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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK...I need to make a decision but don't have the experience to make an educated choice and I don't want to simply throw a dart at the issue.

We want to actively raise some Queens. We will try the OTS method but would like to try 2 methods:

Grafting

Kit methods...Jenter or Nicot or ??

What are the pros and cons of the Jenter and Nicot kits.

If you were to choose one to use which would it be? Why...ease of use, success of raising great Queens, reusable equipment, quality of equipment etc.

Thanks so much for your input and direction.
 

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I've done and do grafting. I started with a bent and flattened paper clip. I now use a chinese tool as my paper clip broke where I pounded it so thin and bent it. I've heard of people using a softened toothpic. Lauri here in the forums likes using a water color paint brush.

I've done and do Nicot kit. It's interesting and fun but does not always work the same way twice. Sometimes eggs get eaten, sometimes queen lays two or three eggs in cells. I do generally always get at least a few queens from using it. The most major draw back from it, in my opinion, is the expense of buying the thing.

I've done and do cutting out of cells, using a few different methods of getting those cells. They all work.

All I will suggest to you is to try your OTS method and to purchase some Chinese grafting tools (because they are cheap and easy to use) and try grafting, before you spend the expense of buying a Nicot or Jenter system.

All of the above are ways of getting larva of correct age into cell cups to be build out into good queen cells. Getting larva into a queen cell is the easy part, or it was for me when I first started doing queen rearing of any kind. To me, the hardest part of getting good cells drawn was the cell starter or cell builder, how to set it up and manage it to get good cells.
 

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I have both kits and both kits work fine. the parts for the Jenter are more expensive than the parts for the nicot. you can get more lava out of the jenter and graft out of the extra holes to know you have the correct age lava, so you can get close to 200 potential queens. it's hard to say which one is easier to get started, neither works the first few times, so any new kit I would leave in the hive for a couple of weeks b/4 trying them. agree with Ray, figuring out how to set up the starter(pre internet) was harder than getting correct age lava.
 

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This will be my first year raising queens and after much study I have purchased the Nicot system - though I haven't received it yet. I also purchased Grant Gallard's e-book on how to make the Nicot system work. From what I read it seems the key provisions are getting the bees used to/cleaning/polishing the cage and making sure the larvae are the correct age when you transfer them to the cell builder. I am leaning toward one cell builder rather than a starter and a separate finisher. Grant seems to recommend (I say seems as I don't have the book in front of me) having the mating nucs in a different yard than the yard with the cell builder. I have a couple of friends working with me on this - we will try different methods - and hope to end up with 20-30 mated queens.
 

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I am interested in using these kits as well. if for no other reason than to say I have tried them. but the cost is prohibitive to doing so on a trial basis. I am looking for local beekeepers that have them and will loan them long enough to do a trial run or two. I will then decide if I will use one, both or neither.

As for reliability in function. that is one of the things I am looking for. so failure to provide it will result in rejection of using them as a queen rearing method. I realize that is not important to everyone. But when I want 45 queens I do not want to have to produce 90 cells to get them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have both kits and both kits work fine. the parts for the Jenter are more expensive than the parts for the nicot. you can get more lava out of the jenter and graft out of the extra holes to know you have the correct age lava, so you can get close to 200 potential queens. it's hard to say which one is easier to get started, neither works the first few times, so any new kit I would leave in the hive for a couple of weeks b/4 trying them. agree with Ray, figuring out how to set up the starter(pre internet) was harder than getting correct age lava.
Thanks for your reply. What do you mean by you can graft out of the extra holes?
If you could only have one system which would you keep....Jenter or Nicot? Given I will not be going through huge numbers of replacement supplies...I like my day job...$$ is not as important as ease of use and efficacy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This will be my first year raising queens and after much study I have purchased the Nicot system - though I haven't received it yet. I also purchased Grant Gallard's e-book on how to make the Nicot system work. From what I read it seems the key provisions are getting the bees used to/cleaning/polishing the cage and making sure the larvae are the correct age when you transfer them to the cell builder. I am leaning toward one cell builder rather than a starter and a separate finisher. Grant seems to recommend (I say seems as I don't have the book in front of me) having the mating nucs in a different yard than the yard with the cell builder. I have a couple of friends working with me on this - we will try different methods - and hope to end up with 20-30 mated queens.
What were the specifics that moved you to choose the Nicot system over the Jenter?

No one has mentioned one of my big concerns..with either system...I need find and catch a Queen! I can identify eggs and larvae but am useless at finding a Queen. I have never handled one. I do believe with either system you can by pass confining the Queen and graft directly into the cups.
Is the book worth purchasing? Where did you get it from?

Thanks...if we can manage to raise a Queen I will be so excited:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I watched Michael Palmers video on the sustainable apiary. I could follow how set up and used a cell builder. I am not certain my hives will be as strong as his. He also used pollen in his cell builder. I do not have ready access to that. He said not to have open brood in the builder yet I believe Michael Bush puts open brood on each side the Queen cell frame.
I guess it is a lot of trial and error until you finally get a method that works for you.

