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Discussion Starter #1
I just grafted my first larvae I tried it last year with no luck I could not get them out of the cells. I finally went to a slightly larger size and it was easy after that. More of a c shape and not a comma everything I know of the subject was from YouTube and here but there was a fine line for me from what I could get out and what would not stick to the tool. Is this everyone else’s experience? Also how long until I can see wether or not any are accepted?
 

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You will likely be able to tell by the next day. They clean out the cups pretty quickly if they're not interested in developing a queen, or if the larvae are too old.

I usually warm up on my first attempt by lifting a few "fatties". After I feel back into the groove, I'll start grafting correct size larvae into cups.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Optimally, you want the comma, not the C shape, but if you kill all the commas because you are learning to use the tool you will have zero acceptance. So... graft the smallest larve you can without squishing them and the bees will decide. I had better acceptance with 24 hour larvae than I did with 12. 17 out of 24 and the queens all emerged. Unfortunantly after that they didn't fare so well because I left them in the incubator too long. Oops. Do what you can now, but try to improve your skill and get the fresh hatched larvae later.
 

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I claim the title of being the World's most incompetent 'grafter' ... but what has been working for me is:

a) identify appropriate cells with a magnifying glass.

b) with a scalpel or similar, cut-down the height of the cell walls around the target cell, in order to reduce the 'attack angle' of whatever tool you're using.

c) I use a 000 sable brush. Pre-moisten and place the bristles just above the lava of interest, with the brush at the lowest 'attack angle' possible, pressing down extremely gently, only sufficient to flatten the brush tip against the cell bottom. Then, whilst rotating the brush clockwise a quarter turn - slide it backwards a millimetre or two, underneath the larva. By adopting this motion the larva will then ride-up onto the top surface of the brush tip, along with a small quantity of Royal Jelly.

d) depositing the larva into a cell pre-primed with a small drop of Royal Jelly is simply the reverse of this, that is - place the brush tip down into the recipient cell until it flattens against the cell bottom. Rotate the brush a quarter turn anticlockwise whilst withdrawing it away from the larva. The larva will then ride away from the soft brush bristles upon it's bed of Royal Jelly.

Good light is essential throughout. The above method can be used even on the newest and softest comb.
LJ
 

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When I first started graphing a friend told me to get a pair of "alligator glasses." That's a pair of the drug store reading glasses strong enough to make the larvae look like alligators in the bottom of the cells. I found the magnification really helps with leaving the larvae near (think hanging off) the edge of the tool so the larvae can "get some traction" when you're trying to deposit them in the bottom of the cup. I normally don't use the Chinese graphing tools.


FYi, take the glasses off before trying to walk away for any reason, just not a good idea. lol
 

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I'm here wishing you luck AMK. I'm going to start setting up my cellbuilder this afternoon. We're finally getting some decent weather up here north of Dallas and in a week I'll give grafting my first go too. I plan to use a 000 brush and reading glasses for the graft or may fashion a hook type. I think I'll do one bar of grafts and a bar of cell punches. I figure I should get some cells from one method or the other
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I will definitely look into reading glasses I bought a cheap magnifying headset with light from amazon and it’s heavy and falls off my head but I absolutely needed some sort of magnification. All I did for starter colony was grab a recently laid frame of eggs and larvae from a colony with a queen I liked then grab a couple frames of capped brood and food from a colony that had a nasty queen I killed a week earlier and also shook as many of those bees as I could into the new colony. I took this colony back to my house which is 15 miles away from my other hives and grafted and framed. I have a feeder in the box and threw some pollen sub on top of the inner cover. I probably broke all kinds of bee keeping norms but I really wanted to practice and just see what would happen. Checked them today it’s been about 17 hours since I put the cellls in and I would say I had about 40-50% success I’m guessing many cells were being built up and others had so many bees clinging on them I can only assume they were building them out to! Pretty excited I watched a video the guy said 10 days and they begin to emerge? Is that true at what point do I put the cages on 5 days?
 

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Way to go! I'm attempting grafting for the first time this year and it's great to hear about your success.

It just snowed 58" in the past seven days, so it will be awhile before I get started :)

RMH
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Cages? What kind of cages do you have? Or did you graft into the Nicot cups? The JZBZ cups do not accept a cage, just a cell protector which is not the same thing. I would wait until two days pre emergence to put the cell into a hair roller cage that has a drop of honey on the bottom of it if you used the Nicot cups.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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You need to read up on that a bit more. The orange cell protectors are used when you install your qc into a mating nuc or hive. They will not keep another queen from killing the one inside. Note that cell protectors are open at the bottom where the queen comes out. There are some hacks that show how to make a hair curler cage work with the JZBZ cups. I think JC's Bees has a video.

I mounted Nicot holders to my cell bar and plan to try grafting into the cups this year after I figured out the cage issue last year.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ya I assumed it would fit I’ll have to tape it or something or just put the cells in my nucs
 

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Good luck with the queen rearing. I hope to make my first grafts of the year this weekend.
 

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Did the bees cap your cells? I made my first grafts yesterday and was totally surprised at how many of them the bees are drawing out. I wish I knew how to post a picture....
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Some of the cells I thought they were drawing out they didn’t but either way I ended up with 8 less than what I intitially thought. They should be emerging soon if they are going to. Maybe a couple more days.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well out of 8 cells that took the two I left in the cell starter have emerged. I had them in hair roller cages and released them into small nucs. They went right in unnoticed. The other cells are in other hives I treated with Formica and have not emerged. I suspect I either killed them or it’s just a big coincidence the two early birds were were the two in the starter that did not have formic. I wish I could of got a pic of them but didn’t have my phone with me.
 

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I claim the title of being the World's most incompetent 'grafter' ... but what has been working for me is:

a) identify appropriate cells with a magnifying glass.

b) with a scalpel or similar, cut-down the height of the cell walls around the target cell, in order to reduce the 'attack angle' of whatever tool you're using.

c) I use a 000 sable brush. Pre-moisten and place the bristles just above the lava of interest, with the brush at the lowest 'attack angle' possible, pressing down extremely gently, only sufficient to flatten the brush tip against the cell bottom. Then, whilst rotating the brush clockwise a quarter turn - slide it backwards a millimetre or two, underneath the larva. By adopting this motion the larva will then ride-up onto the top surface of the brush tip, along with a small quantity of Royal Jelly.

d) depositing the larva into a cell pre-primed with a small drop of Royal Jelly is simply the reverse of this, that is - place the brush tip down into the recipient cell until it flattens against the cell bottom. Rotate the brush a quarter turn anticlockwise whilst withdrawing it away from the larva. The larva will then ride away from the soft brush bristles upon it's bed of Royal Jelly.

Good light is essential throughout. The above method can be used even on the newest and softest comb.
LJ
I may b a challenger to your most incompetent grafter title! I do the same thing basically, now i squash down one wall of the target cell which make it SOOOO much easier to get the tiny larvae out.
I also use magnifying LED head piece thing i ordered online so i can see since im getting old and blind.
 
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