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  1. #1
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    Default Introducing virgins

    Do you introduce virgin queens any different than mated queens? Do they get balled alot? What is the typical success rate?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Oregon City, Oregon
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    I would assume its the same because you can place queen cells in a hive and they are virgins, but who knows with bees.....
    Honeydew

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    Toilet paper method. Instead of candy roll up some tissue and stick in the end of the cage. They will chew it out and accept her if the old queen is done away with.
    larry

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    love it ,then you can wipe the tears from your eyes as they kill her, with the leftover T.P.
    Honeydew

  5. #5
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    Mar 2006
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    I have done it with jzsbzs Queen cages with the candy tube about 1/2 filled. Some time I would get 50-60% take down to 20-30% take and the ones that do start laying there will 10-20% of them that are injured if you look close wings will be tattered or a leg they are dragging the result from Balling.

    If you had only very young bees minus the older field bees and get the Virgin in when she is 1 or 2 days old and feed you will have better turn out

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    The reason I am asking is cause I cant get mated queens from the source I want to this next season but I guess he will send virgins. Sounds like half price cause half the success.

    I did a little reading and some dip the queens in honey. I wonder if you paint the cage with honey if that would help?

    Otherwise I will try the toilet paper method so I can wipe the tears away when queens get balled.

    Also read something about better acceptance when putting virgin in when shaking nurse bees in then let queen lose.

    I have had almost 100 percent acceptance of queens by moving brood above excluder to get young bees in nucs. I guess I will just stick with this and try putting honey on cage and see what happens.
    Last edited by WI-beek; 12-12-2010 at 11:29 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    i've had good luck direct releasing virgins...smoke up the hive first and let her go on the top bars.
    http://vimeo.com/13861928
    ...is a video of doing this. in this particular case, the virgin was several days old (i like to introduce within 48 hours of emerging). you can see they are not balling her, and they seem to accept her (they did).

    the reason virgins are much less expensive is that there are no resources (and time) required for a separate mating nuc for each queen....i charge about 1/3 the price for a virgin than for a mated queen.

    deknow

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,492

    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    I haven't had the best luck introducing virgins at all, and especially in cages. They seem to get rejected a lot more often than a mated queen. I've had about the best luck smoking heavily and then direct releasing her as deknow says.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    May 2009
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    Re: Introducing virgins

    T.P. queens will raise your chances by a good 10-15%. But I must say, if you can get virgins, why not just get the cells... if they are good breeders, their cell percentage should be very high.... and cells will get a higher acceptance rate than the hatched virgins... in either case, the more you have prepared, the more your rate will be... find momma and remove her, compile brood and nurses like you have been doing, and make sure they have not started to draw their own cells... you should be good...

    Tip: when ordering cells... order two separate sets... the first with the number of cells that you need, and the next with 1/3rd that number and for 15 days later... this will give you a chance to see what takes, and you could use any extra cells that hatch as t.p. queens for splits or nucs..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Humboldt, California,USA
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    24

    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    I've put cells in cage's and let them hatch inside then when I get back from the field I just put them on the top bars of the nucs and get 100% take,as long as there fresh, but that is with nucs, been doing it that way for years now. Mostly do cells but sometimes to busy with other bee work so the cage method works ok for me.
    I pull off the jz bz cell cup and let her climb out to her new family.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    I have never dealt with mailed queen cells before. Is temperature not a concern the last couple days before they emerge and getting tossed around? Ive always been paranoid about moving them. I made several nucs with swarm cells last summer moving them to other yards with success. But two got banged around when I hit washboard on gravel road. One supercieded the queen that hatched (must have been injured but at least could mate) and turned out ok, other one went queenless and had to combine with other one.

    Thanks for tips. Ive got some learning and experimenting to do I guess. The fun never ends.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2006
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    Winston Salem , NC
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    Smile Re: Introducing virgins

    Robert, You know where we learned the toilet paper trick. Dry eyes so far......
    larry

  13. #13
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    But I must say, if you can get virgins, why not just get the cells... if they are good breeders, their cell percentage should be very high.... and cells will get a higher acceptance rate than the hatched virgins...
    That's what I thought. Giving cells on a flow in mimicking one way that bees requeen their colony. This method has been talked about since GM Doolittle...recently while in Kim's office at the Root factory I opened the 1903 volume of Gleanings in Bee Culture to "Conversations With Doolittle". GM was talking about requeening with cells...Place ripe cell in cell protector and place above cluster in honey super.

    This is standard practice among some Florida beekeepers I know. They claim 70-80% acceptance. I've done the same and find it works best if the bees are on a flow.

    Have you ever seen a ripe queen cell up in a honey super? Look through the entire hive and often you will find no others. I believe this is the bees superceding and is why the management works as well as it does. It's one way the bees do it naturally.

  14. #14
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    Re: Introducing virgins

    Quote Originally Posted by LT View Post
    Robert, You know where we learned the toilet paper trick. Dry eyes so far......
    I do... it sounds funny to most till they have tried it... I was sceptical when he came up with it.... but 90+% take can't be disputed. Lol. He knew bees better than most people know the back of their own hands.

