Anyone interested in raising their own queens will need a grafting chart. There are many versions available, but the one below helped me the most. You can download it on the bottom of the page.
The days are clearly labelled and it tells you what do on each day. Here is a quick breakdown of the different sections:
- You need to graft newly hatched eggs less than 24 hours old. Since eggs hatch three days after being laid, the chart suggests placing a new drawn out frame into the breeder so you have a better idea of when to graft. I usually skip the step and look through the hive for suitable frame with larvae that’s of adaquet age.
- If you are using a starter-finisher method, cells are transferred to the finisher on day 4 or 5
- On day 8 your cells should be sealed. They can go into the incubator.
- The peach colour on day 10-12 are days when the cells should not be handled as they are fragile during this stage. Please note day 13 is for creating a nuc and the cell hatching day.
- Create a nuc on day 13 and place cells on day 14
- Cells hatch on day 15-16. You can remove unhatched cells a couple days later.
- The chart suggests mating flights happen within a week after hatching. This process can take up to two weeks. Do not disturb the nucs for 2 weeks after the queens hatch.
The chart is in Microsoft Excel format and is very precise. There is little room for error. Most of the cells will hatch within hours of each other.
When you graft, all you need to update is the grafting date and the chart will update with your days.