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Author Topic: Nicot Queen Rearing  (Read 1935 times)

Offline Ben Framed

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Nicot Queen Rearing
« on: April 06, 2019, 09:50:03 am »
Anyone here use the Nicot Queen Sysyem?  Advantages and disadvantages?

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2019, 10:04:43 am »
it`s good.

Offline ed/La.

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2019, 10:06:54 am »
I have one and it does work but is a pain to use. You have to put queen in contraption. A pain but not that bad. The cups fit loosely. So when opening to retrieve cups you must be careful or the will all fall off. Work over table or towel or they will be scattered around. Hard to find. The queen is locked up in contraption for 3 days so you loose 3 days of her filling frames. Thousands of eggs.  If you have decent eye sight I would learn to graft. Fast easier, not messing with the queen. I used mine once or twice and never again. Easier ways to make queens.

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2019, 01:00:38 pm »
I have one and it does work but is a pain to use. You have to put queen in contraption. A pain but not that bad. The cups fit loosely. So when opening to retrieve cups you must be careful or the will all fall off. Work over table or towel or they will be scattered around. Hard to find. The queen is locked up in contraption for 3 days so you loose 3 days of her filling frames. Thousands of eggs.  If you have decent eye sight I would learn to graft. Fast easier, not messing with the queen. I used mine once or twice and never again. Easier ways to make queens.

I misunderstood. THIS "system" with that little cage is c...
Grafting in the Nicot system is fine. Everything fits. perfect for deep frames. i use nothing else, wouldn`t know why.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2019, 01:31:45 pm »
Apologies up front for being long winded here.  Plenty of honey spiked coffee this morning and zooming along :)

I use the knock-off system from Amazon.  Price is reasonable there and replacement parts are easy to get in 2 days with Prime.  You can go here to some pictures I just punched up onto my google drive.  To have a look at example of how well it works for me just click here.   
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1BrBcNd-IeteAzmhsqr2LIgab0HvNq77C

As with any queen rearing program and methods. Have an objective (why are you raising queens?) and a program of clear procedure steps, a fixed schedule for each step, and discipline/punctuality. The queen and her bees wait for neither man nor woman.  If you are not clear or not fully committed then do not start. No tool or system is going to rear queens for you. You need to study and understand the bees and queens first. Then pick a system and tools that fit your needs. Raising queens is not hard and it is tons of fun. However there are a lot of variables so study up on it first so when there are failures it will be pretty clear to you what you did wrong.  The bees do not get queens wrong. When something goes wrong, it is you. Queen rearing success is also by the numbers. You will lose some at each stage. Play the odds. Start at least 50% more than you need. On a good batch, help your neighbours by giving or selling them your extras. Their hives and the whole area will benefit from your queens which are clearly far superior to everyone elses.

For the Nicot System. I like it. It serves the purpose very well. I also hand graft. Which method I use depends on why I am queen rearing at the time and how many.

When to use it:
* making 30 - 80 queens in one go.  The box holds 110 cups. The queen will fill most of them. Harvest only number that you need for the cycle.  Release the queen and leave the box out to chill the eggs in the cups not used.  Put the box back into the hive (no queen in it) for the bees to clean out and re-polish the cups.
* re-queening the whole apiary that season.
* you could certainly use the Nicot system for higher numbers. It yields 60 to 100 eggs/larvae overnight. For higher numbers just run multiple breeder queens each in her own box.  For an ongoing constant output, leave the queen(s) in the box full time and harvest the egged cups each day. Be organized, follow your program diligently.

When not to use it:
* making less than 30 queens. For few queens, keep it simple. Graft on the fly, move swarm cell frames, or do any of the back yard hack job methods that are all over youtube.
* making more than 200 queens. If you are making lots of queens then you are into -commercial- level queen rearing. Your program is going to be rather sophisticated and will include a master grafter and a crew of 2 or 3 other people doing certain things every day. The extra steps and piece count of the Nicot system likely will not fit your program. You will be more efficient with the JZBZ system and a graft-master for mass queen rearing.