    Thank you.

  15. #15
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    Re: Introducing virgins

    MP,

    This has been used by pollenaters for a very long time... in operations that get understaffed, it works well to allow them to requeen without having to necessarily find the old queen due to the virgin hatching and being accepted before she gets a chance to chew the cell. It also works well for operations that are happy with their productivity, yet want to add some advantage traits, such as vsh. A virgin queen with vsh genetics can be bred by their own drones which were the product of years and years of selective breeding for high productivity... the results are productive bees with about 15-20% of the hive carrying vsh traits...

    May just be me, but I see a huge loss in productivity in my vsh colonies that have any higher percentages than that... so I recommend this practice to maintain some moderation. Too much of anything can be a bad thing...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    So this toilet paper thing really works? You remove candy and stuff with toilet paper and have a better success rate with a short introduction then a longer one?

    What the heck Ill try 50/50. 5 T.P. and 5 in cages with candy and see what happens.

    Does anyone worry about the scent on there hands when handling cages?

  17. #17
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    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    a few thoughts, some based on actual experience, and some based on advice from others:

    1. i've never done any side by side comparisons, but i've been concerned about scents...from the beekeeper, from a hive (ie. from an inhive incubator), from other virgins, from cages. this past year, we had the queens emerge in an incubator...each queen into her own 3 dram glass vial (no scent on the glass, limited scent sharing from queen to queen). asap after emerging, we flattened the empty cell, placed a small drop of honey on the flat, and layed the vial horizontal. the queen would "nurse" curled around the flattened cell. in most cases, we introduced within 24 hours...after about 2 days in the vial, the inside gets gross and sticky (read: don't leave her in a vial for more than 2 days).

    2. aside from the scent concerns, i love the in hive incubator that ross has on his site:
    http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/incubator/

    3. the jzbz cage has some scent:
    A pheromone like scent is added to the material of this cage for the purpose of masking the queen odor for improved acceptance.
    ...in the short video i posted earlier, the queen had been in a glass vial for too long, and i transferred her to a jzbz cage the night before introduction....did she pick up some scent? generally, the bees seem pretty uninterested in the virgin as she is introduced...but in this case, you can see that they are grooming and feeding her off the bat...treating her like a queen (she is also older than the virgins i usually introduce).

    4. i also have the caps for the jzbz cages...they are pink in color, and i noticed that virgins in these cages were all way up in the candy tube next to the cap. as an experiment, i replaced one cap with a wad of toilet paper (unscented cheap stuff), and placed 2 caps near the bottom of the cage. sure enough, the virgin in this cage was hanging out by the caps, not in the candy tube. i haven't used these caps with mated queens enough to observe if they act similarly.

    5. we tried direct introduction of a virgin into a queenright colony (not a nuc...2 deep boxes). the old queen was yellow, the new one was dark...a few weeks later when i checked, the dark one was present. i've been told this works quite well in general.

    the main reason we went with an incubator is that it gives a little leway in the scheduling.

    deknow

  18. #18
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Re: Introducing virgins

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-beek View Post
    So this toilet paper thing really works? You remove candy and stuff with toilet paper and have a better success rate with a short introduction then a longer one?

    What the heck Ill try 50/50. 5 T.P. and 5 in cages with candy and see what happens.

    Does anyone worry about the scent on there hands when handling cages?
    T.p. queens are simply cells that are hatched inside of the three hole cages... the t.p. is used instead of candy to allow the queen to be released more easily as well as to spread her sent more readily and because she can pull and fight with the t.p. more, it allows her to emerge from the cage with more vigor which in turn increases the level of acceptance.

    This method allows you to know that the cell has already hatched BEFORE you plant it into a hive (unlike using actual cells). In cases where the old queen has not been removed, or has not been removed for long, this method will allow the new queen to smell stronger, come out energetically, and emerge before the old queen can find her.

    The original purpose for me was to raise acceptance rates of queens after II... my father came up with the idea as a means to visually inspect the queens for color, size, and health before planting them in splits to mate.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Introducing virgins

    To be clear I will be starting new colonies with the virgins most likely. I will only replace queens if they are performing poorly or have mean offspring. I have one hot hive and one kinda hot hive but I plan on dividing those into nucs and pinching the queens if they make winter. By the time I get queens I should not need any but for increase.

    Im not getting the toilet paper thing and have never introduced cells that were not natural on comb so I guess I could use some links to what this is all about to understand what you all are talking about.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Re: Introducing virgins

    not sure you will find any links about t.p. queens. Lol. That method came from my father that just passed away. He was a very respected entomologist, and his work is very well known across the world... but that was a "trick of the trade" that he only shared with friends.

    I would suggest just trying to find some good mated queens from gentle stock to replace any drones that you may have... give it some time for the old drones to die off, then you can safely begin mating a few queens without getting the old "hot" genetics.

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