I've been jealously reading for months, those in warmer climates working their bees and collection swarms, etc.
All the while my over wintered bees are still huddled in the hives, with only an occasional cleansing flight.
I wish I could be as patient as some of you who can be OK with accepting your queens anytime they should show.
If they 'show' here too late in the fall, They will just go right into a hive preparing to over winter, and you know how that goes.
The inactive period my bees have to endure is a little scary already. I have heard the Sunkist queens may not do well here in the North. My plan was to split my hives early, get a few of the strongest queens grafted and mated with local drones for a hardier bee that would stand a better chance for survival.
From the post above,
BeeHughshoney had a great idea I could just get virgin queens since I wanted to get their daughter queens mated with my local drones anyway. He contected Russell and they sent them out the same day. I'll give it a shot, sounds like another challenge to master
Last edited by Lauri; 05-23-2012 at 03:12 PM.
I hope when/if tragedy befalls you, no one cuts you any slack either.
What I do is treat virgins exactly the same as mated queens (slow candy release or push in cage).The smaller the colony the better, the more nurse bees the better. You can use a spray bottle with HBH to lightly mist the bees prior to installing the queen. Do not spray the queen. This is a very mild solution of HBH (either in plan water or with sugar water), don't make it too strong and don't use a lot. One pump per 5 frame nuc is plenty. It's not toxic to either bees or keeper and a little goes a long way.
If the weather is warm (days & nites) I've introduced virgin queens on just emerging brood (no bees at all) and have a great success rate..........Actually I've used it with 100% success using mated queens also (again, warm days & nites)..........
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"There are so many grafts emerging every day that they don't have places for them because they over graft to be safe. They just throw them away."
That's what I was missing, the extra over grafts etc........
I was thinking something was wrong with this picture!!
Maybe before you voice your opinion you should read this thread.
Queens arrived, the weather broke just long enough to install them. All went well except one flew away.
The buckfast were all acepted direct release. The sunkist were not accepted well and were installled in the shipping cage.
Remember in the post above I shook and brushed bees in to a deep box with 20 mini frames with a good sized starter strip. It worked well, here you can see I just took out each frame and placed it in the nuc between the two empty frames. Towards the end I used the frame and strip of foundation to scoop the bees up off the side and bottom of the box.
Baby nuc holds three half sized frame top bars, screened bottom with insert, Below you can see I put a quart heavy ziploc baggie with syrup for feeding. One very tiny poke in the top to let them feed
Here you see the baby nucs, a cardboard nuc divided in half to make two mating nucs and (I am ashamed to say it) top right you see 6 styrofoam coolers from the dollar store in case I get in a pinch for mating nucs.
Below you see the $1.00 cooler with glued on strip to hold frames. Hardware cloth will hold in a pollen patty in the excess room in the lid. Baggie feeder will go in the bottom. I poked a lot of additional holes for ventilation. These are very light weight and would crush easily. Not good for someone like me with a lab puppy! But if I use them they will be wedged in between potted plants for protection.
Last edited by Lauri; 05-23-2012 at 08:27 PM.
It is interesting that the one variety were easily accepted while the other not. I hope you will update the thread once the final results are in.
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards
I was thinking perhaps the Buckfast's were a bit younger than the Sunkists? I have read newly hatched virgins are accepted better than older ones.
Yes, I took the half frame with about 3" of foundation filled with bees and turned it on it's side on top the mating box. Letting the Buckfast queen go in the center of the foundation, I watched for a minute or so and they just totally ignored the buckfast queens like they were just any other bee. The queens walked around in a relaxed mannor. The bees did not even give her a second look.
The Sunkist however attracted attention immediately. The queens acted intimidated by the bees and were very still while they surrounded her. Then a few started acting aggressive and trying to sting and ball her. I tried only two times and it was the same both times-so I just went to the shipping cage release method-poking a toothpick sized hole in the candy.
One note, the shook swarm was from two different hives and was only queenless for about 5 hours before the introduction. Russell's sent the virgins out overnight and I was not prepared for their quick response.
I had 8 Buckfasts and 12 Sunkist Northern Select
I wish I knew exactly what day these queens were hatched so I could confine them for the longest time. Not knowing, one day is probably max.
Yes, I will update with info and photos when I have something to share
Here is the method I used (Somewhat)
These are in a series and are amazingly informitive:
Below is the video showing filling the mating nucs with bees and a virgin. I did not just shake her into the nuc as they do..theirs are probably newly hatched. I observed mine carefully with each introduction.
...but have you had poor results introducing virgins without such measures? In your part of the state there must be a hippy kid nearby with a nitrous tank
Regarding poking a hole in the candy, I've stopped doing that a long ago (even for virgins) - particularly if the bees are showing signs of aggression. When aggression is shown, then slower is better. The difference is about 1 or 2 days, which can really make a difference in acceptance, and has little or no effect on mating.
I've been looking for that kid for years
Just checked my nucs in my nuc yard. Out of 13 virgins from Johnny I have 8 which took, 2 are queenless without cells, one may have a queen but didn't see her but there were several queen cells all torn down in the hive. And 2 others have queen cells and no queen. The math works for the queen cells. I think the AN is worth the effort. Several advantages that I see. No dead queens in the cages. Immediate release so you gain a few days in the breeding/laying cycle. No time for bees to start cells before the queen is in the hive. In 2 hives I used AN and put the virgin in with the other queens still present, one worked [two queens present] and one didn't. The queenless hive that I tried with AN was not successful. All-in-all I like the AN and I'm satisfied with the take in my nuc yard. I was a little nervous because the owner of the property has lots of bluebird and swallow bird houses and I was afraid many would get gobbled up. I think I'll stay with the virgins and AN. I have 4 mated queens coming next week. I'll use the AN to introduce them and see how that works. No blaming birds or dragon flies for them.
lack of space.
Checked my other nucs yesterday afternoon. Final results, out of 22 virgins, 12 have laying marked queens, which gives about a 55% success rate. If I had purchased 22 mated queens from the same supplier I would have spent $440.00 [$20 X 22] the virgins cost $110. Shipping is probably a wash. So if I got 100% success rate on the mated queens [hard to do] and my 55% in the virgins, I save good $. I wanted VSH queens so raising my own from splits was not an option for me.I also had to bank the virgins for about 4 - 6 days due to bad weather. I wonder if faster hiving would have helped a little?
Trying to think inside the box...
Adam is extremely knowledgeable so if he said that then my success rate is very good with AN. I'm getting 10 more this week and will put them in right away weather permitting. I do know that my results are similar to another very large beekeeper who uses AN exclusively to introduce virgins.