Last week we started the series on queen rearing by having a little bit of an overview, some insights, and some back grounds and lists of sites and videos to watch for informational purposes. This week we will be getting into the tools, hardware that you will need to have on hand before you do your first graft.
So if you want to do grafting there are some specialized tools that will be needed.
This is a picture of a master grafting tool. A master grafting tool takes a steady hand, lots of experience to use and is not forgiving when you make a mistake.
Cost $49.80 for tool
Cost for extra tongues $5.60ea
This is a picture of a plastic grafting tool. The plastic grafting tool is a bit more forgiving and the tip is flexible whereas the master tool, the stainless steel tools are not flexible or forgiving. This is the recommended starter tool for the beginner.
Cost per tool $3.95
This is a picture of a stainless steel grafting tool. This particular tool can cause damage to the larva when grafting and it does not pick up very much royal jelly with the larva unlike the plastic tool.
Cost per tool $4.60
Time for a video:
https://youtu.be/PJ_79D1ASlg Please watch the video because this gentleman is a very experienced beekeeper. In the beginning of the video he is explaining a 10 over 10 queen rearing method. You will also notice that he speaks about a breeder queen coming from Germany. Pay special attention to the Day markers in the lower part of the screen. These are very important since in queen rearing whether it is this method or another one that you choose to do the schedule is very important and cannot be missed or delayed by even a day. He stated he will return in 10 days, Not 7, and not 12 but, 10days. Schedule, schedule, schedule. You will read me saying this over and over again. In this method it is Day 10 when you will do your grafting of cells. If you notice he has a plastic grafting tool. Don't expect to be at 100% grafting your first try. Most people that graft shoot for 50% success rate. Pay special attention to the number of cells he is stating that should be used not how many he is actually doing. The number he is doing are for the video. Frame placement is very important when grafting, you have to have pollen frames close to the grafting cells for the nurse bees to feed the larva.
Day 12 of the schedule. You should be checking for the cells that the bees have accepted and are feeding and building.
Lets chat about cell finishing hives. These should be strong hives and they will finish the feeding and capping of the queen cells. Once you have the cells capped they are ready to go into 2 or three frame nucs for hatching and breeding. At this point you now have new colonies of bees.
Well that was a good video now here is another one that will show.
https://youtu.be/kkVJPqHJ5EE This video goes into grafting technique. Please pay attention to this video since this is what you will be doing when you graft. As you can see there is a high degree of skill and patience required to do this. It will take time and practice to develop the skill needed to hit that 50% mark of acceptance.
As you can see so far we have just begun to scratch the surface of queen rearing. There is more to come and more videos of other beekeepers and their methods which many are similar but with their own little twist.
Have a great week and stay warm. Merry Christmas to all
Bill the beekeeper.