What I like:  Pros.
* No man or woman or tool physically touches the larvae.  Absolutely no disturbance to the fragile larvae or her pool of jelly.
* You do not need laser sharp microscopic vision nor surgical precision eye-hand coordination.
* Really really REALLY simple to use.

What I do not like: Cons.
Only issues I have had relate to fitment of parts together. Probably because I am using the jobber and not the original genuine which may be more precise in the dimensions and the type of plastic. The issues are minor and easily overcome with a small mash of bees wax as bee-tape.
* the bases for the cup holders on frame bar. It is a press fit and slippery stretchy plastic. The yellow pieces can slowly creep and slip off at changes in temperature between out of hive and inside the hive. Sometimes they fall off the  bar inside the hive and a perfectly good cup and larvae is lost.  Not always lost, many times just put it back on the bar and the cell building continues to yield a beautiful queen.
* same for the fit of the brown cup into the yellow cup holder. Some are looser than I would like. Easy fix for this part is a pin-head size piece of wax pressed on them as bee-tape to hold them together until the bees get on with drawing the cells and really stick it.


Guiding notes to success with the system:
* Do not be use a queen who is heading up a full booming production hive. If you are, your approach and your queen rearing program is seriously flawed from the start. Queen rearing requires you to get to and find the queen (Nicot) or larvae (grafting). In a big hive this is very disruptive to the bees and time consuming for you. Pick your best queen and put her into a single box or a 5 to 6 frame nucleus box. You manage the population in there by pulling brood. The breeder is not to be in a hive where you are relying on her for tens and tens of thousands of eggs and bees. You have picked her to make queens, not honey. Set her up in a place that is manageable.
* Put the framed box loaded with cups into the breeder hive with the front cover off at least 3 days before you want to use it. You could spray it with sugar water or smear a bit of honey on it in the cell area. This is to get the bees to scent the frame with the smell of the hive. The bees will walk it and polish it. Really all that means is putting their scent to it, which by extension and association is their own queen scent. This is so when you do put the queen in she is comfortable with it and gets to laying almost immediately. It should be obvious but will state:  the hive polishing the frame must be the hive the breeder queen resides in. It has to smell like her or she will ignore it. She wont lay it until it smells right.
* The queen does not need to be in the box long. Overnight does it. 2 days before you want the egg cups put her into the box at the end of the day. Example 5pm Monday. Leave her in overnight. Release her anytime after noon the next day, Tuesday. She is in the box for 19 to 20 hours. The following morning Wednesday, harvest the cups with eggs in them. The bees will have removed any eggs in the cups that were non-viable, saving you from wasting time on the ones that were not going any further anyways.  Your success and take rates will go up dramatically by recognizing this step. 
* If your queen rearing is on a daily cycle, you may leave the queen in the box full time and harvest egged cups daily. Bring over a frame of emerging brood from another hive once a week to keep the breeder hive stocked with bees.

Good luck and have fun!
Hope that Helps!

THP
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 01:10:50 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2019, 02:15:22 pm »
Thanks to each of you for your response. Blackforest, ed, and Honey Pump.
Most of my black comb is eother, filled with capped brood, pollen, etc. so grafting will not work for me at the present time, as I can not see the white baby larva on the white comb. I havnt even tried. Also I was told that new combos harder to graft from because it is so tender that the grafting tool can easily puncture new white comb. many next season when I have more seasoned comb. Grafting will be looked forward too. Mr Claude, you have given the the very best information on this subject that I have been able to find. I again thank you sir for the detailed information. I am glad that you had the honey rush this morning!! Haa haa  thanks to you all once again,
Phillip Hall

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2019, 03:14:09 pm »
PS:   Revised the above a bit and adding the following

If you have multiple queens that you want to graft from for diversity. You need to have a dedicated box with her name on it for each one of them. You cannot move the box around between queens. The box will smell like one and when you put the other in she is going to be absolutely livid the entire time she is in there. You get no eggs, a missed cycle, and a really REALLY teeed off queen thoroughly piping you off the next day. LoL, guess how I know that ;). So dedicate one box per queen per season. Put her name on it and put no one else into it.

