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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning on using the Nicot system to collect eggs and new larvae in cups from the hive of a friend and then transporting the eggs and larvae to the starter hive I have ready in my back yard.

Is this OK to do? Are eggs and 1-2 day old larvae very temperature sensitive and if so what temperature is low enough to damage them?

Obviously if it is a no-no to allow eggs and day old larvae to drop below 90 degrees for more than 15 minutes or so, I will need to revise my plan.

It is more trouble, but as an alternative, I guess I could tranport my cell starter hive to my friends apiary, insert the top-bar with eggs and day-old larvae there, and then transport the entire starter hive back to my apiary at night once the bees are all tucked away.

Advice appreciated - does anyone else ever transport eggs and day old larvae between the donor hive and the starter hive, and if so, what are the easiest and most effective ways to manage a 15 minute car ride?

-fafrd
 

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I've grafted on the back of my car in 60 degree weather and had 23 out of 26 take. Obviously you don't want your larvae exposed to cold temperatures for to long otherwise they will chill. I try to be quick and efficient when dealing with larvae transfers. I use to really stress out about the conditions. I would only graft at my home yard where I could take the frames inside, however I found this method was not very good especially when some of your best hives are located 30 mins from home. Therefore I started grafting inside my vehicles and have found no ill effects by doing so.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The biggest problem is the larva drying out. I would just wrap a warm moist towel around them and take them home.
Thats a great idea. I guess I could also put a moist towl in a cooler to provide even better insulation. It's about a 15 minue drive from the donor hive to my house, so it sounds like if I keep them moist and from cooling off to far too quickly, I should be able to manage getting them home before putting them in the cell builder.

Thanks guys!

-fafrd
 

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Get a nuc box shake about 4-5 frames of nurse bees, add a frame of pollen and honey, then drive to your friend's house harvest your nicot system and place the cups in the bar frame and place them in the nuc you made add an empty frame and spray it with water (this provides water for the bees and nuc) leave the nuc closed up for 12 hours. This nuc will start your cells and allow you to transport the larva without worries. After 12 hour get your graf (they should have started most if not all) and place it in your finisher hive and dump the bees in the nuc back in the hive you got them from (usually the finishing hive) it is that simple.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion, habutti

A frame of pollen+honey and an empty frame which as been spray-filled with water, right? I was going to feed very light syrup 1 part sugar to 2 parts water) - if I fill the second frame with this light sugar syrup does that mean I have taken care of the water/moisture requirements?

-fafrd
 

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That should work, but I would keep the water frame or a soaked sponge in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That should work, but I would keep the water frame or a soaked sponge in it.
Thanks again habutti. What about the option of transporting the eggs and larvae in the Nicot cage prior to grafting? Would you think I would be better off transporting the eggs and larvae within the Nicot cage and grafting after I reach my home apiary, or transporting the eggs and larvae immediately after grafting at the location of the donor hive?

I've got a 30 minute drive to the remote apiary and a 30 minute drive back to my home apiary. I've got a 3-frame nuc to transport to and from. I would appreciate advice on which of the following choices you think would be more successful:

1/ fill the nuc with 2 frames of capped brood + 2-3 frames of bushed nurse bees, or 1 frame of capped brood, 1 frame of stores and the same amount of nurse bees (just for the 30 minute drive to the donor apiary and the 30 minute drive home)?

2/ transporting the eggs and fresh larvae in the Nicot cage prior to grafting or transporting them in the cell cups just after grafting?

3/ transferring the frames and larvae into the queenless starter/finisher hive as soon as I reach my home apiary or waiting until the next day so that the cells will be started (obviously after grafting in the case that they are tranported within the Nicot cage)?

The least disruptive thing to do would obviously be to transfer 2 frames of capped brood and associated nurse bees from the queenless starter/finisher hive into the 3-frame transport nuc (possibly with another frame or two of nurse bees brushed into the nuc), drive 30 minutes to the donor hive, transfer the bruhed off Nicot frame (after the queen has been released) from the donor hive to the transport nuc, drive 30 minutes to my home apiary, graft, and transfer all frames and bees from the transport nuc along with the freshly grafted frame of cell cups into the queenless starter/finisher hive. Is there a problem with this approach? How much are the queenless nurse bees likely to do to the 110 eggs and fresh larvae witin the worker cells of the Nicot cage durng the span of a 30 minute drive from theremote donor hive to my home apiary?

For water, I plan to have at least one boardman feeder through the cover of the transport nuc, so in the worst case I can have water on the nurse bees all the time including durng the two 30 minute drives, and otherwise, I can plan to have no water on them during the actual transport, but can provide water through the feeder whenever the nuc is stationary.

I appreciate any further guidance you (or anyone else) has for me.

