Grafting tools

An assortment of grafting tools can be used effectively:

  • Many different versions of metal grafting needles are produced. Some have a magnifying glass fitted to the stem which can help if one’s eyesight is insufficient. Usually both ends are designed for grafting; each offers a different configuration.
  • A very small (size no. 000 or 00) artist’s paint brush is a suitable tool for grafting. The moistened bristles must stick together to easily slide under a larva.
  • A “Chinese” grafting tool is a handy and inexpensive grafting tool that looks like a ball point pen. It consists of a spring loaded bamboo plunger that slides along a thin tongue of flexible plastic. The flexible tongue slips easily under a larva and then a press on the plunger will deposit the larva and any royal jelly that was picked up in the cell to be grafted. A non-slip grip in the middle section gives excellent control. Modern versions of this tool have injection moulded plastic parts, which may help with cleanliness.

In general, grafting is easier from dark wax combs rather than from light wax combs because of the better contrast with the small white larvae. The use of a cool light or an illuminated grafting magnifier will help one see the larvae better. Grafting should be done preferably in a room or in indirect light to ensure the larvae do not dry out or become damaged by UV radiation from direct sunlight.