Things you will need:
Top shows (L-R) cell bar holder, cell cup holder, and cell cup. Bottom shows the parts assembled.*The images are not exactly as shown.
- Cell bar holder: These are the pieces that you can nail, glue or staple to your grafting frame.
- Cell cup holder: The cream colored piece where the cell cups get pushed into. The cell cup holder gets pushed on the cell bar holder. See third item.
- Cell cups: These are the cups that fit into the holder as illustrated in the picture. They are cheap enough and not worth cleaning time so we do not reuse them. (Canadian sources are much more expensive.)
- Grafting frame: You will need a grafting frame and staple your cell bar holders (the dark brown pieces) to the frame bar. You can purchase a frame, but they are expensive. They are easy to make if you have any woodworking experience. I suggest making your own. You can fit 13 – 15 cell bar holders to a grafting frame bar and they can either be stapled or hot glued. The cell cup holder slides into the cell bar holder and then cell cup slides into the cell cup holder as illustrated in the picture.
- Many beekeepers use up to 4 cell bars on a frame. For reasons discussed in number 5, we only have two rows
for grafting. Depending on your spacing, you can graft up to 30 queens per run. I feel that is enough if you want good quality queens.
- The Hair Roller Cage: This is the cage that can be used for introduction, protecting cells or simply keeping cells upright in the incubator. This cage easily slides on the cell cup holder on the frame and will protect queens inside.
- Nicot Candy Cup and Closure: This piece is not very popular and is hard to find but I wouldn’t want to be without them. It is a queen candy holder (for introduction) and an cap. I love the ingenuity of this piece because I can keep the queen candy off limits from bees outside the cage for 2 days and then open it. Sometimes queen candy is a bit soft and aggressive bees will chew through it in a day – much too quick. The cap is the perfect solution. Keep the cap on the candy cap for two days and then simply remove the cap and bees will chew through the candy releasing the queen. This gives you a little more control over the timed release. Or you can simply release her after 3 days and know the queen was well fed during this time. Either way, I don’t know why this piece isn’t available as readily as the other pieces in the Nicot system.
The Grafting Frame: The frame that your place your grafting bar on. Mine have 2 bars and they are vertically spaced so that hair roller cages can be placed on ripe queen cells. This is a great option if you do not have an incubator. Use a screw on the end so they can easily swivel so the cages can be added. In the event that a queen hatches earlier than you expect, you don’t have to worry about a her killing off all the sister queens in the other cells.
From what you can see, it’s easy to see why this system is become a quick favorite. From the grafting stages to the introduction and everything in between, all the pieces fit together into a seamless process.
Thanks for https://goldenbee.ca/nicot-queen-rearing/ for instructions.