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I'm wanting to start raising queens for my own purpose, not for sell right now. Tell me where to start. I prefer to do the grafting method. What do I need, what one learning material or book would do the trick?
 

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Easiest, getting started tomorrow would be the nicot system.

If you want to graft.

You need cell cups...
(Can be plastic or wax...)

Then you need a grafting tool...
(toothpick, China bamboo, german steel, JZBZ plastic, or the mechanical looking one.)

Then you need lots of proper age larva.
(Ideally around 12 hrs, but less than 24hrs old.)

Once you have the graft. It's the same as the nicot system.

You take those little larva cells and put them in a nuc.
(Or starter/finisher hive, if your to doing a bunch)

Depending on the number of grafts you are doing, you would then move the capped cells to other nucs or incubator with protectors.

Roughly 28 days from start to finish to make a fully mature laying queen.

I plan on buying the book "increase essentials", but you can find most of what I said online. I've only done walk away splits, but I've watched grafting being done. May try it next year, but I don't have enough bees to justify making queens at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies so far.
 

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I found myself in the same position. I did some research and bought some hardware. I made my first attempt at grafting yesterday.

It seemed to have gone well, I will know tomorrow, when I do my first graft result inspection.

This is a link to a queen calendar that is a great tool.
http://www.thebeeyard.org/queencalendar.pl?month=5&day=22&year=2010.

I used the Chinese grafting tool and the push in queen cups. I simply pushed the cups in to an empty frame. For my first attempt, I grafted into 13 cups, which all fit along the top bar.

I placed the grafts into a queenless Nuc, and then will decide where to split them off after they form.

Good Luck.
 

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what did you prime the cups with?
I did not prime the cups. I had attended a queen rearing workshop that was provided by my local club, and I learned that priming the cups was not alwys required. There seemed to be sufficient fluid surrounding the larvae that I selected. The largest point they made me aware, was to be very careful about not flipping the larvae. If it flips, it will not be able to breath and that is the end of that larvae. It was actually pretty simple to scoop out the larvae, as with anything, the more you practice, the better you get at it.
 

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i haven't been priming the cups either...it might be necessary if there is an hour or more between grafting and getting the cells into the hive, but i just put a damp towel over the grafted cell bar until i'm ready to put it back in the frame.

i've also detailed some of the equipment i bought, and what i am using here:
http://thecompleteidiotsguidetobeek...com_kunena&Itemid=93&func=view&catid=15&id=11

most important...don't rely on a queenless nuc to raise a bunch of cells...you want a really strong colony with lots of nurse bees. i've been splitting nucs off of full sized hives (with the queen and all the open brood) and using what's left over to raise the cells.

deknow
 

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My first attempt at grafting was not that productive. Out of the 13 cups I grafted to, the bees only drew out 1 cup. The cell builder was a five frame Nuc that was not really bursting with bees.

I made a second attempt using the cloake board method. I set up a ten frame double deep hive that was really strong and had a good laying queen in the bottom deep. I grafted to 16 cups after the cloake board shield had been in place for 24 hours. I just removed the shield this morning and inspected the graft to find three out of sixteen cells are being built.

My next challenge is going to be where to put the queen cells. I purchased a queen castle. This will provide me with four, two frame areas in a single deep body. Each area has its own entrance. My plan is to set this up a day before the queens are to emerge, which is July 8.

On a side note, I was able to harvest some royal jelly from a different hive. I froze the harvest and will try to use it on my next graft attempt. This is all a learning experience. I am having fun figuring out what works and what doesn't.
 

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Don't give up BilllBee. This past weekend I grafted 7 cells and got 7 accepted. I made my own frame, wax cups, and grafting tool. The cells are developing well, should be capped by Friday. On my first couple of attempts I got very low procentage of acceptance. For example 2 out of 14, but those 2 queens are fat and laying now.
good luck.

Infofly.
 

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Infofly - I am also interested to hear about the methods you employed to have such a high success rate. I have read that 70% is a great rate of acceptance from those who do it on a regular basis. Your 100% is well beyond that.

Could you explain your method?
 

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I think the first thing you need to decide is how many queens you want to raise.

If I only wanted a few (10 or less) queens, I would just make a hive or nuc queenless, and let the bees make several emergency queen cells. I would then cut the cells out and use them.

If I wanted to raise 50 queens, I'd probably go with the Hopkins method.

