grafting setup for older eyes
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    DeFuniak Springs, FL USA
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    143

    Default grafting setup for older eyes

    Instead of taking over someone else's thread, I would like to share my grafting setup with everyone.
    In the last few years my eyes have really gone to heck.
    Having tried every type of magnifying glasses I could think of, to include some through the lens dental loupes like you dental hygienist and dentist wear (start at about $500 for cheap ones), I was researching purchasing an observation microscope.
    Realizing I was going to spend several hundred dollars I decided to try a cheap chicom "microscope" (magnified viewer may be a better name) for $50 from eBay. I figured it was worth the try just to see if I could do the eye hand coordination.
    If it didn't work out I figured the grand kids could play with it looking at their dirty finger, bugs, boogers, etc.

    microscope.jpg

    I have only grafted twice this year using it but I am pretty happy with it.
    It magnifies plenty for me, not sure of the true magnification, its certainly not the advertised amount. The LED light is plenty bright. It is battery operated and had a memory card slot. Uses the older phone charger (check junk drawer in garage, that where mine were)
    It takes video and photos, the button for photos takes a pretty good push and makes the whole system wobble a bit. This makes it difficult to take a clear photo because the viewer is moving around.
    The focus knob is exactly as you would expect from a chicom purchase, it could use about 5 times as much travel/ play. Basically it's like its coarse threaded but extra fine threads would be better.
    setup.jpg

    I use a 10/0 (ten ought) bent painters brush to graft. One nice thing about the brush is I will often prime the cup with the royal jelly left over from the prior queen cell.
    brush.jpg

    I am able to see larva very easily. Getting the right size larva was a bit comical because I started telling myself, nope to big, only to realize they were what I was looking for after looking at some eggs.
    larva 2.jpg
    It does take me a bit to get the eye hand coordination going to find the right cell, but after about 4 or 5 grafts I am within a cell or two and don't really have any issues. IF you adjust the angle of the viewer you will have to relearn where the cells are.
    larva brush 1.jpg

    I built a custom holder to hold the viewer, it needs to be weighted on the end due to the weight of the viewer. This holds the viewer on the longer top board so you can look at the whole frame. Move the frame not the viewer.

    The custom suction mounting surface is a tin can lid. (careful edges are sharp)

    As far as putting the larva in a cup, I am able to do that with reading glasses.
    " Every apiary starts with the first hive"

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Williamsport, PA
    Posts
    478

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Very Nice!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Chico, California
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Wow! Gonna have to get one!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    DeFuniak Springs, FL USA
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    143

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Thanks
    Highly recommend it.
    Going to check Tuesday's grafts tonight ti see how many took. I got a little carried away in the moment and probably did to many per hive.
    " Every apiary starts with the first hive"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,587

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Black plastic foundation in the Pritchard box for the breeder queen to lay in was the single biggest help for me, a 7x loupe was the other big one. I also hold a mini Mag light in my non-grafting hand.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Mogollon Rim, Arizona 85933
    Posts
    747

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Have you ever thought about or heard of Lasik eye surgery, it's cheap about $300.00 and it works. I had a cataract replaced, then had the Lasik done a few years later, that was about 10yrs ago and my vision is still perfect.
    My vision was going so bad after the cataract replacement, so much so that I couldn't use reading glasses anymore. Not Good.
    All I can say is Lasik works, it removes that crap on the lens older people get on the corneas of our eyes as we all age.

    just a thought.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    DeFuniak Springs, FL USA
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Ha not that bad just yet.
    It sure is amazing though, got it done for my wife and daughter in law several years ago. Real teer jerker afterwards. Both had glasses since young children.

    I honestly don't know why more folks don't get it done. It has really come down in price.
    " Every apiary starts with the first hive"

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Spring Hill Florida
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    do you have a link where to get the microscope please?

    Found It
    https://www.amazon.com/innuoo-Micros...+Magnification

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,939

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Enjoyed seeing and reading your account, thanks!
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    2,946

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    I use this I believe I paid about $220. for it, in 2012.