You can certainly use the box for a different queen next year. After it has aired out all winter and a sufficient scenting period in the next queens hive. You just cannot (should not) use it this year for any other queen.  Well you could, but you may not be satisfied with the results, other than the entertainment.

I suppose an option may be to put the box in the dishwasher. It is a basic plastic which could probably be washed in such a way that removes the scents. I have not tried.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 01:09:15 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2019, 03:40:06 pm »
Claude,
Great answers. This will bee a great help and I am going to make this a sticky topic.
I also moved it to queen rearing.
Jim Altmiller

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2019, 04:33:07 pm »
I personally find the idea of a queen being confined not so good. maybe the results are. but she will feel confined, are the eggs good? good enough? she doesn?t have enough space to lay. she will produce eggs anyway and the bees will eat them. this is sort of a weird situation for the bees. and...well...just my thoughts and feelings.

as for the queen not being in a production hive: I have heard that a lot of times. But on the other hand: How do you know she is still in her prime if not in a prod. hive any more? she may have gotten worse since last year. of course, you might have just taken her out of prod. a week ago.

also: queens are MADE to lay a lot of eggs and be in a big hive. so this will be quite natural.
I have managed (finally or at least temporarily) to breed myself a strain(?) suited to my location and ways of work and hive. it is a "forest and meadow cross" as we call it. The breeder queens I got from a friend didn`t do well in my location. their offspring is mediocre. anything other beeks around me importet from known breeders didn`t work out and just about every year they try something anew. most of my "blood" is regional. though my friend had some awesome hives, I have seen them. spectacular amounts of honey and bees. but the climate is different. e.g. I still got one of them. It starts too late, the rest of the hives have a large brood-nest, she doesn`t. she starts later, but then she will get into panic-mode and want to swarm. something like that shows the offspring of that lady, too. in different intensity.
the best off-spring were the queens from a mom from my own hives that just did really well. after about 3 years it seems that there is more equality among the hives on a good level. of course, one has to really use enough bees in a breeder, not just say it on youtube.
I have never put a queen out of production just to graft from her. neither has my friend.
brother Adam said that the first time, I  think.
I wonder... maybe I have an accident like coolbees, I`ll make it an experiment.
o well ... just remembered that by some stupid accident I don`t know where my breeder queens from last year ended up in. I mixed up the lids where it was written on.... :tongue:

as for the nicot system:
I cannot find pieces not fitting. but we are closer to France....  :wink:
On the contrary: sometimes I find it kind of hard to loosen the cup-holders or - even worse - to remove the cups. never has anything come loose.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2019, 09:30:31 pm »
TheHoneyPump
"need to have a dedicated box with her name on it for each one of them."


Mr Claude, I am thinking I will name her "Theresa"  :wink:

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2019, 11:42:00 pm »
LoL.
Need lots of royal offspring:  Good choices are:
Theresa or Victoria
(ref: Maria Theresa, Habsburg.  Victoria, grandmother of europe)
other notables to consider:
Charlotte, Elizabeth
NOT Anne or Ranavalona or Mary

Call her what you will. Make it fun.

