if, the bees would sort out the double larva.
    Bruce

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Thanks...downloaded the e book..cost has increased by $1...inflation

    I guess you could start with 2 frames and empty foundation in the nucs.
    Thanks for sharing on this thread. It seems I am not alone in considering this way of Queen rearing. I guess you will get capped workers from the cups you leave behind.
    Last edited by WBVC; 06-03-2014 at 10:05 AM.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  10. #10
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    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    I guess you will get capped workers from the cups you leave behind.
    You can but I usually just pulled the rest of them and washed them for use later. I didn't leave the frame in a hive permanently. I did do that for a year, but found that I had honey or pollen or some other substance in the cells when I wanted to use them again. So at the end (I graft now), I got the frame out of storage, inserted plugs, put the queen in the cage for 18 hours, released the queen and 3-4 days after the queen was added I would harvest larva. Then wash the remaining plugs and put the frame back in storage.
    Bruce

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Ahhh...so you leave her in for a very short time so you can get the right age larvae for grafting.

    Do you graft from the cups when they are 4 days? Why graft rather than simply using the cups directly?

    Are the rigid cups difficult to graft from?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  12. #12
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    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    No, you use the cups directly. They pop out of the case and into the plastic cells that go on the bar. I now just graft and don't use the Nicot (Jenter) box anymore.
    Bruce

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    That makes sense..grafting from the hard plastics seemed odd

    Why do just graft now..is it easier? Do you confine your Queen to the graft donor frame prior to grafting so you know how old the larvae are?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  14. #14
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    Nov 2004
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    I had no real problem with the Jenter system except I had to find the queen (in what was generally a large hive) to put her in the box. Then less than 24 hours later I had to go back in and release her. Then three days later I had to go get my larva. I also had to get the timing right with making my cell builders. So I would look for good weather windows, but by the time I got to doing these things I was opening the hives in the rain, etc.

    With grafting I still need to set the cell builder up early, but then I just go out and find eggs/new larva on a frame and I'm ready to go. I can even find the frame I want to use a day or so early (has eggs) and then put it in an easy spot to get it quickly when I'm ready to graft.

    By the way, there is nothing wrong with grafting from hard plastic. In fact perma-dent plastic foundation is my favorite to graft from. For me, new soft wax is just to easy to poke holes through when I'm trying to graft.
    Bruce

  15. #15
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    Apr 2013
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    I read Grant Gillards book. An informative read.

    It did raise some concerns and a couple of questions.

    He says to keep the Queen confined in the grid for 4 days before checking for larvae. Then you look for larvae...transfer larvae not eggs. That apparently can take several more days.

    Then when you release the Queen back onto frames it seems the disruption to General laying often disrupts the hive and they supercede her! The Queen you picked as your best one

    Do others find this an issue?

    If so do you put her in a Queenless nuc and start a new hive with her and give a Queen cell back to the original hive?

    He also said that he harvests larvae every day for several days. He has to leave the Queen in the grid during this time as otherwise the workers eat the eggs and larvae. This has the queen confined for quite a while. He also says that you can't add more cups to the original cell builder each day as the workers only pay attention to the first cells added. This requires several cell building colonies...hard for those with few colonies to start with.

    Do others find this? How do you handle (1) Queen reintroduction (2) larvae from more than one days collection
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    I released the queen back into the hive today without worries until I read Janne's post just now. I found enough cells with royal jelly that I was able to fill a row on my bar (13 cells). Now I'm worried that I missed a 2nd queen in my cell builder as I saw lots of larvae but no eggs today (or one inadvertently came in on donated brood) - I went through it to look for queen cells. None found.

    Concerns like this make me wish that the yard was in my back yard instead on an hour and a half away!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  17. #17
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    Apr 2013
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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    How long was the Queen confined in the grid? Please let us know if she goes on as normal or if they try to supercede her.

    Do you mean you found open brood in your Queenless cell builder? If that is the case won't the rogue Queen tear down the QC you are making?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    @WBVC - the queen was in the Nicot cage four four days.

    I did not see any eggs in the cell builder - some older larvae which would be right if there were eggs on the brood frames used to make it up. I was not the only person working on it so I can't say with certainty that there were not eggs.

    We are using a double deep with the queen kept to the bottom deep with a Cloake Board - the Queen Excluder part of the Cloake Board has been on for six days or so and the metal plate two days.

    I will keep you posted re: the queen. She is either a Bee Weaver queen or an open mated daughter of a Bee Weaver. Her colony over wintered well in a triple deep and has not received any medications since I have had her.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Finksburg MD
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    9

    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    Were you able to get any pics of the nicot process? We would love to see the different stages as it is used. From the queen in, to the cup transfer to the cells being accepted.
    Thanks

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
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    796

    Default Re: Queen installed in Nicot Cage

    I use a roller type cage to capture the queen and insert her into the Nicot. The roller cage just fits over the excluder plug opening. However I have had problems of the queen not wanting to lay in the Nicot and at time have had to keep her confined for up to 48 hours.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

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