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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    American Fork, Utah
    Posts
    8

    Default Candy plugs-Help

    I have been rearing a few queens this year and have bad some success. I have been grafting about 40 jzbz cups each week. I place the capped cells in an incubator and let the new queens emerge into hair roller cage. I then move the virgin queen into a plastic queen cage and install it in a mini mating nuc. I usually get 30 of the original grafts to this point. But then the difficulty begins with the candy plug. I made plugs made of powdered sugar and honey mixed to a stiff paste and had several virgin queens get stuck in it and die. So I made some plugs with corn syrup and powdered sugar. It is much harder and the queens do not get stuck in it but the bees do not eat it very well and I have had to release her myself after a few days. It is not difficult to release the queens manually but while doing this I have had several virgins fly away when I am opening the mating nuc. Usually 10 out of the 30 virgins get released and are mated but I have the same challenge with the candy plug after I place the mated queen in a 5 frame nuc. So the final success rate is overall pretty poor and most of the failures are because of the candy plug. It seems like simple problem with a simple solution but I am missing something. I would think releasing the queen would be the easy part of queen rearing. I've done it hundreds of times with packages and purchased queens. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Candy plugs-Help

    Try a mini marshmallow.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    920

    Default Re: Candy plugs-Help

    Here is a queen candy recipe that I saved from a post here:

    Queen Candy
    (for queen cages)


    1 - 2 lb bag of powdered sugar
    1 cup approx. invert syrup start with a bit less syrup to test thickness

    Pour bag of sugar into mixer
    Heat syrup in microwave until hot...1 min on high
    Pour hot syrup into sugar
    Mix until a loaf
    Knead remaining sugar into loaf

    Makes enough for about 130 3-hole cages
    Invert syrup available at Kelley

    Adjust candy in hot weather by kneading a bit more sugar or using a bit less syrup
    The key to success is the invert syrup.


    HTH

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Caledonia, Ontario, CA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Candy plugs-Help

    I have had good results with marshmallows. I use large marshmallows and just punch a plug out of it with the jzbz cage, but that is for mated queens. I generally just direct release virgins into the mini mating nucs. If it is one of my bigger mating nucs (3 deep frames) i will sometimes mist the bees with a really light sugar syrup and a few drops of vanilla. Let her run onto a frame and check a few days latter. The few times I tried to let them release a virgin, they would be dead in the cage when I checked a couple days latter. I have never had a virgin take flight yet but I have had a couple of mated queens take flight when opening the nuc to check on them. They must of just been released and were being chased(not excepted) when I happened to open the nuc. At least that's what I figured. It sure does suck though!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,072

    Default Re: Candy plugs-Help

    We use marshmallow. ready made, cheap and effective.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Caledonia, Ontario, CA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Candy plugs-Help

    I buy the pre made tubes for the California mini cages. Which I am starting to really like, more so then jzbz cage. I then reuse them with a plug of marshmallow too.

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