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  1. #1

    Default Direct release of queen

    Hi everyone. I will be receiving my package of buckfast bees in a day or so (they've already shipped from TX). I will be hiving them in a new top-bar hive. I've gotten tips from some beeks to use the standard process of hanging the queen cage between a couple of frames and allowing the workers to release her, and others suggesting I direct release her when I hive the package. I'm inclined to try the direct release method, but wanted to learn from the experience of those on this forum. Anyone ever had a bad experience with direct release?

    Thanks
    Kathy

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    3,604

    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    Save yourself some grief and do not directly release the queen.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Fair Grove,MO,USA
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    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    I wouldn't unless i had a good place i could buy replacement queens, and queens are hard to come by at this time of year. Jack

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,341

    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    In any foundationless situation, save yourself a lot of grief and DO direct release.

    The queen cage hanging there will get one bad comb which will lead to another. Be careful she doesn't fly. I'd pop the cork, put your finger over the hole and set it on the pile of bees you just dumped in the hive and close it up quickly...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Kingsley, MI. USA
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    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    I have been spending alot of time reading this post and the other post about direct release or not, and I guess that I am baffled that this is such a hot issue to debate. I don't get it. All this talk about dangling the cage. Why would anyone do that in a foundationless hive? There are at least two good places to put the queen cage without hanging it up. If you are using a foundationless framed hive, why not just remove a few frames from the center, place the queen cage on top of the bottom bars of a few frames to either side of the vacancy, and then pour in the bees and put all the frames back in? OR, if using a top bar hive without a screened bottom, as is the case with most Kenya hives, why not just lay the queen cage on the bottom of the hive? It will be weeks or at least several days before the queen cage will interfere with anything in the hive....if ever!

    I never direct release anymore, but I always use a small nail to carve a tunnel through the queen candy in the cage to help speed up the release. Actually, I do that just to be sure that the bees understand how to get her out of there. If they can't see the queen through the candy, they might spend all their time trying to figure out how to get to her through the metal screen.

    I see absolutely no benefit to direct releasing a queen. If you're working with a new hive and package, there isn't anywhere for her to lay anyway, so what good does it do to let her out? As I see it, direct releasing a queen into a new hive with a package does nothing more than greatly increase the chances that the whole bunch of them will abscond. The bees need a reason to stay in their new home until they realize that it's an OK place to live, and a caged queen is a darn good reason to stay.

    While a few hundred bees worry about releasing the queen, the rest of the thousands are foraging, feeding, building comb and settling in because they know that their queen is there. The fact that she is in the hive is all that they care about. By the time the queen gets released, the vast majority of the package is quite comfortable in the new hive, which most likely makes the queen feel comfortable there, too.

    I just think that putting 12 thousand confused bees into a strange new home and then making it so they should feel free to bail out is a very bad idea.

    Chris Harvey--Teakwood Organics

    www.thewarrestore.com
    Last edited by beez2010; 04-28-2010 at 06:29 PM. Reason: sp

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    The queen cage on the bottom and a turn of the weather and you have a queen who died from cold. Very bad plan in my part of the country at the time that packages would be arriving. I've have not seen a plan to hang a cage anywhere in a foundationless hive that would not result in messed up comb. Even when I was not doing foundationless, I've been direct releasing for many years. When I wasn't some of them still absconded and moved next door leaving the queen to her own devices. I see no increase in that number by direct releasing. I have had none actually leave. I've only had them move next door to a better smelling queen. And they do that even if the queen is still caged.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7

    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    The bees arrived from Texas yesterday. They spent five days in transit, and there were quite a few dead bees. Since they'd been together for 5 days, I opted to direct release the queen. I've kept my distance from the hive today, and won't do an inspection for at least 3 more days....so not much to report. Lots of bees flying in and out, orienting themselves.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    beulaville, north carolina, usa
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    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    So how did your inspection go?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    Quote Originally Posted by stump56 View Post
    So how did your inspection go?
    They killed the original queen. I put a new queen in a week ago (which they never released so I did after 4 days), did an inspection today...also gone...no eggs or larvae. At this point the population of that hive is starting to fall off. I'm trying to decide if I should just let them dwindle or see if I can get another package of bees, put them in a nuc box on top of the hive with newspaper in between and hope for a successful combine. There is some nice comb in the hive. Any suggestions would be great..not sure what to do with a hive like this.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    Is their any brood in the combs, anywhere? It takes a lot of queenless bees to produce any good comb. If they are building good comb they usually have a queen, or at least what they believe to be a queen. If they keep eliminating queens, as you say, it is most often because they already have one, or they have laying workers. Either way they will likely have some eggs, or brood in the comb, somewhere; it can be hard to see, especially in new comb covered with bees. Shaking bees from new comb on top bars, to get a good view of the cells, is not easily done without destroying it.

    My plan, at this point, would be to give them ripe queencells, but since I began raising queens I usually have a supply of ripe queencells for various purposes, and I realize that many beekeepers would not have this option.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11

    Default Re: Direct release of queen

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Is their any brood in the combs, anywhere? It takes a lot of queenless bees to produce any good comb. If they are building good comb they usually have a queen, or at least what they believe to be a queen. If they keep eliminating queens, as you say, it is most often because they already have one, or they have laying workers. Either way they will likely have some eggs, or brood in the comb, somewhere; it can be hard to see, especially in new comb covered with bees. Shaking bees from new comb on top bars, to get a good view of the cells, is not easily done without destroying it.

    My plan, at this point, would be to give them ripe queencells, but since I began raising queens I usually have a supply of ripe queencells for various purposes, and I realize that many beekeepers would not have this option.
    thanks for the suggestion...I do not have any queen cells...so can't do that. I have checked the comb...admittedly, not easy to see it, covered with bees, and I did shake the bees off one bar...won't do that again...comb on the bottom of the hive! I would think I would at least be able to see larvae at this point...I'll give it a few more days and check again. Thx.

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