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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've raised several batches of 3-6 queens this spring, both from emergency cells from splits and supersedure cells from a failing queen that I successfully seperated into mating nucs.

It's pretty easy to make emergency queens, but from what I have seen, the results in terms of size and consistency of results are very variable.

The supersedure queens have been consistetly good and large, but from my experience, suprsedure queens are only opportunstic and hard to plan for.

All that background to explain why I have decided to try using the Nicot System to breed 5-10 queens from some long-term feral stock that I want to propogate (and the fact that the Nicot system has become less expensive this spring didn't hurt either :D).

I've done a lot of reading about the Nicot System and while I know it is apparenly 'easy' to graft, my eyes are not very good (I can never see eggs and only can see open brood when it practically fills the bottom of the cell) and I am going to be doing this infrequently enough that I think the Nicot System is right for me (5-10 queens bred once in the spring and once in the fall).

I am looking for advice from anyone who has used the Nicot sytem for things to avoid or to be particularly careful about. I've moved 'natural' queen cells from drawn foundationless frames and pressed them into frames of fresh comb before, but I don't quite understand the best way to introduce a queen cell from the Nicot System into a mating hive - suspend the 'hair-roller' between two frames, or is there a better way?

I plan to use a cloak board with a strong double-deep hive for starting and finishing the cells and I will be using a feral swarm that is still nuc-sized for the donor queen to build the 'graft' using the Nicot System.

Does it matter if the Nicot cage is on drawn comb or not? I've been using foundationless frames, so the easiest thing for me to do is to mount the Nicot cage in the middle of the top bar on a new foundationless frame - the bees may or may not draw fresh comb around the cage while they are acclimating to it and the queen is later contained within. I could chop a section out of a frame of drawn comb, but all of my drawn frames have either brood or stores in them (no empty drawn frames).

Does it matter if the nicot cage is mounted against the top bar, against the bottom bar, or in the middle of the frame?

I am sure I will have more questions as this adventue unfolds, but this is probably a good enough list to start.

Thanks for anyone who can give me the benefit of their experience and wisdom in this exciting new chapter in my beekeeping/beebreeding education...

-fafrd
 

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Grant wrote up a pretty good tutorial on the Nicot system. Do a search on here for Nicot to find the thread. He was giving his tutorial away for free.
 

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It won't matter a bit that the Nicot frame is on foundation rather than drawn comb. They will draw out the foundation soon enough.
The only problem I've had is workers putting honey in the plastic cups. Just set them out & other bees will clean them up if this happens.
Good luck!--Danno
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thaks fr the suggestions, everyone. I already have Grant's tutorial and I will read it again before beginning. My questions are more related to the set-up phase as I plan to follow Grant's methodology (though if anyone has any words of wisdom not captured in Grant's tutorial, I am all ears).

One other question I have is related to te cell-bar set-up (and I suppose this question relates to grafting as much as to the Nicot system): I am planning to only have a single bar on a deep frame - does it makeany difference if te single ell bar is mounted on top, near the bottom or in the middle?

Also, should I worry about the remaining space? If the bees fill the empty space on top of the frame bar with comb I guess there is no queen available to lay into it, so the most I would have to worry about is some stored honey and pollen. Clear what to do with the stndard 2-frame-bar / 20 queen cell configuration in a dee frame, but what do people typically do if they only have a single frame bar and only 10 queen cells in a eep frame?

-fafrd
 
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