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Just finished reading Queen Rearing Essentials, great book by the way. I was wondering if anyone here has primed the cell cups with purchased royal jelly like it has mentioned in this book. If so where do you purchase the royal jelly?
 

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Just finished reading Queen Rearing Essentials, great book by the way. I was wondering if anyone here has primed the cell cups with purchased royal jelly like it has mentioned in this book. If so where do you purchase the royal jelly?
havent tried priming the cells but if your cell starter is strong enough the nurse bees will produce PLENTY of royal jelly.
I have only grafted a couple rounds of queens so far but have had good acceptance without priming the cell cups at all.
I think this year i may try putting a tiny drop of honey into the cells on the grafting bar and putting it into the cell builder a day or two in advance of the graft. There was a thread somewhere saying that this increased the graft acceptance.
I think i got 85-90% acceptance last round of grafting i did. Not sure if that was beginners luck but i think the more you graft the better at it you get.

I dont think priming with royal jelly is necessary.
 

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Too risky because royal jelly, being a hive product, could bring brood diseases into your operation. There's no way to know where it came from. if you are gathering from your own bees, that would be different, because you could examine the brood frames to make sure they showed no signs of disease.

Nancy
 

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I agree, do not use RJ from an outside apiary!

I'm in the minority in that I don't like the Chinese tool, instead I use the JZ-BZ grafting tool and find that priming is very helpful for getting the larvae off the tool. The trick that I use is to simply place the frame that you plan to graft from into your cell builder for a day. The next day there will be plenty of RJ that you can use for grafting.
 

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I don't prime them anymore and have yet to see an advantage. But when I did, I collected my own. I agree with the above that it's a risk to use an outside source. If you really want to use royal jelly here is Jay Smith's advice in Queen Rearing Simplified:

http://bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearingsimplified.htm#c6

"Before grafting, a supply of royal jelly is necessary. Some very successful queen-breeders report they get satisfactory results without its use; but I have never been able to procure as large acceptance or as good strong queens without it. (Transcriber's note: Jay Smith changed his mind on this.) J.W. George of El Centro, California, gave to the beekeeping fraternity a valuable little kink when he explained that royal jelly can be bottled and kept in perfect condition from one season to another. I have practiced this to advantage, and find one of the great difficulties of queen-rearing is thereby removed.

"If you have no royal jelly on hand, a colony may be made queenless until they build queen-cells, when you can get the jelly from them. After the first grafting, some of the jelly in a few cells you have produced may be used; but, in this way you continually destroy good queen cells.

"As a container for royal jelly, I use a small porcelain jar with a screw cap. A piece of waxed cardboard in the cover makes it air-tight. Let me offer a suggestion as to where you can get one of these jars. Make a raid on your wife's manicuring outfit, and, if luck is with you, you will find one of these jars. To be sure that luck will be with you, better do it when she is out. This jar usually has some pink dope in it. Take this out, put it into a tin can, present it to your wife with your compliments and make off with the jar. Thoroughly sterilize this jar by boiling, for the bees seem to object to the funny smell that comes with it. If your wife does not have this, or if you do not have a wife, you can go to the drug store and find just the size and style that suit you. The dope looks as though it might be of use if you put it into the grease cups of your flivver, but I do not want to suggest too many dangerous experiments for you to try all at once. For a jelly spoon, I prefer to make one out of the bone handle of a toothbrush, which also may be found in the manicuring outfit. Break off the brush and whittle down the small end until it fits nicely into a worker-cell. This jelly spoon and the jelly jar are to be carried in the pocket of your trousers or dress, whichever you wear. While working with your bees during the season you will be running across colonies that have royal jelly to spare. Whenever a swarm issues, just take out the jar and spoon and get the royal jelly. I have found that I come across enough in my regular work so that I never have to make any special hunt for jelly. It is well to have two of these jars; keep one in your pocket and the other in the grafting room."

Later, though, Jay Smith said this in Better Queens:

http://bushfarms.com/beesbetterqueens.htm#Shortcomings of the Grafting Method

"We used to prime our cells with bee milk but, after careful examination, believe it was a detriment, for the first thing the bees do is to remove all the milk we had put in."
 

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The risks with bought RJ is you don't know what diseases come with it, you don't know how it might have been adulterated, you don't know how it's been stored and deteriorated.
 

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I was wondering if anyone here has primed the cell cups with purchased royal jelly like it has mentioned in this book. If so where do you purchase the royal jelly?
For the same reasons mentioned by others I would not use bought in royal jelly, we collect it from our own colonies during the season and store it in eppendorf tubes in the freezer.
 

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"We used to prime our cells with bee milk but, after careful examination, believe it was a detriment, for the first thing the bees do is to remove all the milk we had put in."
Seems like the definition of "priming" in the above needs to be defined. Even the Chinese tools deposit RJ, so would this be considered a detriment? The other side of the spectrum would be a totally dry graft (zero RJ) and just the larvae. Never tried that, but I suspect that they would be much harder to mange as they may dry out too quickly and be rejected. The approach that I posted above uses a tiny spot of RJ just to assist removing the larvae from the tool and is about the same amount as the Chinese tool deposits.
 

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>Seems like the definition of "priming" in the above needs to be defined. Even the Chinese tools deposit RJ, so would this be considered a detriment?

When you store royal jelly it's not fresh. When you transfer royal jelly with the larva it's fresh. No it would not be a detriment.
 

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I prime the cups with purchased royal jelly and that makes much better queens, much better than dry grafting. But that's just my experience.

I buy it from a professional beekeeper who specialized on royal jelly production. You need a few cups only for thousands of queens. Stores best in a fridge.
 

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No thanks. We use a very small drop of distilled water in each cell cup. If I wanted extra Royal Jelly at graft time, I would either double graft or store my own. IMO, it is much more important to have a lot of nurse bees in your starter and make sure that they are well fed with pollen and syrup even on a flow.
 

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I prefer the jz-bz grafting tool as well. Last year was my first year grafting and only needed 10 so I did 20 and think I got 6 to take. Ended up cell notching a frame for the others I needed. But I wanted to try priming the cells just a little to make it easier to get them off the tool and in hopes it might increase my cell success ratio. Anyways great thread thanks for the bit of advice Bernhard.
 

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I guess I’m the only one who thinks collecting and selling royal jelly is just wrong. Deb
 

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in hopes it might increase my cell success ratio.
You get better results by using larvae from the same age for grafting. Bees first tend to nurse the older larvae and dismiss the younger larvae. Until about 12 hours later. If the bees see there are more than enough new queen cells, they nurse the younger larvae only and eat up ALL older larvae.

If you graft 60 percent young larvae and 40 percent older larvae you end up with 60 % cell success. It is important to chose larvae of the same ages, the closer the better. And if you graft the youngest larvae – remember: the best larvae are those you can't see – you get the best results you can wish for. Always above 90 % success from early April to late October in my operation.
 

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Just curious - why do you think doing this is 'wrong' ?
LJ
I don’t agree with collecting royal jelly from hives and selling it. The honey bees are capable of doing what is necessary for rearing queens for those who do this. To me, and I am doing a comparison not anthropomorphizing the honey bee to humans, it’s like employing a crew of women who are lactating and pumping them to sell their baby milk. I realize that bees are animals but I couldnt come up with another comparison. Deb
 
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