I had hoped to put cells directly into nucs and let them mate from there. Is there a problem with that?
 

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What do you mean by you can graft out of the extra holes?
If you could only have one system which would you keep....Jenter or Nicot? Given I will not be going through huge numbers of replacement supplies...I like my day job...$$ is not as important as ease of use and efficacy.
the jenter has extra holes that are closed on the bottom, not cup to pull off. the queen usually lays in these extra holes, so if you want to try grafting you can and if you did things correctly you have the correct aged lava.

I would go with the nicot only because the parts for the jenter are to expensive and hard to find, also the nicot cell "holder" has plastic that juts out a bit and when you plant them in the nuc to hatch they stay, sometimes the jenter yellow holders are hard to keep in place, I always carry tooth pics if I have a problem.
 

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I have Jenter kits. The Nicot looks like it will work the same. The nice thing is it separates other issues from grafting. I think it's worth learning to graft. But there are other graftless methods that don't require buying anything. The Hopkins method is one. As is Miller, Better Queens etc.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesoldbooks.htm
 

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I still wonder if you can actually get better queens using the graftless techniques? There is virtually no disturbance to the larvae using these systems. Like any physical skill the more you do the better you become, but despite how good you are at grafting there is still a disturbance. Does it matter? Probably not. I graft now simply because it takes less planning and fewer times into breeder colonies. However, I own a Jenter system and raised some VERY nice cells with it. I actually just bought a refresh of Jenter supplies from Bluesky last week. I plan to give it a go again in the near future.
 

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>I still wonder if you can actually get better queens using the graftless techniques?

Up until I got a Chinese grafting tool, I wondered too. But the Chinese tool picks up enough royal jelly I don't think it matters. I can see no difference in the quality of the queens and I've done a lot of both grafting and Jenter and little bit of Hopkins. The quality and quantity of queens seems most tied to the density of the bees in the colony and the resources coming in at the time. I do think when you are starting out a graftless method lets you know it's not your grafting that is at fault, so you can focus on the other aspects. Once you have a feel for things and a knack for grafting, grafting is just simpler. I can set up a starter and go graft today. I have to plan more and make more trips to the beeyard to do Jenter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OK....went on line to order...I usually order from Mann Lake as shipping is free.
The system they have us called Mann Lake..not Nicot or Jenter..they don't carry those.
Is the Mann Lake essentially the same or simply a second rate knock off?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Brushy Mountain has the Nicot System. I also they have nice Queen castle box. Shipping will likely be a bundle.
If there are 110 cell cups it seems like a lot of larvae for someone just starting.
Would 2 of the Queen rearing frames...20 possible places per frame and the bits required to attach them be adequate to start with? Does one need the roller cages or is that just for those hatching into incubators?
 

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If there are 110 cell cups it seems like a lot of larvae for someone just starting.
Notice there are 110 locations but the rest of the kit is only adequate to handle 10 of them. they do not expect this system to be as much as 10% reliable. That observation has always turned me off from purchasing it. You would then have to go back and purchase all the other parts in bulk.
 

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>Would 2 of the Queen rearing frames...20 possible places per frame and the bits required to attach them be adequate to start with?

That depends on how many queens you want to raise to start with...

>Does one need the roller cages or is that just for those hatching into incubators?

The cages for the Jenter are, in my opinion, too small. I bought some but ended up using the ones from the Nicot system as they were roomier. But no, you don't really need them if you aren't using an incubator.
 

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The cages for the Jenter are, in my opinion, too small. I bought some but ended up using the ones from the Nicot system as they were roomier. But no, you don't really need them if you aren't using an incubator.
Yes, I agree. In fact MB taught me that trick a long time back. The Jenter cages are REALLY skinny and are very tricky to get over the cells. If you go with Jenter, Bluesky is a great supplier, and has all the parts needed. The Nicot cages will need to be purchased elsewhere, but are worth it since they fit the Jenter cell holders pretty well.
 

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Just a note: we DO have the JENTER "hair-roller" cages. These are meant to work over the grooved plug holders and have a feeder cap included.

We are always happy to sell replacement parts for your Jenter kits (covers, plates, tools etc.) However, you may need to call your order in, until we get the site completely filled out. Otherwise, most common consumables (cups/plugs) are on the site under the the Jenter Brand page.

Although we do plan to offer the Nicot kits and parts in the future, we still feel the Jenter kit is far superior (and the original). There are no issues getting Jenter parts from us. Although Mr. Jenter passed away last fall and during his final years, supplies were sometimes difficult to obtain, his family took over the manufacturing we have always had a study supply.

INTERESTING IDEA: Did you know you could connect 3 Jenter cages in one frame, allow the queen to run free between them and increase your production three-fold?
 
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