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  1. #1

    Default Holding queens in a bank

    Hi all,
    I have been grafting each week since late June. Last week I did not sell all my queen cells and they started to hatch in the incubator. I was committed out of town for the weekend so I put them in one of my queenless hives in JZ cages and banked them. Today they are 5 days old and the weather is all day rain and they are still all alive and well. My question is at what point do I dump them and just use this weeks cells coming off Wednesday?
    Are they still good or would I be better off not trying to get them mated?
    Danny Slabaugh
    Promoting Better Beekeepers by sharing what works for me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Troupsburg, NY


    The trick to virgins is getting them introduced into mating nucs, before the mating window closes. If your going to junk them anyway, you arn't out much by trying a few differant methoeds of introducing them into mating nucs.

    1) smoke nuc heavey and let them go in the front door.
    2) spray all the frames and bees in the nuc with sugar syrup and turn them loose on a frame.
    3) Normal mated queen type introduction via queen cage.

    You didn't say how many you had, so you could split them up into equal groups and try each metheod listed and then let us know which one works the best. I use #3 myself. At five days hatched, you have about 17 days to get it done.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Eden, NC


    When I have to use banked virgins, I reduce the mating nuc to a smaller number of bees (1-2 frames) and introduce the virgin in a JzBZ as Peggjam mentioned.
    I think the smaller number of bees are less likely to be aggressive toward the virgin. Seems to work fairly well. I average approx. 40-60% take. Not good but better than 100% loss.
    I have read that they (virgins) can be banked for two weeks and still mate, -OK.

    I personally would not use a virgin that has been banked for over 1 week. I have heard of others keeping them longer, however, I wouldn't. I can see nature keeping them confined for a week (naturally, with bad weather) but not much longer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Crown Point , (NW) Indiana



    I wouldn't be so discouraged, keep in mind that it takes 3 days for the queens wings to age/cure enough for a mating flight.

    However those are usually 3 days you're using to get her introduced.

    Hopefully this helps you feel a little less uptight about getting them mated.

    I would work dilligently to get them into nucs to begin introduction - possibly by the methods listed above for quickest results.

    The books that I have all read give a two week maximum window before the spermatheca fluids harden and mating is impossible.

    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Anderson County, South Carolina, USA


    Howdy, Howdy,
    JZBZ or Benton cages with a little candy for a delayed release as Frank and Peggy mentioned. If you can make up the nuc with a frames of emerging brood (sometimes hard to find but ideal for this application), the chances of the virgin being accepted are even greater.

    If the virgin is extremely valuable, put her into a nuc, on emerging brood, in a push-in cage.
    Release the virgin after three-five days. Go back and check in 1/2 an hout, to make sure the hive bees have accepted her--if not, and she's still alive, place he back into the push-in cage for another day or two. This might be a pain, but for valuable stock it works. Tom Glen has a nice section on his website for hard-to-introduce situations (II queens):

    Adam Finkelstein

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA


    Being banked for a week isn't going to hurt them any. Being banked for three will guarantee drone layers.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #7

    Holding queens in a bank

    Hi all,
    Thanks for all the good ideas. The queen bank had two of the seven queens that looked strong so I released one into the cell builder / bank. She walked on the frames proud and the worker bees were not showing any aggression. I will check her in two weeks. I did this since I will not need four cell builders this late in the season anymore. She will be the queen that will need to take them through this winter.
    I harvested more cells tonight and requeened nucs, they were replacements for mated queens that were sold this week. Then I grafted one more time... this could be the last round this season??

    SOME Observations: The queens that were raised and mated since mid July are bigger in size and lay a nicer pattern. Some of this could be the Purvis daughters too. MH queen daughters have the most temper and the NWC daughters are black as coal, but the workers have good bands of black...
    This is a lot of fun, yet when you think you have the formula down to a science they change the rules on you!
    Danny Slabaugh
    Promoting Better Beekeepers by sharing what works for me.


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