I am in the process of learning to graft as well as the variety of associated issues with it. Very much like saying you are learning to keep bees. that includes things like taking good photos. managing honey extraction and storage. woodworking skills. and problem solving of things you never imagined would be associated with keeping a bee. We grafted our first 20 Larva on 6-6-13. Not really knowing how large a two day old larva is I had to make my best guess. I had two day old larva in mind when we grafted but have since altered this more toward one day one and a half at most. Firt we are using JZ-BZ cell cups and the matching cell frame and bars (the wood ones). I cannot find the plastic cell bars for these cups but they are what I want eventually. We boiled the cups and then dipped them in melted bees wax before placing them on the cell bar. Comments on this process are welcome. We have a 5 frame nuc that has been queenless for quite a while. I know that older bees would not work for starting cells so I added several frames of nurse bees from other hives. still the nuc did not have a "Strong" population but we moved ahead anyway. Our acceptance rate with the first 20 cells was 20% (4 of 20). Not earth shaking but I have heard of worse first attempts. I consider the three main resons for this poor showing where. 1. lack of grafting experience. I suspect we killed at least half the larva. 2. graftng larva that where at least two days old maybe some of them older. 3. a poorly set up starter nuc. To address the issues of poor results we made a trip to a local craft store and bought just about anythign and everything we thought might make a decent grafting tool. we then came home and hand made a few more. It turned out that my daughter favors a drnking straw cut to a point while I prefer one of two tiny paint brushes. We also altered out technique to include tearing out the cell wall all the way to the bottom of the cell giving better access to lift the Larva. On 6-10-13 we made our second attempt using cells that had been rejected on the 6th. this time we grafted only 10 cells. Our target is to have at least 14 queens when we are done. We made attempts to lift the larva with various items including the fancy pants stainless steel grafting tool and ended up picking the tools that suit us best. I am determined to get soe use out of that expensive tool so I use it to tear out cell walls. It sometimes works as a royal jelly spoon as well. In all it is pretty much a perfect waste of steel though. The paint brushh I can literally push the bristled below the larva and lift. the larva is hanging from the brush. I can see myself getting extremely fast with it. I use the small end of the grafting tool as a spatula to slide the larva off the brush if needed. In all the second attempt felt like it went much better and we got a 40% acceptance rate with no changed made to the starting nuc. I am pretty happy with doubling our acceptance rate just by improvig out grafting technique. I decded the next best improvment coudl be made by improving the bees end of the job. I spent a day looking into the details of setting up a proper mating nuc. One of which included adding open brood to the nuc 4 days prior to adding grafts. Crud I have to wait. So we added some more nurse bees. changed out some capped brood frames and added one frame of open brood. The uc is much stronger but could be better. I decide to leave it as is. Yesterday we grafted 20 more cells. new ones prepared as before. They where placed in the starter nuc and I have yet to inspect to see what the acceptance rate will be. I will say I was far happier with the grafting process on both my part and that of my daughter. I only mangled two attempts to lift larva out of ten. Ialso abandoned any attmept that did not go completlely smoothly. In all I had to damage only 31 cells to access 10 larva. most of those where empty combs in the way of the cell I wanted to get to. When I got to the starter hive to place the frame in it one bar of cups fell out. so that may drastically alter our acceptance rate numbers. I will know later what our acceptance rate will be on this third attempt. We will also be combining another 5 frame nuc to this hive this afternoon in order for the entire set up to serve as the finisher colony as well. This second nuc has a large number of nurse bees in it. This attempt will set my equason factors for future queen production calculations so if we stay in the 40 to 50% range I will simply plan on grafting twice the number of cells as we want queens. I laso have worked out a more complete process to set up a starter colony that will include making a full size hive queenless 24 hours before introducing cells. The whole nuc thing was due to having nucs that happened to already bee queenless. To follow up on the first grats they wher emoved to an incubator yesterday and are due to emerge at the earliest today. I am thinking tomorow. Mating nucs are made and have drawn comb All we need to do is add a frame of bees to them. In all we are on our way towad the goal of having 22 langstroth colonies getting ready for winter. One alteratio I see I need to make to my palns for growth is to be able to produce colonies for sale that iwl lallow us to order pre made equipment. the whole managing the making of equipment is geting to complicated. it always creates an out of control condition to the entire operation.