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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    Tucson, Arizona, United States
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    397

    Post

    There are various methods of introducing queens into a colony that is either queen right or void of a queen.

    1. Virign queen introduction

    2. Queen cells

    3. Mated queens

    Let's get a discussion going on these various methods to introduce queens into colonies.

    Comments?

    Dee A. Lusby

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    Tucson, Arizona, United States
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    Post

    There are many ways of introducing new queens into a colony of honeybees.

    Let's start by discussing introduction of unmated queens, whether as queen cells or virgin queens.

    We raise queen cells from colonies selected on a 'wholebee concept' rational, in an incubator, from which we then sort the subcastes, to select out the virgin queens we take to the field. The selection in the field of the colonies, and subcaste sorting in an incubator, are unique in themselves, but, when taking the virgins to the field:

    I then in the field, open the bottles and release the virgins right into the colony and watch her walk down. This is done after smoking the colony in which she is to be released real well.

    By introducing virgins, straight from the bottle, in which she is fed, with no attendents ever toughing her, to scent her body differently, you will find she will act like a supercedure queen.

    The virgin queen released will then go down and kill the old queen, and yet many times in early spring and late fall/winter (especially with black queens), you will find both her and the old queen laying side by side, till the old queen dies off, like a normal mother/daughter situation.(If the queen already in the colony when the virgin is put in is still a robust good queen, please note, the colony normally will keep the old queen and not allow her to be replaced.)

    When putting in virgins you will find, there is no need to look up, nor care, the old queen prior to virgin queen introduction, no cages to go back for, and you will find the acceptance amazingly high, often above 90%.

    While we work and prefer virgins, to see an actual moving target go into a colony, many beekeepers still introduce queen cells.

    Before I go into how we introduce and take queen cells to the field, how do some of you out there introduce queen cells?

    I am sure there are different methods and placement strategies into a colony of bees!

    Sincerely,

    Dee A. Lusby

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    Hello everyone,

    I found this old thread and must admit I had not heard or read about introducing virgins in this manner - does anyone have any experience with this technique?

    ------------------
    Rob Koss

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    As I am planning to make some splits if my surviving hives this spring and would like to introduce purchased mated queens, I would also love to "rethread" this thread.
    I plan to use 4 or 5 frame nucs to do this. Would one introduce the queen in her cage in place of one of the frames (like one does with a package) and then replace the cage with a frame after a few days?

    Jorge

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Cool

    I just wedge the queen cage near the top between two of the middle frames. This require crushing a few comb cells in each frame. Make sure the candy opening is pointed upwards. Before installing the queen cage I remove all of the attendant bees - a non-scientific study done by one the the NC beekeepers showed a much higher and quicker (< 2 days) acceptance when all attendants are removed.

    The problem is getting the attendants out of the cage without losing the queen, which happened to me :^( once. To be safe most do this in an enclosed area. Does anyone know a better way to remove the attendants?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,320

    Post

    >I just wedge the queen cage near the top between two of the middle frames. This require crushing a few comb cells in each frame.

    I make a shim the size of a box (16 1/4" x 19 7/8") from 3/4" x 3/4" wood to make room for the queen cage. I lay it flat facing with the screen down and the candy on the end.

    >Make sure the candy opening is pointed upwards. Before installing the queen cage I remove all of the attendant bees - a non-scientific study done by one the the NC beekeepers showed a much higher and quicker (< 2 days) acceptance when all attendants are removed.
    >The problem is getting the attendants out of the cage without losing the queen, which happened to me :^( once. To be safe most do this in an enclosed area. Does anyone know a better way to remove the attendants?

    I've done it and not done it. I made a box with #8 hardware cloth on top (really just a shaken swarm box for me) and open the cage with my hands under it. The bees always fly up to the screen. I also do it in the bathroom in case they do get out they fly to the window and easy to catch there. The problem is getting the queen back in if she gets out. I have a glass queen catcher from http://www.beeworks.com/uspage3.asp that lets you gently blow her into the cage.

    The orginal issue here, though, is requeening by introducing VIRGIN queens to a hive with a queen already there without finding and killing the old queen.

    A very different process.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    >I plan to use 4 or 5 frame nucs to do this. Would one introduce the queen in her cage in place of one of the frames (like one does with a package) and then replace the cage with a frame after a few days?

    That could work, but if you want to keep all five in then I would cut a 1 by to fit flush around the top and cut a hole in it for the queen cage and room on the end for the bees to work the candy. Put the queen cage in this "shim" with the wire down and the candy exposed. Put the cover over that. If you had an inner cover, skip it for the shim instead.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Ok. Thanks for the pointers on how to get a new queen in there.

    Back to the original issue of introducing virgin queens: I love the idea of not having to look for the old queen. I guess this is THE WAY to requeen hives. However, it seems that the method REQUIRES you to develop an incubator if virgin queens are to be caught before mating and before contacting any other attendant bees. Alternatively, they could be caught right when they emerge and quarantine them for a couple of days for the odors from the other bees to fade?Is there any satisfactory way to make this method work for an amateur (few hives) beekeeper?

