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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    805

    Default improving queen acceptance?

    i made 66 nucs from another beekeepers established colonies on april 18th. they left california 12 days later for montana. i placed them in a cherry orchard (pollination contract)here last week, but just got around to checking on them monday. it appears i had about 75% acceptance of queens. i saw cells ready to hatch in a couple, a virgin in one, but the others had strong bee numbers but no brood no eggs no queen. one had a laying worker.i have 14 queens coming tommorow. what are the chances of a queen bieng accepted in these colonies, after this long, etc.....and are there things you would do to increase the possibility of acceptance. smoke, tape over the sugar on the queen cages, sugar spray, add a frame of brood from a good colony?shake out the bees first? thanks, justin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,349

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    If acceptance were the most important factor, I would pull a frame of emerging brood for each queen, set up each one in a new location and in a nuc box, set each queen on emerging brood with a push-in wire cage. I would have each nuc set with just the frame of emerging brood and a second frame of honey/pollen. In two days the queen should have been accepted by the emerging brood and begun laying, once she has I would move each set of combs into their final destination but leave the queen in her wire cage for another day or two, before removing it and releasing her (sometimes the bees chew under the cage and release the queen themselves). Of course, it goes without saying that you should ensure the receiving colonies are queen-free before installing the new queens.

    When the queens are released, do it where you can watch how the bees respond to her. If they appear hostile I quickly place the queens in a cage for another day or two, before finally releasing them.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    951

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    I have a 98% acceptance rate every year, year after year. I have to give credit to Kenny Williams, former Oregon Sate Beekeepers Association President for teaching me how to have such an excellent acceptance.
    Please be VERY CAREFUL who's advice you take. In a recent thread, a beekeeper had written a check for 100 packages and asked for the "commercial" method for installation.
    Unfortunatly, the word "commercial" must have meant sloppy, goofy, or "I can always make up excuses later" methods to a few that responded.
    The advice there was to shake in the package, tear back the screen on the queen cage and pitch 'er in!
    Is this the kind of advice he was looking for after spending $10000.00 ?
    What he really wanted was for each installation to "take" and sucseed.
    When installing packages, remove the cork from the candy plug. DO NOT POKE A HOLE IN THE CANDY!!!
    Mark the hive in your perferred manner with the date of installation. DO NOT touch the hive for at least 10 days, other than to quietly fill the feeder without moving any frames.
    When ever installing a queen in a hive or nuc. Do it the same way every time.
    Always install the queen cage between frames of mixed brood with adhering nurse bees.
    Requeening a laying worker hive? Drone layer hive, Queenless hive, a new nuc, etc.... Always install the queen cage between frames of mixed brood with adhereing nurse bees. 98% annual acceptance.
    Push in cages? Direct release? All a bunch of unnecissary monkey motion!
    What we want is for the queen to be released in the sill, quiet darkness of the hive, to begin egg laying and for all forms of brood to be present prior to disruption that can and often does result in balling.
    And with that said, I take credit for the loss of 2% where I missed the virgin or the old sputtering queen etc.
    I hope you will carefully consider what I have outlined and that you have the sucsess that I have enjoyed having listened to the right person over the years!
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    Good advice Harry!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    Spot on , Harrry. Also I make sure that the candy hole can not be blocked by a dead bee - the queen needs to be able to move out freely when the hive is ready.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,994

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    Quote Originally Posted by justin View Post
    what are the chances of a queen bieng accepted in these colonies, after this long, etc.....
    probably, low, if all you do is put in the queen cage.



    Quote Originally Posted by justin View Post
    are there things you would do to increase the possibility of acceptance.
    Yes. As I read it, you have 66 nucs of which 75% have successfully had a laying queen introduced, so I'm assuming the 14 queens you have ordered are for the other nucs, being 14? Your research would have been better done more than one day before your queens arrive.

    If I've assumed correctly and you have 14 queenless nucs that have been queenless for nearly a month, then the time frame involved means that most of those nucs will have raised a virgin, and she will have mated and be ready to start laying in another week or maybe two. So the problem is if you put a caged queen in the bees will kill it soon as it's released. Likewise the hive with the laying workers will kill the caged queen when it is released. the only nucs that have any show of accepting the caged queens will be ones who have lost the virgin they raised, and there may be a few of those but likely only 3 or 4.

    This may be unpalatable but the time frame you have used is all wrong. You really need to leave the nucs alone for about another 2 weeks. You will then find that a number of the "queenless" ones now have a laying queen. This will reduce the number of nucs you have to requeen but they will require a bit of skill to requeen. They will each have to be given a comb with eggs. This is to repress any laying workers that may have developed. If they build queen cells that means they are queenless and laying workerless, so you can kill the queen cells and requeen them. the ones that do not build queen cells likely have laying workers (wether there are eggs or not), so they have to be given another frame of eggs at weekly intervals. Normally by week 3 the laying workers are repressed and to prove it the bees will build queen cells. Destroy the queen cells and introduce the caged queens.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 05-16-2012 at 03:45 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,131

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    Obviously this is regional, but it has been more than a decade since I saw a package come with a queen in a cage that had any candy. They have all been either California cages or JZBZ with no candy.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    805

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    thanks everyone. micheal i was expecting jzbz's with candy. thats what the 66 others came in. as to more virgins, i'll look again, but i looked everything over well and checked for hatched cells and queens(in case of vigins or bad queens). i understand that i could miss one here or there. as to why i have 14 queens coming.... i was planning on needing a couple to requeen and using the rest to make up more nucs. i should have inspected first. thanks again. justin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    Any truth to removing attendants will help? Or isn't it necessary.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    805

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    the jzbz cages have attendants outside the queen cages. the more i think about it, i didn't really do much looking for virgins in the queenless hives. i hadn't done the math as to the timing. i was wondering about the low number of laying workers, which that would explain. again, it looks like i need to be more attentive.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    665

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    Justin

    I'd put my eggs into Oldtimers basket. Read some of the information by Doolittle and Smith who spent their entire lives with bees. They did the trial and error for you. If you choose to follow some advice you should plan on ordering in a few more queens because your going to need them. Good luck.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,575

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    +1 on Oldtimer's advice. Looks like you just got some expensive learning. You might be better off using these 14 queens to start small splits from the queenright nucs until you better understand the status of the 14.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    Justin the 14 queens will be in JZBZ cages with attendants inside and candy in the necks. The others are right about virgins. Almost every time I have an acceptance failure its because there is a virgin present I missed. Hope you have good luck.

    I would suggest puting a frame of open brood in each hive that has been queenless and waiting a day to add the queen. That may help.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    etowah,Alabama
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    How do you hang a JZBZ cage in between the frames? That is that tab on the cap for?
    BB's Honey
    www.bbshoney.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    805

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    i am taking 2 hives that i have here at home and making up 16 nuc boxes.i am adding at least 1 full frame of brood and hopefully another partial.i'll be using the 2 queens in the hives, plus the 14 new ones. if nothing else i am buying myself a week, and letting the new queens start laying again. acceptance should be good. it doesn't address my hives that may be queenless, but i jumped the gun on that anyway. thanks

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,994

    Default Re: improving queen acceptance?

    Excellent plan. You will always have the option to recombine a few of them in future if nessecary.

    Looks like this will all end happily.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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