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The Nicot / Jenter / Cupkit Queen Rearing System

  1. Jenter System frame consist of a box like construction with openings for 110 plastic cells, a compartment the queen is placed in and two lids (front and back). The front lid is removed to expose the queen compartment and the cells where she is expected to place her eggs. The back lid exposes the backside of the cell cups which should hold the young developing larva. In addition, one needs cup holders which are fastened to frame bars, cell protectors, and of course the plastic cells to fit the cage for the queen to lay in. Some will say, “This system of queen raising is completely graft-less! With this kit, the queen lays her eggs in the cell cup, eliminating the painstaking step of grafting! This system allows you to raise up to 110 queens at one time. All components are reusable except brown cell cups. Reusing cell cups greatly diminishes the acceptance rate.” A few who have had experience with this system, consider it expensive and not all that reliable. However, others seem to think it is one of the best systems they have ever used. I feel an obligation to at least share the system with you.

In principal this is a good way to get queens without much labor in grafting. However, queens resist laying in the cells and the eggs laid are separated by hours between the earliest egg laid and the last egg laid. Acceptance by cell builders is good if the eggs hatch into larva before being placed in the cell builder. One raising a number of queens will find it inexpensive but for the individual who needs only a few queens, I would recommend the Miller Non-grafting method. In use the cage is placed within the hive after being mounted in a frame. You can use a frame with foundation and cut out an area for the cage to fit.

The honey bees can enter the front compartment of the cage which has openings much like a queen excluder to attend to the queen as well as fed young larva. The cell cups are removed from the back side of the cage and transferred to cell bars with the special cup holders.

The hair roller cages and candy cup and closure caps are not really necessary if the beekeeper is transferring the mature queen cells into Nuc’s before the queens emerge. However, with the wide range of difference in when eggs were laid by the queen, one might find that an emerging queen will cut down other cells before the beekeeper gets around to removing the queen cells and this could cause some disappointment when you are expecting a number of queens and end up with only one.


Step one:
The mother queen is placed in the cage where she will need to be observed for egg laying activity. Once egg laying by the queen begins, allow the eggs to hatch into young larva before transferring the cell cup to a cell bar. A cell building hive needs to be made up just like in all other methods of queen rearing one or two days before the transfer of cell cups takes place

Step two:
Cell cups are removed from the back side of the Jenter cage and fastened to a cell bar using the specially designed queen cup holder. These holders are prepared well in advance of this step. The frame holding the cell cups is then placed in the cell builder hive.

Step three:
As in the Doolittle system, which follows in chapter 4, you will need to follow the calendar for transferring the queen cells produced to the Nuc’s you have prepared. The only difference is that the queen cells produced in the cell builder will most likely vary more in age than the Doolittle grafting method and a close examination of mature cell cells is required. The Jenter system allows the use of a hair roller cage to be placed over queen cells to prevent an early emerging queen from cutting down younger cells. This is the major problem in using the Jenter System.

You may be disappointed when you first use the Jenter System. Queens are somewhat reluctant to lay in the plastic cell cups and may take several days before doing so. Nurse bees can pass thru the queen excluder front of the cage to feed and care for young larvae. This is not a system you can put the queen into the cage and four days later move cells directly into your cell building hive. You need to observe the eggs and young larva in the cells. This is often difficult because the device and cell cups are light in color making it hard to see eggs and young larva. However, it is easy to use and is graft-less. If you get 20 to 30 cells from this cage, it is worth the expense to buy. It can be reused except for the brown cell cups.


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3lb Packages
include a
Caged & Mated
Queen Bee

Tennessee's Honey Bees