Friday, May 1, 2009

Raising Queens Part III

Should have known better than to try dry grafting. The success rate on the initial graft was 0%. Dry grafting means placing larva into queen cells that haven't been 'primed' with royal jelly. I think the larvae dried out and were rejected by the bees.

I tried again tonight. I harvested some royal jelly from damaged queen cells and primed each cup with a small dab. Priming serves several purposes. First and foremost it makes it infinitely easier to float the larva you are grafting off of the grafting tool into the wax cup. It also serves to keep the larva from drying out. Some say it serves as a food source but I've also read that the bees clean out the royal jelly under the larva and replace it with fresh stock. The stuff I used tonight was as fresh as it gets so we'll see.

Grafting is difficult only because it requires a steady hand and keen eyesight. I'm lucky to be able to see the day-old larva in the cells and to be able to move them. I need to invest in a magnifiying headlamp. Holding a flashlight in your mouth while you work is nonsense.

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