Wink wink wink
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 01:28:48 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2019, 10:20:23 am »
I did the Jenter, but the concepts are the same.  I liked that it isolated the skill of grafting from the skills of running a starter or finisher.  Also you could know the age of the larvae so it helps you learn what the right age looks like.  I don't do it anymore because the Jenter means many trips to the beeyard.  I would have to find the queen, confine the queen, go back the next day and release the queen, go back in three more days and transfer larvae.  Those same tasks with grafting simply involve finding the right age larvae and grafting, which is one trip vs three trips and I don't have to find the queen at all which saves even more time.  So grafting is a lot less trips to the beeyard and simpler in many ways.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2019, 11:11:18 am »
I did the Jenter, but the concepts are the same.  I liked that it isolated the skill of grafting from the skills of running a starter or finisher.  Also you could know the age of the larvae so it helps you learn what the right age looks like.  I don't do it anymore because the Jenter means many trips to the beeyard.  I would have to find the queen, confine the queen, go back the next day and release the queen, go back in three more days and transfer larvae.  Those same tasks with grafting simply involve finding the right age larvae and grafting, which is one trip vs three trips and I don't have to find the queen at all which saves even more time.  So grafting is a lot less trips to the beeyard and simpler in many ways.

Thanks Mr Bush. Let me ask, do you have more information on this in your bushfarms.com website?
Thanks again,
Phillip

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2019, 01:38:49 pm »
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline beemantn

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2019, 07:51:15 pm »
Anyone interested in a new Nicot system, I have a new one I don't need.

PM me if interested.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2019, 10:17:33 am »
I don't think that particular info is on my website.  I talk breifly about the Jenter on my queen rearing page.  Here are some places we've talked about here on beemaster:

https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=52136.msg465505#msg465505
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=46987.msg409384#msg409384
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=37180.msg312060#msg312060
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=4024.msg22435#msg22435

There is some interesting discussion here Mr Bush as well as information. Thanks for posting
Phillip

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2019, 02:21:29 am »
I have one more follow up comment / clarification for improved successes and avoidance of possible frustrations.

It is this ... Do not wait for the eggs to hatch into larvae before harvesting the cups. Take the cups with 2+ day old eggs, before hatch.
If left in the box, when the eggs hatch and a nurse bee goes to check it, the shape of the bottom of the box cells and the way those overlap at the bottom with the cup seems to set the bee off as something is just not right. Very high probability she will remove the larvae from the boxed cup.
So, for better results take the cups as eggs, put them onto the cup holder bars, and put those into the cell starter. The egg will hatch in the starter and the bees get on with turning them into queens.

...
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2019, 08:16:30 am »
In my experience if you transfer eggs, the bees just remove the eggs.  I've tried it many times.  I've never seen it succeed.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2019, 12:59:42 am »
Mr Claude P
''I have one more follow up comment / clarification for improved successes and avoidance of possible frustrations.

It is this ... Do not wait for the eggs to hatch into larvae before harvesting the cups. Take the cups with 2+ day old eggs, before hatch.
If left in the box, when the eggs hatch and a nurse bee goes to check it, the shape of the bottom of the box cells and the way those overlap at the bottom with the cup seems to set the bee off as something is just not right. Very high probability she will remove the larvae from the boxed cup.
So, for better results take the cups as eggs, put them onto the cup holder bars, and put those into the cell starter. The egg will hatch in the starter and the bees get on with turning them into queens.''


Mr Bush
''In my experience if you transfer eggs, the bees just remove the eggs.  I've tried it many times.  I've never seen it succeed.''

Ok fellows, here is an example of one of those conflicting opinions that Bill and I were in deep  discussion about just today..  I am scratching my head! So my solution; I will try it both ways and see which works best for me.  😊😁 I wish to add, I thank you both for your responses. If there is anymore that either of you think of, please let me know. This is an exciting thing for me and an exciting time.  I am setting up my cell builder even now. Actually I started the cell builder 3 days ago.
Thank you both,
Phillip

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Nicot Queen Rearing
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2019, 12:47:56 pm »
Try both!

Early larvae, hours old, smallest are of course best. Try that first.

If you repeatedly experience finding eggs when you know there should be larvae, it is because they are removing the larvae and the queen is re-laying the cups.  As described.  When that happens, start taking eggs over 2 days old. Look for the eggs that are tilted, near lying down. It works. Although the take rate is not as good as the larvae.  Play the numbers to your favour.  ;)



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