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Thread: Queen bank

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Olympia, WA
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    85

    Default Queen bank

    Our local large beekeeper has a nuc every spring that he puts a frame full of queen cages in that he buys. The workers care for all these queens until he needs them. What motivates the workers to feed and care for all these different queens? Why donít they cluster with one queen and ignore all the others? When I bought one of his queens, I got a look in the nuc and it looks like a normal hive with workers crawling around no with clustering.
    Keep on keepin' bees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
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    301

    Default Re: Queen bank

    How does he secure the queen cages so they don't chew out/in?

  3. #3
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    Jul 2009
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    Olympia, WA
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    Default Re: Queen bank

    The corks are still in, the candy hasn't been inserted yet.
    Keep on keepin' bees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Queen bank

    >Our local large beekeeper has a nuc every spring that he puts a frame full of queen cages in that he buys. The workers care for all these queens until he needs them. What motivates the workers to feed and care for all these different queens? Why don’t they cluster with one queen and ignore all the others? When I bought one of his queens, I got a look in the nuc and it looks like a normal hive with workers crawling around no with clustering.

    What matters is that they do. If you make some bees queenless and give them a bunch of stranger queens in cages that were caged near the same time they will care for most all of them. If you add more queens later that were caged later, they usually kill the older queens and care for the new queens. It seems to be driven by the pheromones given off by the queens. The new ones were laying more recently and make more pheromones.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Jul 2011
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    Hot Springs, Arkansas
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    Default Re: Queen bank

    so I've got the same plan, is 24 hours the best time to leave the nuc queenless before adding 4 queen cages?

  6. #6
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Queen bank

    >so I've got the same plan, is 24 hours the best time to leave the nuc queenless before adding 4 queen cages?

    I go for overnight, which sometimes ends up 12 hours and sometimes ends up 24 hours. There seems to be something about overnight that the bees have time to sort things out at night and are too busy to do so in the daytime. After overnight they seem to be about the maximum acceptance of a new queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Port Murray, NJ
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    60

    Default Re: Queen bank

    How long can you keep the queens in there? Can you supplement with frames of brood to keep the queen bank going? Is that the right way to keep it stable?

  8. #8
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Queen bank

    You can supplement with brood. Oddly enough, they will raise a queen usually and, contrary to my expectations, so far they have not killed my other queens when they have done that. I usually cage her or put her in another small nuc and let them raise another...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Queen bank

    I can't say it's optimum, but I have experimented partly because of my bafflement at queens that came in packages that didn't lay for two weeks and I assumed it has to do with being banked. Yet even when I banked them for four or five months they queens would start laying in a day or two when introduced to a colony and they did fine. I think the issue is how SOON you bank them, not how long. They do not do well when you bank them as soon as they have laid an egg or two. They do much better if you let them lay for two or three weeks.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
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    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    Default Re: Queen bank

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    They do much better if you let them lay for two or three weeks.
    Thank you for this nugget. Its really hard getting this kind of info.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia, MO
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    92

    Default Re: Queen bank

    I'm familiar with how to bank queens and have done so many times, usually 10-15 using a queenless 5 frame nuc. My question is this: How many queens can I bank in a 10 frame queenless hive. Of course I'll be adding frames of emerging brood every so often to replenish the nurse bees. I've got 40+ queens that I need to bank for an extended period. Please share your experience...thanks.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
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    1,575

    Default Re: Queen bank

    I made this banking frame last year..just thought I'd share the design. Holds any kind of queen cage or roller cage. Was pretty easy to put together.




    The band you see is bungee cord material..tight but stretchy.

  13. #13
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lebanon, Maine
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    103

    Default Re: Queen bank

    If making a split, can you also bank a couple of queens in the new split with new queen?
    Chip Harlow

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Queen bank

    I think it works best if all the queens are on a equal footing especially while they are accepting them. All caged works.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
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    258

    Default Re: Queen bank

    Here's a pic of Oldtimer's queen bank from his epic thread, Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting. I think it's pretty tight and the thread was worth another look.

    21bankingframe.jpg

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: Queen bank

    @Lauri

    That bank looks pretty easy to make and very functional, both great qualities.

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