    It's allowed me to be far more productive. Just the savings on being able to produce my own queens paid for it in the first month when I was more serious about making my own increases.
    I'm a penny pincher and never regretted spending the $$. Struggling to see eggs & larva through my veil out in the field is enough frustration. This magnifier is a real pleasure to use.

    I had Lasik years ago and have been wearing reading glasses ever since for close detailed stuff. But I can see farther way clearly now without glasses or contacts.

    P4180036.jpg

    P4180035.jpg

    P5310104.jpg

    P6180107 well fed.jpg

    This magnifier has a halogen light that puts out some heat, works good over a damp towel for holding larva while you set the first graft frame>Got to be careful of the distance to get the temp just right.

    P5311713.jpg

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    I see Amazon no longer carries it, here's the link for the company for direct ordering:

    http://www.penntoolco.com/7426/

    Talking about seeing eggs and larva in dark comb out in the field, I used a 500 lumen flashlight last year to aid in virgin return detection, which worked Great, but bought a new head lamp this year to try. God knows I am already a fashion statement with my beekeeping garb. Can't wait for my husband to make fun of me with the addition of the head lamp.

    Got to pick out those queens that ran out of room to lay and are on walkabout on the walls of the mating nucs too.
    Last edited by Lauri; 03-14-2017 at 10:47 AM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    DeFuniak Springs, FL USA
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    143

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    " Every apiary starts with the first hive"

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    DeFuniak Springs, FL USA
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    143

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Lauri,
    I have two of those lights, they are spendy. I use one to check the cup as I put the larva in.
    The LCD viewer works much better for getting the larva out, for me anyway.

    As far as heat, I use a couple of heading pads I set on low. I checked the temp setting when I got them but can't recall what each setting was.
    One under the ss table top where the frame it's and one the bars sit on with damp towels over. I keep other damp towels under the heading pad and swap them out every few minutes.

    I have 31 of 45 cells capped in one and 25 of 30 capped in the other builder finisher. That's absurdly good for me. Previously I was tickled if I got close to 50% to take.

    Like I mentioned above I got a bit carried away. Not sure of quality with having so many take. Well see how much rg in the cups Thursday when I decide.
    Last edited by tazke; 03-14-2017 at 11:11 AM.
    " Every apiary starts with the first hive"

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,579

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Lauri in your fourth picture down a close up of the cells there is a slightly curved egg or larvae at the 10 :00 position , is it a egg or larvae and do you have any good shots of the correct age that were looking for . I did some grafting a couple years ago and everything was rushed with all the glass members a few of mine were accepted but now I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for .I thought I would try the punch method this year .

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by laketrout View Post
    Lauri in your fourth picture down a close up of the cells there is a slightly curved egg or larvae at the 10 :00 position , is it a egg or larvae and do you have any good shots of the correct age that were looking for . I did some grafting a couple years ago and everything was rushed with all the glass members a few of mine were accepted but now I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for .I thought I would try the punch method this year .
    In that fourth photo above, there are 5 larva in the center cells that are the right age, eggs below them. Larva at the top are too old, but would technically probably still work, a matter of hours difference in their ages.










    I graft dry, but keep cups covered with a very damp cloth and get them in the cell builders quickly. My cell builders are well fed and well prepped.
    Seems to work for me.





    Last edited by Lauri; 03-14-2017 at 05:28 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  16. #15
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    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    How about a frame holder that is good for an older back. I can sit on my bar stool or stand & graft without slouching so my back doesn't get tight. The angle of the frame is more critical if your grafting old dark tough comb and need your light to see deeper into the cell.

    P1010403.jpg

    P1010405.jpg

    I use a German grafting tool with the old dark comb, cut in half so it doesn't interfere with my lens. I also touched it for a half a second on my belt sander to thin out the foot.
    Below the right one has been thinned, left on is standard thickness.

    P6280092.jpg

    Below, cut in half with a small pair of bolt cutters, before thinning the foot.
    P6182177.jpg
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Lauri thanks for posting the pics, maybe I will try a cell bar with queen punch's and one with grafts and see what takes the best .