If I wanted to raised hundreds and hundreds of queens, I'd take the time to develop the skills to graft.
 

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NewbeeNnc -- sorry about hijacking your post. But here is what i did last weekend.

I am no expert by any means, but I did a lot of research before attempting queen rearing. My system is very simple, The grafting frame is a standard size frame made out of scrap wood - with 2 removable cell bars.
Starter hive: I took a deep box, two frames of open brood with bees, plus two frames of empty comb on the outside. Empty comb was filled with sugar syrup. Grafted frame will go in the middle between brood frames. Total 5 frames, with double screen on the bottom to provide ventilation. In addition I shook couple of frames of bees into the starter box.
The box went into the cool place in the garage overnight.
On Sat morning the box went on the top of the future finishing hive but not connected -with double screen on the bottom. Later that day I used big size wax cups and grafted 14 cells - zero acceptance. On Sunday I used smaller size wax cups, primed them with royal jelly (not diluted) and grafted only 7 cells and put them on one cell bar - there was immediate interest from the bees.
Checked on Monday evening - all 7 cells were accepted, I could see the large amount of royal jelly inside of each cell. Kind of cool sight after zero acceptance from the day before.
At this point I made the connection with the finisher hive. The starter box remained on the top of the finisher, but I removed the double screen board and used queen excluder to separate starter from finisher. Nurse bees from finisher have access trough the excluder to the starter box.
Checked on them yesterday - all 7 cells were enlarged, almost to the final size. I could see a lot of jelly in cells and larva. According to the calendar they should be capped on Friday. But I suspect that in this weather maybe they'll finish them tomorrow.

How to make wax cell cups - get a 1/4 inch dowel, round one end to form nice, smooth surface - I used the drill and sand paper. Take container with liquid wax - careful with melting - and glass with water. Let the stick rest in the water for a while, then dip the wet end of the stick in the wax, and water, and wax again. Repeat couple of times - don't put the stick in the wax more than 3/8 of an inch. Then gently rotate wax cup off the stick with your fingers.
To put wax cups on the cell bar - I used small 3/4 inch round pieces of wood. When you remove the cell - you grab it by that wood pedestal. All connected to cell bar with wax.

Grafting tool - made out of wooden coffee stirring stick. I thinned one end out to the point the wood could bend in the bottom of the cell. Maybe i's 1/16 wide and paper thin at the end. This way, after wetting the end of the stick I can slide it under the larva in the cell. But I don't think this is the best tool - I ordered popular grafting tool just to check which works better for me.

So far so good, I can't wait until tomorrow to see when they cap them.
Hope this helps.

Infofly.
 

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Here's an observation I made that was one of those AH-HA moments for me. If I'm set to graft on Monday I look for a frame with eggs on it in the donor colony on Friday. I mark this frame and make a sketch in my notebook as to where on the frame these eggs are located. At the same time I place the cell frame with cups in this colony to get polished up. On Monday I pull the marked frame and the cell frame, brush the bees off the marked frame (no shaking as this may mess up the larva), wrap it all in a warm damp towel and head to the honey house. The AH-HA comes when you see that the eggs hatched Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday before you got there. Some of those larva are three days old and although all are small, you have to select the SMALLEST ones. The ones closest to JUST hatched. That's where having the sketch helped me out cause I knew where I needed to look. After that, a good LED light (no heat) and some jewelers glasses make selection easier. I've been using the Chinese tool as well and plan to buy some more just to see if the next one is better than the one I have. I've been reading here in the forum that although all are made the same, one might be better than the other (more flexible, better plunger, etc...)

Good luck,

Pete0
Bena, VA
 

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I'm just a rookie but I like QUEEN REARING ESSENTIALS by Larry Connor. Step by step instructions with lots of information. Purchase at wicwas press.
 

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Got 6 out of 7 developed into mature qcells. Moved them to queen castle last night - queens should emerge either today or tomorrow. Each queen castle has four 2 frame compartments. Now I have to wait for eggs.....
wish me luck.

Infofly.
 

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I would make up the nuc 2 days before they are to hatch on (7/8/10) so you can let the nuc stay queen less over night before placing the cell in on 7/7/10 some time the cells will hatch early.



My next challenge is going to be where to put the queen cells. I purchased a queen castle. This will provide me with four, two frame areas in a single deep body. Each area has its own entrance. My plan is to set this up a day before the queens are to emerge, which is July 8.
 
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