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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
made my first queens using the nicot system. yesterday, i tried my first hand at grafting using a chinese grafting needle. i had several flip over. i kept going into the bottom and trying to lift the larvae out. can some of you grafters try to explain the way you approach the larvae and how you scoop it out? i know its hard to explain but maybe one of you could simplify this for me. got home late tonight, so i will check my starter tomarrow and see if any took. thanks
 

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olky; if the tongue of the Chinese grafting needle is straight it will not usually make the bend at the bottom of the cell, especially on new comb, and will stick in the bottom. Put a little bend in it and it will turn at the bottom of the cell so you can then slide it under the larva.
 

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Like Fish said, you need to find a chinese tool that is flexible. Buy 3 of them ($1 each) and try them all. You will find one you like. First wet it in your mouth, make sure it is as flexible as you can make it, with a little bit of a bend, then just slide it down the side. You will feel a little resistance when it hits the bottom, then a firmer resistance once it reaches the far wall of the cell. At this point you just lift it out with the larvae and jelly on the end.
Just keep doing it and soon you will get the touch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
so you go down the side of the cell and then try to go under as you make the turn. do i understand that right? i was going straight in the bottom and trying to scoop up, most flipped over on me, i tried to flip back over when i put them in cell cups. i did get to check my first graphs today. sad to say no takers. thats what i'm looking for techniques. thanks guys, i will try again this weekend. any other words of wisdom from you more experienced grafters? all help is greatly appreciated. would like to make 10 more queens this year for increase. i'm running out of time.
 

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How the large queen producers do it...

Try shaving down the sides of the cells you are grafting from. Makes it a lot easier to get the grafting tip under them without flipping them. Hope that helps you!
 

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If they flip they are ruined. Larvae are plentiful, if you don't get one on the first try go to the next cell. As the tool reaches the bottom of the cell, move your wrist slightly to the right (if you are right handed) to encourage the tip to move laterally along the bottom of the cell without digging into the wax. Then keep steady light pressure on the tool. As the end of the tool reaches the far wall, you will sense a slight resistance. Don't force it or you will start digging into the far wall of the cell. Simply withdraw the tool straight out. The larvae and jelly will remain on the tool.
If you don't have a larvae with jelly on the tool, wipe off what ever you have and go to the next cell, again gently inserting the tool along the wall next the the outside of the larvae. massage the jelly into end of the tool to keep it flexible.
Another point. The larvae are shaped like a "C" insert tool here >C. NOT here C<.

The trick is to realize that you don't have to scoop. The jelly and larvae will naturally adhere to the tool, so you can simply pull the tool straight out and the larvae and jelly will be on the tool!
 

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We had the problem that the Chinese grafting tool tended to push the larvae instead of sliding underneath the larvae. It worked much better after trimming the sides of the tongue on the grafting tool so it was about half the original width. Use a very sharp pair of sewing scissors or a knife to trim it. After trimming it, you could almost pickup a larvae blind.

Still I much prefer the german stainless tool myself.

-Tim
 

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The most easy way to graft

Get a black plasticell foundation

Get it drawn out with new white wax

After drawn out place in the breed queen hive or nuc (I put my breeder in a 1/2 length deep frame and just let her have 3 frames the center frame being the GRAFT Frame.

put on the top bar your in time like (in 7/21/10 8:00 PM) after a 12-20 hour lay time I will place this in a queenless nuc or on the other side of my breeder separated by excluder. then from 3.5 days from your in Time.(Then 7/25/10 8:00AM) Graft any larva on the frame is 12 Hours and less.

AFTER GRAFTING rinse out remaining larva Do not let remaining larva in comb spin their cocoon, it will dislodge the larva on next graft when you scrape off wax. Rinse with water hose and sprayer nozzle shake out water and reuse. Get 4 or 5 of these build so you will have extra


With using the black plasticell and it is new wax TAKE hive tool a scrape down wax all the way on the plasticell very easy to graft with any tool no walls at all.



This takes planing ahead and get them drawn out
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So if you have the Nicot system why are you grafting.? I thought that is why you pay 70 bucks for the system.?:scratch:
i paid 70 bucks for the system because i was intimidated by grafting and i thought this was the way to go. the system works, after a few queens, queen rearing piqued my interest even further and since most graft i thought it would be the way to go. would i not be better off adding this to my skills?
of all the people trying to help in this post, do you have anything to contribute to grafting? thanks to all others trying to help. hopefully i can pass it on someday.
 