-fafrd
 

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If my previous suggestion does not work for you, then you can opt for either one of the options you mentioned. Keep in mind that you will have to be very careful and somewhat swift to ensure the quality of your final product. One minor setback I see when transporting the nuc with the nicot cage is that the bees may continue to feed the young larva as if they are going to rear regular bees. But remember at the end of the day it has to be what works for you; things may be done alot different from apiary to apiary obtaining the same results. Trial and error is also your friend :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
One minor setback I see when transporting the nuc with the nicot cage is that the bees may continue to feed the young larva as if they are going to rear regular bees. Trial and error is also your friend :)
Thanks again habuti.

I plan in any case to transport the larvae on the day that they are one or at most two days old, so it should be OK if they are fed as regular bees since I plan to graft immediately upon arrival 30 minutes later.

Another thing I am considering is to trasport at the egg stage rather than the larvae stage - is there any reason this is a bad idea? This is obviously only an option with a nicot cage (or a frame full of fresh eggs) but avoids the issue with any 'feeding' during the transport stage.

I am interested enough in this question that I plan to start a new post on the topic.

-fafrd
 

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Another thing I am considering is to trasport at the egg stage rather than the larvae stage - is there any reason this is a bad idea? This is obviously only an option with a nicot cage (or a frame full of fresh eggs) but avoids the issue with any 'feeding' during the transport stage.



-fafrd
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.

It is more trouble, but as an alternative, I guess I could tranport my cell starter hive to my friends apiary, insert the top-bar with eggs and day-old larvae there, and then transport the entire starter hive back to my apiary at night once the bees are all tucked away.
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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.


Denny,

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).

-fafrd


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.
 

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Don't forget to add a queen excluder on the queen-right finisher or you will be in for a sad surprise.
 

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Is this OK to do? Are eggs and 1-2 day old larvae very temperature sensitive and if so what temperature is low enough to damage them?

Obviously if it is a no-no to allow eggs and day old larvae to drop below 90 degrees for more than 15 minutes or so, I will need to revise my plan.

-fafrd
Eggs and young larve stop ("pause") developing when the temperature drop. You can safely transport a frame of eggs and day old larvae for 12 hours in 18 degree celsius if they are kept moist with a damp towel.

In Sweden we usually gather to graft (1-2 USD per graft, DIY) at breeders and then go back home to our prepared cell builder. Some travel far and only protect the grafts by wrapping a moist towel and putting inside a cooler box in the trunk of their car. My personal experiance is less than two hours.

I think you are confusing the temperature issue with ripe cells. I pull mine from the incubator and wrap in dry towels, put in non-heated cooler box and then drive to waiting splits. One hour is fine, I would be thinking of adding warm water bottles to the cooler box if going for three hours or more.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Eggs and young larve stop ("pause") developing when the temperature drop. You can safely transport a frame of eggs and day old larvae for 12 hours in 18 degree celsius if they are kept moist with a damp towel.
This is very interesting information - you are saying that at 65 degrees F (18 degrees C) eggs and young larvae are not damaged and merely 'suspended' sothat total development time is increased.

What about at cooler tempeatures, is the same true? Yesterday it was 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) - would these temperatures for a period of less than one hour have damaged the larvae or merely suspended development?

-fafrd
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Apologies for my previous-to-last message which had the quote all mixed-up - it looks like the iPhone does not work properly with BeeSource yet...

Anyway, just wanted to report back on what I did for my transportation problem. I ended up forming a 3-frame cell starter using the nurse bees from 6 deep frames of brood and transporting the graft back from the donor location after grafting from the Nicot Cage at the donor location.

Left the graft in the starter cell for 24 hours and then transferred graft, bees and the other two frames into a queenright finisher today.

There were only 1-3 cups with larvae in the Nicot Cage (I posted a new thread to try to understand why), but all the the larvae were successfully transported and started in the cell starter.

The idea of wrapping the graft or the entire Nicot Cage in a moist warm towel (mainly for the moisture and not so much for the temperature) sounds easier that messing around with a starter cell, but having gone through it I did not think the starter cell was THAT big of an ordeal - it essentially amounts to borrowing many of the young nurse bees from a queenless hive for 24 hours.

Will try another graft in the Nicot Cage in a couple weeks after these first cells are ripe and next time I will probably try the 'moist towell transport technique' so I can compare the two.

The easiest thing to do would be to wrap the moist towel around the entire Nicot Cage and graft after arrival at the home location - is there any reason not to do this and to graft before trasporting the grafted top bar in a moist towel?

-fafrd
 

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You could also graft at the site and wrap in a moist towel for transportation. You can also use a queen-right finisher with a queen excluder.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You could also graft at the site and wrap in a moist towel for transportation. You can also use a queen-right finisher with a queen excluder.
Thanks habutti.

Is there a reason that it would be better to graft at the site and transport after grafting, versus transporting in the Nicot Cage and grafting at the home location?

-fafrd

p.s. I used a queenless starter cell for the first 24 hours and then transferred everything into a queen-right finisher (over an excluder - I used a Cloak Board).
 
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