    Will it be practical to just find a good frame of brood when I'm ready and expect to find a dozen larvae of the right age or will it be tuff and I would be better off having a queen with a fresh frame so I know exactly the age of the larvae.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    DeFuniak Springs, FL USA
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    143

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Lauri,
    I use those same bars this year. They are very handy. I do coat the sides with a little bit of wax. More of a Bloch it on than paint it on. I did one set with and one set without. The ones with wax on the side of the bars were cleaned off and the cells were much larger faster (day 2 after grafting). Think they are using the wax to build the cells.
    " Every apiary starts with the first hive"

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    404

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Lauri: I checked out those lamps and see that there are a range of options...fluorescent, halogen, and LED. I also see that you indicated your model is one with a 3 diopter lens, and they also sell one with a 5 diopter lens. From what I was able to determine, the focal length for the 3 diopter lens is ~13", and the 5 diopter lens is ~8". I presume that getting the higher magnification (5 diopter) lens, would bring the frame you're grafting from closer to the lens (so that it's in focus) and that it would interfere with getting larvae out of the cells. I know you're organized enough to use a relatively new comb to graft from, and thus can cut away the cell walls so that you're able to easily get your grafting tool under the larva you're aiming to pick up. Would the closer focal length of the 5 diopter lens be a hindrance with your setup?

    Also, do you have any thoughts about halogen vs. LED vs fluorescent? I know the halogen lights will be hotter (important to avoid chilling brood), but it looks like you're also well-equipped with hot, wet, wrung-out towels to keep things at the right temperature.

    Finally, in looking up the lamp company Electrix, I found that they're making their lamps here in the USA in my home town, New Haven, CT. Tempting to buy American and local at the same time!

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    DeFuniak Springs, FL USA
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    143

    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Kinsley,
    You should try the microscope. Cheaper than the light.
    " Every apiary starts with the first hive"

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
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    Default Re: grafting setup for older eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by Knisely View Post
    Lauri: I checked out those lamps and see that there are a range of options...fluorescent, halogen, and LED. I also see that you indicated your model is one with a 3 diopter lens, and they also sell one with a 5 diopter lens. From what I was able to determine, the focal length for the 3 diopter lens is ~13", and the 5 diopter lens is ~8". I presume that getting the higher magnification (5 diopter) lens, would bring the frame you're grafting from closer to the lens (so that it's in focus) and that it would interfere with getting larvae out of the cells. I know you're organized enough to use a relatively new comb to graft from, and thus can cut away the cell walls so that you're able to easily get your grafting tool under the larva you're aiming to pick up. Would the closer focal length of the 5 diopter lens be a hindrance with your setup?

    Also, do you have any thoughts about halogen vs. LED vs fluorescent? I know the halogen lights will be hotter (important to avoid chilling brood), but it looks like you're also well-equipped with hot, wet, wrung-out towels to keep things at the right temperature.

    Finally, in looking up the lamp company Electrix, I found that they're making their lamps here in the USA in my home town, New Haven, CT. Tempting to buy American and local at the same time!
    Yes, I believe the 5 power lens would interfere with pick up. Even the 3 power I had to cut my German grafting tool in half to have clearance. I wear my +100 reading glasses along with the 3 power and everything is very clear.

    I like (gotten use to) the heat of the Halogen lamp. The heat can dry out larva if left on too long. I keep much of the frame covered with a damp cloth while I am grafting. LED sounds pretty good.
    I use it to keep my donor frame warm while I set each graft frame, but could hold the larva in the incubator too if I wanted.

    I've used mine for about 5 years now and am gong to order an extra bulb just to have one on hand.(I can't be without it for a day during the season if it should burn out) Replacement bulb is spendy, might influence your choice if the LED bulb is less expensive.

    This unit is nice for other things too you may want to do on a larger scale, like checking out your mite drop on a bottom sheet. Big field of view for analysis.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

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