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Our breeders all use 000 paintbrushes, sable not synthetic. Lick them between each graft to keep the point sharp. I've tried a whole lot of flasher and more expensive grafting tools. This works the best in my opinion.
 

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I've tried grafting with the Chinese tool, the JZsBZs, and German stainless steel. They each worked, but I prefer the JZsBZs or stainless steel, I just don't seem to be able to get consistency from the Chinese tool, sometimes it works just fine, sometimes I don't seem to be able to get it to do what I want it too.

With the JZsBZs, I can just hook under the larva, like C< and with the German stainless, I pick them up like >C. I find that with the JZsBZs it is a little easier to not flip the larva. I have come to realize that if there is even the slightest tendency to "fumble" with the larva, that larva is already lost --> time to move on to another larva.

I also prefer to prime with fresh royal jelly stolen from an older, but not yet sealed sister cell. For me the larva transfers from the needle to the droplet of jelly with less chance of fumbling or trauma to the larva. I just pluck out the older larva, steal the jelly needed to prime with, move the sacrificed cell to my new bar, and re-graft it too. I only use single bars with between twelve and fourteen cell cups. My bars are mostly grooved top bars that I've trimmed down on my band saw so they are very narrow, some are customized so they are three or four inches wide, that way their cells are positioned about midway down the medium depth combs they are sandwiched between - hopefully providing them a slightly better environment. Only rarely has a cell been partially attached to a comb face. I've gotten the largest and best fed cells when I pull a comb of just hatched larva immediately before placing a newly grafted cell bar, so I try to make that happen as often as I can. I shake the bees from this comb as I remove it - leaving them behind.

My eyes are fifty-four years old and diabetic, so even when grafting outdoors in daylight I wear a bright LED headlamp focused to illuminate the cells I am looking at. I also wear a pair of high-powered reading glasses, over my corrective lenses, when using both the LED and magnification I have no trouble observing the entire grafting process - I know immediately when I've fumbled one, and can then drop it, wipe my needle and move on to the next.

I haven't tried the 000 paint brush, yet, but I believe I will try it too. I sometimes get 100% takes, but it's more often about 80%, and sometimes 0%, though when it's that low, I can usually expect to find a rogue virgin killing my freshly grafted larva. The virgin queens don't just tear holes in sealed cells, they destroy younger grafted larva, too. The first time a rogue virgin was responsible; every day, for three days, I would re-graft the cells, then when I checked on them the next day, nada. On the third day, when I pulled the bar, there she was, and she was still intently focused on her business of killing/removing the young larva from my cell cups. Arrgh. I quickly convinced her to stop killing my grafted larva.
 

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Our breeders all use 000 paintbrushes, sable not synthetic. Lick them between each graft to keep the point sharp. I've tried a whole lot of flasher and more expensive grafting tools. This works the best in my opinion.
Thats exactly what i use,having also tried most kinds of grafting tool, i find the small sable brush to be the best.
 

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I had poor luck last year with the chopsticks grafting method, and I don't recommend it.

For me, last year's best queens came from the Miller method: angle-cut foundation drawn out into comb and transferred to a queen includer for a day, then transferred to a queenless nuc until day 10 or 11. No grafting necessary, and you could get more than a dozen queen cells on a frame.

On day 9, make your splits. Day 10 or 11, check your splits for queen cells cut any queen cells out if you are trying to be selective about breeding them. Carefully cut out the queen cells from the Miller method frame and push them into the combs of the queenless splits. They should emerge between day 14 and day 17. If they are open mating, you should see eggs in two to three weeks after emergence. It is not a high production method, but good quality queens resulted.

There is a good photo and how-to in Beekeeping for Dummies, by Howland Blackiston.

Its an easy backup plan while you are trying to graft, as is the cut-cell method, as Oldtimer has posted. I did it just to see which method worked best. I'm glad I tried at least a few.

Also, try grafting the way Velbert says, against Black plastic foundation, but wear a loupe magnifier- the kind that fit like a visor. I'm so much better coordinated when I can see what I'm doing, and that loupe helps a lot!
 
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