English for beekeepers queen rearing

Wednesday wordphile: grafting

Grafting is the process of transferring young larvae from worker cells into special cups used for raising queens. Larvae used for grafting are selected from the offspring of a “breeder” queen, that is, a queen whose genetics appeal to the beekeeper.

Larvae used for grafting must be between 12 and 24 hours old. These larvae are about the size of the egg they hatched from and are extremely delicate. They must be transferred using a special tool aptly called a “grafting tool.” Grafting tools range from simple implements, such as modified toothpicks or artist paint brushes, to specially manufactured tools with retractable springs and mini-scoops.

Grafting requires a lot of practice and a steady hand. Beekeepers often hone their skills on random larvae before their first attempts at queen rearing.


    • Phillip,

      I usually need only a queen or two, so I cut cells–easy and quick. If I need more queens, or I want the queen cells to come from a particular queen, I use a Jenter kit. Grafting is good if you want large quantities of queens, but it is frustrating and difficult –at least for me.

      That video is fun to watch. Just slice and dice. I tend to be much more–how do I say it–delicate? He can probably cut 25 while I cut one!

  • …”a grafting tool”…. hmmm in the States that is perhaps what you call them but here we call them a ‘feather’.

    we also graft with 3 day old eggs … If the bees are to be left to make their own queen cells then we try to give them a frame with fresh eggs.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.