Over the last couple of years I have noticed that bees seem to react differently when queens are in JZBZ cages vs the traditional 3-hole.
The queens are alone in the JZBZ which is hung by wire below an undrawn frame that has a starter strip. Hives seem to take opposite reactions which have been consistent across many introductions.
Has anybody else noticed the following behavior?
A) If the bees are accepting, they start building comb on both sides of the cage and by the time the queen is out they can have as much as half a frame built.
B) If the bees are not accepting, they surround the cage with wax as if to entomb the queen. This behavior is new to me, I never have seen the wire mesh of a 3-holer stuffed with wax.
BTW, after losing a couple of queens in case B (starvation?) I now relocate them to a Butler cage a la the Steve Taber/Albert Knight/John Dews Method described at http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cus...ueenintro.html
My circumstances have not been conducive to any observations such as you describe.
I was getting almost no acceptance when I tried to requeen using various traditional queen cages, but once I began using push-in cages of #8 wire mesh, trapping the new queens inside, on the comb surface, with emerging worker brood, I've had very nearly 100% acceptance and in record time. When I first decided to try this method, I figured that, at least I would get the new queen to lay a few eggs, in the empty cells she had access to, and I could coax a few queens to be raised from those eggs. But, though there always seem to be eggs laid inside the cages, even before release, I haven't found it necessary to have emergency queens raised from them.
Why hang it from an undrawn frame? Why not just between frames like a 3 hole?
> Why hang it from an undrawn frame?
> Why not just between frames like a 3 hole?
To get a frame of new comb, it's a way to keep refreshing the combs in the brood nest.
Sure, but why do it at queen introduction. It's not typical for 3 hole, so why for JZBZ. Maybe that's why they entomb them.
> Sure, but why do it at queen introduction.
> It's not typical for 3 hole,
Sez who? It's been typical for me for years, and I doubt I'm alone in the world. Most colonies most of the time draw great combs on new frames when the cage is hung from the bar. Why not take advantage of their natural behavior?
> so why for JZBZ. Maybe that's why they entomb them.
Only plausible if you ignore the fact that it is the less accepting colonies which do so, therefore it is the exception when cages are entombed.
Let me restate the first post: the less accepting colonies do not draw comb on the bar and behavior differs by cage type.
- If using 3-holers they surround the cage and bite the screen
- If using JZBZs, they entomb the cage with wax
Back to my original question.
Have any others who use JZBZs encountered the cage being waxed?
might have more to do with cage material than design. I don't like the plastic cages myself but don't have acceptance problems when using them. Well fed Q banks will also try to cover over plastic with wax.
> I don't like the plastic cages myself but
> don't have acceptance problems when using them.
I like the JZBZ plastic cages, and actually prefer them to 3-holers because removing companion bees or storing a queen are way easier. Instead of guiding bees via the feeding hole, the top pops wide open.
Some colonies do not respond positively to an introduced queen, and it is apparent when they focus on the cage and do not draw comb next to the cage.
You could well be right about the material causing the different responses between 3-holers and JZBZs.
Are you referring to the old design JZsBZs cages or the newly redesigned ones?
From the article about the JZsBZs queen cages in the January 2008 issue of Bee Culture, there was mention that the new, redesigned cage had some kind of queen pheromone like scent molded into the plastic itself so as to assist in the acceptance of introduced queens. In this article they also mention how cages of the old design would sometimes get sealed up like you describe, and that the new design is supposed to nearly eliminate this problem.
Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 06-19-2008 at 09:51 AM.
That was an interesting article, especially the part about Canadians transferring into JZBZs from 3-holers. I'm not that keen, if the queens come in 3-holers I leave them there but when requeening from my own stock the JZBZs are much easier to work with.
I've only ever used the newer design, and until ABJ came out with the story I had assumed there were two vendors because of the different hole sizes.
> some kind of queen pheromone like scent
> molded into the plastic itself
They definitely don't smell like plastic, and it is not sweet-smelling. The odor is actually stronger in used JZBZs than new ones. I'd like the frame manufacturers to start infusing their plastic with the same chemical. More than once I've had to leave frames in the sun to kill the overpowering stink of plastic.
> cages of the old design would sometimes
> get sealed up like you describe
ABJ said they were sealed by propolis, but it does suggest that bees respond to either the material or the design differently than they do to wire.
Some colonies can be hostile to a new queen (laying workers, temperament, whatever...) and if there was no comb on the bar and bees were still biting the wire after three days on 3-holers I would move the queen to a Butler cage and give the queen another week to be accepted.
Entombing the JZBZ in wax has only happened three times in the last three years, and the first two times I let it go thinking the bees needed a little longer to accept the queen. In both cases she died which is why when I saw wax on the JZBZ last month I moved the queen to a Butler cage.
Three cases is way too few to draw any conclusions, so was hoping to find out if any others had a similar experience. Either there aren't too many members reading this thread or there aren't too many using JZBZs....
I guess Im old school I dont like plastic of any kind in my hives