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Thanks to my eyes getting older grafting is getting more difficult, I'm considering the nicot system as a possible alternative, I've no experience with this system and was wondering if those who have would care to share their experiences. Thanks in advance.
 

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Thanks to my eyes getting older grafting is getting more difficult, I'm considering the nicot system as a possible alternative, I've no experience with this system and was wondering if those who have would care to share their experiences. Thanks in advance.
David have a look at this thread around 3rd or 4th page. I tried the magnifier psm1212 recommended and was amazed. I bought one for my son as well. Best style I have tried for comfort and light where you want it. Nicot / Jenter is a heck of a lot more dancing around to get eggs where and when you want them than grafting. I think I gave the Amazon listing of the device.

Here is the Amazon description if you don't find the thread.

From Amazon.ca
Binnan Headband LED Illuminated Head Magnifier Visor with 2 LEDs & 5 Detachable Lenses (1.0X, 1.5X, 2.0X, 2.5X,3.5X) for Reading, Jewelry Loupe, Watch & Electronic Repair
Sold by: BINNAN Official
Return eligible through Aug 20, 2020
CDN$ 20.99

 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I use a light similar to the ones shown here.
Makes the tiniest larva look huge.

Everything I have read about the Nicot system is that it is a lot harder to use than the promotional material would have you believe. And it starts with getting the queen to actually lay in the cup!
 

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I use a light similar to the ones shown here.
Makes the tiniest larva look huge.

Everything I have read about the Nicot system is that it is a lot harder to use than the promotional material would have you believe. And it starts with getting the queen to actually lay in the cup!
I like having the optics and the light on my head and moving with me as I shift back and forth between the grafting frame and the cell bar.
 

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David, I have used the Nicot kit and it is way more complicated than the description implies. I read the book by Grant Gillard numerous times and if you really want to try Nicot, please read it too. For me, the problem is that you never know when the queen will start laying in the cups so you have to start looking after the 4th day. Then, if the queen has not started, you will need to look again and again until she does. Every one of those inspections messes with the hive and upsets them. By the way, if you cannot see well enough to graft, how are you going to see the eggs in the Nicot cups to know if the queen is laying in them? It will still take magnification. Finally, when you finally release the queen from the cage, which might be 4 to 15 days later, there will be a big shortage of eggs and larvae in the hive and the bees might read that as a failing queen. Even if she starts laying right away, which I have never seen, releasing her on day 4 or 5 lost that hive 4-5 thousand new workers. I have seen a couple of queens get replaced ASAP. Needless to say, I prefer grafting. I too use plenty of magnification and lights. The NICOT experiment was fun but I will not be doing it again.
 

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I visited a beek outside Newbury MA who said that's what he uses. Raises somewhere in the 100-200 range per year. After talking with him I bought one and installed in a deep frame with a hole cut in the black acorn plastic foundation inserts. I rolled the foundation with wax and stored it away.

Duldet makes a good point about losing a massive amount of brood while she's locked away. I think this guy keeps his breeder in a 5 over 5 frame nuc. In fact half his operation like this with maybe 50-100 production honey hives which he builds up with frames of brood taken from the nucs (either weekly or every two weeks). If my girl won't kick some out in 4-5 days, I'll probably trash it. I watched a YouTube video where a guy made the second point in the previous post. He opened at 5 days, then 3 more days etc. He said by the time he had something to work with he could be 3-4 days from having queens had he grafted.

I made a few grafts take last year, but really struggled seeing them. I'll try the magnifiers as well. Thanks to those who posted links and their success with this device as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the comments, my problem stems from the fact I have astigmatism so even with strong magnification over my already strong prescription glasses, I'm at the point of needing the frame to be 5 inches from my face, i can do it, but,it's frustrating. Perhaps that's the price for something I really enjoy lol.
 

