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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Delaware County, Ohio, USA
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    65

    Default Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    So, I was reading my ABCs of XYZs today, and I noticed that they said you are supposed to remove the attendants from the queen cage when installing a queen into a new package.

    This is my second year keeping bees, and last year I put the queen cage with attendants and all right into the hive. I did have a problem with a couple of packages not accepting the queen, is this the reason?

    Do you guys remove the attendants from the queen cage, before you put it in the hive, and does it really make any difference?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    For me, it's very hard to say. Something like, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?" I've almost never let the bees eat the candy to release new queens I'm introducing. I usually open the cages and directly release them into the hives. I keep my eye on them for a few minutes and if the bees seem to be treating the new queen in any way that I don't like, I promptly return them to their cages. Most are readily accepted at my first release attempt, the remainder are accepted a day or two later at my second release attempt. I ignore the attendants, but let them out when I release the queens. Once or twice now, a queen has been released when the bees ate the candy out of the cages, but I don't usually wait for that to happen.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,277

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    I really don't think it makes any difference. The bees have been together for several days, so acceptance is likely very good. However, I do remove attendants when requeening an existing colony.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Delaware County, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    OK, so probably not important for packages, but it is important for requeening?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
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    581

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Quote Originally Posted by Littlestinger View Post
    So, I was reading my ABCs of XYZs today . . .
    I wish my girls could read the ABCs and do what their told. Worse yet, they don't pay me much attention and every now and then 10,000 of them up and leave me.

    I now only do the stuff in books that agrees with me, pay closer attention to them and do what I think is best at the moment.

    I once asked an old codger for the best time to fish. He replied "When you can." And, that's the way I keep my bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Statistically it will improve the odds to remove them. In reality I have not found it to be significant. If you want to, the easiest is to go to your bathroom, stand in the window, release them all, catch the queen, put her head in the hole of the cage and wait for her to run in. But for a newbie, I think the risk of losing or harming the queen doing this is higher than the odds of the bees harming the queen...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,099

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Why would there be attendants in a queen cage that was inside a package anyways? When a queen has 10,000 attendants within feeding range the practice of jamming a couple of more bees in a small space where they can mess with the queen seems to be pointless and extra work for little or no benefit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Keno, OR
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Koehnen in CA adds the attendants outside of the cage. They do not use candy in their cages either. Just a cork on each end. They suggest to remove the cork on one end and to put a piece of marshmallow in there. It is easier to dismantle and the queen is out in less then two days. I suggest to put the cage in sideways. That way the queen can get out if one of the attendants dies. I'm not sure if a queen truly needs them. She can go without food for 5 days. Enough time to get the other bees used to her and to start feeding her through the screen. Bees get very anxious with a queen. Just one hour without a queen and they are getting ready to raise their own. I would say they pretty much accept the new queen with a day. 3 days to be on the safe side.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/kbbafb/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,035

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Quote Originally Posted by Katharina View Post
    . . . She can go without food for 5 days.
    Ooouch, I'm not gonna touch that one, with a ten foot pole. I need me some of those queens.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Keno, OR
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Well I would not let her go with out food like that either, but she can if she is confined and does not use much energy. I've read it in a German bee book and thought that was a very interesting fact.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/kbbafb/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
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    1,099

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Ooouch, I'm not gonna touch that one, with a ten foot pole. I need me some of those queens.
    I also am in need of one of the worlds biggest bee Bandaids with a statement like that. I was wondering why we went through all the effort to put feed in the boxes when shipping queens. Not going through the feed step is going to save us a bundle..... in the short run.... till the complaints about dead queens roll in.

    It is my observation that statements like that are generally produced by folks who haven't held a hive tool very long. Experience will teach them that "SORRY MAM...But it just ain't so."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,277

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Katharina,

    Not trying to pile on, but I'm afraid that simply is not good advice. Queens are robust, but I'd bet the death toll would be extremely high. I've seen them perish due to mishandling and was surprised that they didn't make it longer. I know for a fact that (in general) virgins can't survive 5 days in a cage without food or water. What's even more surprising, and you can try this at home without kicking yourself, is how quickly drones perish when confined without food or attendants. Most will be dead in 8 hours.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Keno, OR
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    As I've said the 5 day thing came from a book I've read. I have never let any of my bees go that long without food. I thought it was an interesting fact, and I don't think they would publish that if there wasn't some truth to it.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/kbbafb/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,034

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Quote Originally Posted by Katharina View Post
    I don't think they would publish that if there wasn't some truth to it.
    All I can say is... stop digging.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
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    1,779

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    Quote Originally Posted by Katharina View Post
    I don't think they would publish that if there wasn't some truth to it.
    It would be great if postings reflect experience vs "quoting books." I hate quotations, tell me what you know......
    Last edited by snl; 03-27-2012 at 10:19 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    2,312

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    I wouldn't try it on a $20.00 queen but I have emerged many virgins into cages. If not fed they'll be very sluggish in a couple hours and dead within 3-4 hours. That's why we use nursery cages for virgins, so the bees can keep them well fed. The queen producers also bank mated queens in a queenless hive so that they have constant nourishment.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Question about removing attendants when installing a package

    >Why would there be attendants in a queen cage that was inside a package anyways?

    No need, but you might have a lot of queens you put up with attendants and now you're shipping some as just queens and some in packages. Who wants to go to the trouble of releasing the attendants?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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