    Jorge

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    Several people on here have made their own incubators. They are expensive to buy. Perhaps someone could make a plan and send it to Barry? Maybe he could post it for all of us. I, for one, would like to build one.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    I would imagine that a thermostatically controlled light bulb box would work fine. Just shield the interior of the box from the "light" of hte light bulb and let the heat convey through the box.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    Has anyone tried putting in a ripe queen cell? If you use a protector its supposed to be quite effective, but I haven't tried it yet.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
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    2,304

    Post

    Robert,this has never worked for me.I have tried this on several different occasions ,Spring ,Summer and Fall,with poor results.A couple times I did this with around a hundred cells,putting them in various places in the hives.I never got more than 5 % new queens.I could see that the virgins emerged from the protected cells.And cells from the same batch gave good queens where the old queen was removed a couple days earlier.I have read everything I can find on this method as it would be a trmendous labor saver,but so far I havent been able to make it work.Havent tried dropping in virgins,but if they wont accept a virgin coming from a cell,I am sure dropping in a virgin would be a waste of time.(I suspect the bees are content with their old queens, these are queens in their second season)
    ---Mike

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    I have not tried it, but Dee's method for virgin queens to queenright hives is to hatch the queens in the incubator because the scent of other bees will "taint" them. Also never to touch the queen because your human scent will "taint" them. They smoke the hive until there is smoke coming out the inner cover and then pry the boxes losse and turn them far enough to put the queen on the top bars of the corner of the brood nest. Again without touching them. Then close it up by rotating back to normal position. She claims an 80% acceptance rate.

    I am considering making or buying an incubator. This could be a big labor saver when requeening.

  14. #14

    Post

    Perhaps Dee Lusby's genetically different bees allow virgin queen introduction, while other strains don't.

    Would others who've tried this virgin queen introduction method add their results?

    Brian Cady

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
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    Post

    There are other knowledgable beekeeps that have good success with re-queening w/o de-queening also.The Lusbys have an interesting twist on it since most use cells.So I believe it is possible to do,but I just havent hit on the solution yet.I understand what Dee is saying about the 'taint'of foreign bee scent,but thought that would go away or be irrelevant in using cells.Maybe not.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
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    Post

    >>Dee said If the queen already in the colony when the virgin is put in is still a robust good queen, please note, the colony normally will keep the old queen and not allow her to be replaced.)

    Went back and re-read the first post and I think this is the key.I am trying to replace queens that are still OK from the bees point of view.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Heavener OK.
    Posts
    22

    Post

    Hi loggermike

    It has been a few years ago that I requeened with q cells. That year was my best honey year.

    requeened a 100 hives real early about the 15 march most hives only had from 3 to 5 frames with brood in them.About 30 to 60% of the frame was brood Not any of them were to the point of wanting to swarm. Only 80 of them turned out. I was using wood base with wax cell cups. didn't use any cell protecters. Check each frame as I caught the old queen making sure of no q cells. pushed the wood base into the comb about 2/3 way up, on about the center frame of brood.The Queen hatched the next day.If it is 2 or 3 days before the cells hatch most times they will start queen cells. and may not except your queen out of your cell.The other 20 hives that didn't take to the q in the cell. Raised an em q cell.All of them except 3 turned out in about 30 days they had a laying queen.

    Also If you were to check the hive in about 2 or 3 days after the day you put the q cell in. I Even seeing the V queen lot of the hives had some em q Cells.You can knock these off but if you were to leave thim as I did they destroyed them on there own.

    ------------------
    Velbert

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
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    2,304

    Post

    80% is a good average.Thats pretty much the way I requeen with cells too,but usually have to start taking out the oq's a couple days before the cells are due to emerge just to get it done.I never used cell protectors doing it that way either,just when I was trying to do 'forced supersedure' re-queening w/o de-queening.
    --Mike

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    393

    Post

    Ive never much liked requeening with virgins. Maybe its a geography issue cuz I know lots of folks out west who seem to be successful with releasing virgins. I dont like it because it involves an incubator and in my mind anyway the new queens seem to do best when they emerge within the hive but thats just my observation and dont know if it really is true or not. Plus I dont like carrying queens around relative to cells. I find cells to be easier to handle but thats probably just another habit.

    As far as requeening by sticking in a ripe cell and walking away, it seems highly variable to me. Ive seen it and heard other say the same.....anywhere from 5 or 10% upto 75% effective. I imagine as was said before it depends somewhat on how much the colony thinks it needs a new queen and how receptive it is to a new one. One problem in my mind is that a colony which we might consider very poor from a production, gentleness, etc standpoint and want requeened.....well that hive might have no issue with those traits and have no desire to be forced into supercedure. On the flip side, one great big huge benefit....it is cheap to do as far as cell expense and time and labor of not dinking around looking for an old queen, making nucs, breaking into boxes and all that great fun in the eighty degree heat.

    Having said that, I typically requeen by tearing a colony down to roughly 7-10 nucs and adding cells to those nucs. Either you find the queen or you dont on the first pass......I dont waste any special time looking for her. If you dont find her on the tear down, she is with a much smaller mass of bees on fewer frames when you go back to check and then she is almost a cant miss. Kill her and give the frames to the other nucs. Another more labor intensive way is to shake all the bees down and chimmney the frames above an excluder. It has the advantage of keeping out the queen and drones so you dont look for her and you dont have any crappy drones being carried into a mating yard.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
    Posts
    399

    Post

    I imagine as was said before it depends somewhat on how much the colony thinks it needs a new queen and how receptive it is to a new one.”

    Oh so true. An example that I gave at a workshop one day was to separate two young teenagers from their mother. I asked the teens if they would miss their mom that night. Of course the answer was no. Same question at the next morning. Well who would fix us breakfast, and then the same question about the next evening. By now it was well yes we do need her. Same with a hive – Make it need a queen!! No harm in feeding them during this time as well. Min 12 hours queenless but 24-36 are better. If we could understand Bee language they would not be saying God save the Queen but please give us one. Always check for laying workers and your worst nightmare - a virgin.


    ------------------
    If a job is worth doing - Then do it well

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