I am about to use the Nicot system for the first time myself, so I've been reading up about it and have the DVD by David Eyre from Beeworks which is very helpful. From my understanding , it is best to leave the Nicot cage in until you have freshly hatched larva, and transfer only the cups with this freshly hatched larva,...not those with eggs, because it's very likely the bees in the starter hive will dispose (eat) the eggs. Many people have reported this happening,...so it's best to transfer only the cups with the very young larva, which they'll accept much better than eggs.
With regard to how to transport,...in the DVD, David Eyre transfers the cups with freshly hatched larva , from the Nicot cage into their cell cup holders on the frame just after it is taken out of the donor hive. Then, for transporting to the cell builder, he wraps a moist towel over the frame. I don't suspect he has to travel 30 minutes, though.
thanks for the suggestion. Several folks have told me that eggs will be canabalized and cannot be transported so I have abandoned that idea. I am going to make a small (3 frame) cell starter ang both graft into that and transport in the cell starter back to my home apiary. After 24 hours I will transfer all of the contents of the cell starter into a queenright finisher (which was also the source of the starter). It is a lot of work for only 10 cells but it should work and I will learn a great deal.
My new problem is grafting conditions. Tomorrow is grafting day and it is supposed to be a cold (mid 50's) and rainy day (suprise, right
) I will use an umbrella but I need to decide if I will be more successful grafting 1-1/2 day old larvae in these lousy conditions or grafting 2-1/2 day-old larvae on Friday which is supposed to be warm and sunny.
Any opinions on which is likely to be more successful appreciated (young larvae in the rain and cold or older larvae in the sun and warmth).
You might consider setting up your cell builder as one queenright starter/finisher ,...placing it at the same location as the donor hive, that is, if you feel that remote location is safe. Don't move it back until you've finished raising queens from that particular donor queen. You wouldn't want to disturb them in any way once they've begun to feed the cells. That way you could assure the quick transfer of larva would not risk chilling or drying....... Just another option I guess.