How many of you guys use direct introduction to queen you hives? I never thought to do it, but I talked to a few queen breeders and they said they all use DI. I queened two nucs yesterday, and both queens were immediately accepted and fed thru the screen, so I DI'ed as well.
There is a big difference in the temper of bees between a queeenless nuc and a queenright large hives with many faithful workers.I use division screens when requeening full size hives.
gotcha, I was thinking that...do you recommend direct introduction for things like splits/nucs?
I've only done direct release on packages where the bees have already been queenless and with that queen for several days. I have not done it when buying a new queen and introducing her to bees she's never met.
i directly released a fairly large number of virgins this year to see what would happen after hearing how many folks use this method to requeen. it was done with singles that were strong and about half were queen right and half queenless. when all was said and done roughly 15% survived....about 5% in the queen right and 10% in the queenless. most were being hunted down by workers immediately.
Time of the year, bee compatibility and queen condition are everything when direct introducing or switching queens. The same introduction/switch that could be accomplished in late spring is often fatal in late summer or early fall.
Some types of bees won't accept a 'foriegn' or unrelated queen at any time. There are easy bees and hard bees.
Queens in the same yard can usually be switched between hives in a yard without any problems as they are probably about in the same condition. But caging a queen and relocating her to another yard can change her disposition and balling is often the result.
With direct introduction, many variables are involved and there's no safety margin for the queen and the hive to get things worked out. Sometimes it works great. Other times it's a disaster. And it's hard to know before hand how it will come out. Most beekeepers have found the risk is too great and stick with the cage.
I have tracked virgin/queen cell introductions as well. And the same factors apply. Additional problems occur with the virgins as they tend to be nervous and get lost if the hives are disturbed too soon after their introduction, especially if the new queens are handled or marked.
I like introducing a queen cell in a JZ BZ cell protector into the top of a hive. Although the cells require more field care than a virgin queen, they can have a better acceptance rate than introducing mated queens. And their supercedure rates are generally lower as well.
as a side note, i normally release all queens by way of jzbz cages. so i also stuck about 20 virgins in jzbz cages with just enough candy to hold them at bay from the colony for a short period...they were out within 3-4 hours and all survived nicely.
if i was to use virgins again i would probably go with the cages.
I just wanted to post back my results with the direct introduction. The hive that I was sure would take the queen, did not in fact. I could not find a queen in the nuc. The stronger nuc that I thought would reject the queen, in fact accepted her and she was laying in a few days. So I guess I had a 50% acceptance rate. Which actually is okay for an experiment, but not in practicality. I probably should have sprayed with some essential oils or smoke a tremendous amount.