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Thanks for all the comments, my problem stems from the fact I have astigmatism so even with strong magnification over my already strong prescription glasses, I'm at the point of needing the frame to be 5 inches from my face, i can do it, but,it's frustrating. Perhaps that's the price for something I really enjoy lol.
I have a fair bit of astigmatism factor too, but still find it better to take my regular glasses off. The device I linked too has 5 sets of various diopter lenz pieces to choose from. Five inches from your face does not surprise me. That is the reason the handles on my grafting tools are only about three inches long!
Where there is the will, there is a way.
 

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I use the same magnifiers that were linked above.

OldTimer has a good article here: Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting - Cut Cell Method describing a method that doesn't depend as much on being able to see well enough to move larvae.
Yes it is a good article. I liked his method of isolating a queen behind modified excluders in his cell starter box. Getting nice tender comb drawn with right aged larva at the right time is still a bit of a trick without a means of dictating her majesty's performance. If someone is going into more than casual queen rearing they need means of controlling timing. With only maybe a dozen queens to make I am pretty flexible on timing.
 

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Thanks to my eyes getting older grafting is getting more difficult, I'm considering the nicot system as a possible alternative, I've no experience with this system and was wondering if those who have would care to share their experiences. Thanks in advance.
I haven't used them to graft with yet but am optimistic of a favorable outcome. This year I went to the eye doctor, told her what I was doing, how much magnification I wanted and at what focal distance. They made a pair of magnifying glasses for my prescription. I plan to use with a headlamp. Only thing I would do differently is get a bifocal lens that has my normal reading strength on top and the 4.75 mag on the bottom. I got the idea from an old guy that makes lots of queens per year. He keeps his Chinese grafting tool right in the case with his glasses.
I too have used the nicot system. It works, a lot manipulating of stuff, still have to be able to see. For what its worth mine probably won't get used again.....
 

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I have used the Jenter system. I've seen the Nicot. I think the Jenter is superior but the main concept is similar. Except the Jenter has all open cells for the queen to lay in where the Nicot only has every other cell on every other row for her to lay in. The disadvantage is the number of trips to the beeyard and having to find the queen to confine her. I don't have the best eyesight but if I use a flashlight and a Chinese grafting tool I can do all right. There are also the magnifying glasses and headsets...
 

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I have used the Jenter system. I've seen the Nicot. I think the Jenter is superior but the main concept is similar. Except the Jenter has all open cells for the queen to lay in where the Nicot only has every other cell on every other row for her to lay in. The disadvantage is the number of trips to the beeyard and having to find the queen to confine her. I don't have the best eyesight but if I use a flashlight and a Chinese grafting tool I can do all right. There are also the magnifying glasses and headsets...
I would bet that if you tried the lighted unit linked to earlier in the thread, you would lose the flashlight. It sets that other hand free to stabilize the hand that is holding the grafting tool. The light is very close to center and on the same plane of vision. Kills the shadows and is always shining where you need it. Much lighter than the old cyclops headband lights which sat too high above the line of sight.

You do need to see a bit finer detail to use the little pick tools compared to the chinese style. I ordered 10 of chinese ones and have thinned the tongues so they will better follow around the curve of the cell bottom. Will be 3 months or so before I get to play with them though.
 

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Meanwhile, I have read and watched YT testimonials that eye training does improve the mid-age/high-age eye problems.
There is a 70+ yo guy who runs his own YT channel from Siberia and reads and does everything without glasses.
He claims he was able to ditch his reading glasses in his 50's after few months of eye training routine.
He keeps at it and no glasses.
His channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaGTQtOczXEmhA9H9_2yYaQ/videos
He even put out an episode on this exact subject:

And here is a good read:
 

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Can not get captions to work on the video, even on my desktop...

Will say that needing distance glasses since my teens has become a blessing as I get older. Still do not need reading glasses! Used to could read up close through my distance glasses, can not do that anymore. Have mostly worn intermediate focus (computer) glasses the past seven years and this seems to be training my eyes to need a less strong prescription. Last week my eye Dr asked if I had had surgery. Quite puzzled by the changes in a little over two years.
 
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