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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I grafted 96 larvae for queens. As usual, I placed wet towels over the frame immediately after pulling the frame from the colony. But this time, I was in a hurry, and did not wring out the towels. I noticed that some of the cells on the frame with larvae had a tiny bit of water in them [my towel probably dripped some water into some of the cells].

Amazing thing is, it was the easiest time ever for grafting. Incredibly easier to graft.

But now I am concerned that maybe it was not a good idea. I was thinking that a little extra water may have altered the content of the royal jelly and now the queens may not be so nice.

On the other hand, if a little bit of water does not affect the larvae, I was thinking it sure would be nice to lightly mist the larvae before grafting...

My million dollar question:

Is it OK to lightly mist larvae before/during queen cell grafting?

Does anyone here mist your larvae before grafting?

Thank you,

Soar
 

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Me too.

The only offering I can make (from someone who's rubbish at grafting) is that when I first starting enquiring into grafting techniques, I found that many folks were grafting 'dry'; some pre-loaded the cells with a small dollop of RJ 'as it comes'; some used 50/50 RJ diluted with water, and one or two guys even diluted the RJ with 'runny honey'.

Now on the assumption that diluted RJ still produces an acceptable success rate, it would appear that the presence of some additional water from light misting - which will no doubt be removed, anyway - isn't a contra-indication. (And might even help the larvae from drying-out.)

A meagre offering to the question, I know ...
LJ
 

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Yes. It was a common topic a few years ago. Royal jelly v mist how heavy etc.
 

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There is even a u-tube out there of a Russian technique where the larva are washed out onto a tray and picked up from there. A real assembly line of grafting.
 

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I haven't tried it, but my feeling is it probably didn't hurt. Personally my method is this:

Get or make a starter box (swarm box):
https://www.betterbee.com/queen-rearing-supplies/SB1.asp

Soak two large sponges and put them on the bottom. Go through any strong hives looking for combs of nectar (uncapped preferred), pollen and mixed nectar and pollen. Put four frames that equal about equal parts pollen and nectar in the starter. You can just put two or three in at first and then shake in nurse bees until it's overflowing. Now fill it out to four frames. Put on the cover. Look for the right age larvae to graft. Put the frame in the starter for 30-60 minutes. Come back and get the larvae. They will now be flooded with royal jelly. Better than water. Now you can graft. After you graft, put the grafts in the starter. My queen cell frames are 3/4" thick so I can put two frames in. I leave this at least 24 hours in the shade. If the weather is not hot, I leave them another 24 hours. Then I put them in the finisher.
 

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how do they make sure they haven't turned over and drowned?
They were not careful, that I remember. Larva were floating in a puddle in the tray. I was never brave enough to try it, nor grafting enough to be worth it. Only pointing out that misting was not an issue. If I was still shake free enough to graft at all, I would head towards MB's take.
 

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I haven't tried it, but my feeling is it probably didn't hurt. Personally my method is this:

Get or make a starter box (swarm box):
https://www.betterbee.com/queen-rearing-supplies/SB1.asp

Soak two large sponges and put them on the bottom. Go through any strong hives looking for combs of nectar (uncapped preferred), pollen and mixed nectar and pollen. Put four frames that equal about equal parts pollen and nectar in the starter. You can just put two or three in at first and then shake in nurse bees until it's overflowing. Now fill it out to four frames. Put on the cover. Look for the right age larvae to graft. Put the frame in the starter for 30-60 minutes. Come back and get the larvae. They will now be flooded with royal jelly. Better than water. Now you can graft. After you graft, put the grafts in the starter. My queen cell frames are 3/4" thick so I can put two frames in. I leave this at least 24 hours in the shade. If the weather is not hot, I leave them another 24 hours. Then I put them in the finisher.
Thanks for the timing. I've been tempted to do this, but was thinking it would need to be left much longer than that.
 

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Only reason i'd be concerned with this is the temperature shock. Something so small as a larvae even a small mist drop could change its temperature drastically. theoretically if the water was Goldilocks temperature that matched the brood nest it would be fine.
 

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I never leave the ungrafted larvae over an hour or they tend to get too much royal jelly and that sometimes makes it harder to graft. I never leave the grafted queen cells more than 48 hours and if it's hot never more then 24 hours. And the swarm box is always in the shade. It would be better in the basement, but once I had one that was leaking bees and the residents of my home protested...
 

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I never leave the ungrafted larvae over an hour or they tend to get too much royal jelly and that sometimes makes it harder to graft. I never leave the grafted queen cells more than 48 hours and if it's hot never more then 24 hours. And the swarm box is always in the shade. It would be better in the basement, but once I had one that was leaking bees and the residents of my home protested...
I always do a similar thing, but instead of a swarm box, I simply use the cell builder/finisher. I place the frame that I'm going to graft from in overnight (approximately 8 hours). I believe that this serves two purposes, gets the nurse bees producing and laying down RJ, and makes grafting much easier. I use the JZ-BZ grafting tool, and the extra RJ really helps.
 

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Have anyone ever seen an early preference for certain larva? More RJ in certain cells after 20 minutes or other signs. I've never thought to look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Please let us know how these larvae were accepted in the cell builder by the nurse bees.
Knisely,

I have left the grafting frames undisturbed since grafting day. Later today I plan on checking to see how many sealed queen cells we have of the 96 larvae grafted. I will do my best to post pics of the results.

Last, I will do my best to post results after the queens emerge, mate, and begin laying.

Thanks again everyone for your excellent input!

Soar
 

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There is even a u-tube out there of a Russian technique where the larva are washed out onto a tray and picked up from there. A real assembly line of grafting.
love a link if someone can find it.
Tabor talks about collecting eggs that way but I hadn't heard of this being done with larva
 
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