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  1. #1
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    Default What is being fed to new virgins?

    I hatch many queen cells out in the incubator and direct release them within a few hours. Immediately there will be a worker feeding her. Anyone know what is being fed? Royal jelly? Just nectar?

    Upon observation of a cell hatching naturally on a frame, the virgin will almost immediately go to a cell and feed herself.

    I wondered if this first meals content is vitally important to the virgins continued development. I see the incubator hatched virgin go back into the cell for any scraps of royal jelly to eat after hatching. I remove the cell as soon as possible so she won't get trapped, but it is obvious she is after a meal.

    My thoughts are, as with mammals, they need their colostrum soon after birth. Could royal jelly as a first meal be similar in nutrition and immunity?

    There are times when a cell will hatch late at night or over night and it may be 12 hours before they are released. If I see them hatch and can't place them, I give them a tiny chunk of comb with open nectar. Small enough she won't get it all over her and get sticky or damage her wings. I just wonder if that is good enough.
    I will have to keep track of those virgins that were not fed naturally soon after hatching and see if they are not as good as those that were.

    There is a lot of info about the importance of royal jelly during larval stage. I've not seen anything that mentions recently hatched queens nutritional needs

    Thanks for your input if you know anything about this.
    Lauri
    Last edited by Lauri; 07-19-2012 at 04:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    Royal jelly, the queen only gets feed royal jelly for her whole life. As I understand it, workers deposit royal jelly in every cell for two days and then after only the queen cells. You can run a search and find articles with more info.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    I too have wondered if a virgin queen's first meal has any long-term significance. I've seen that newly emerged queens, that have no immediate access to nurse bees, almost always quickly search out and feed from open cells of nectar. And when nurse bees are there, those newly emerged virgin queens, are usually fed, by the nurse bees, frequently - in those cases they usually don't feed from cells of nectar.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    Thanks guys, a good reason to find just the right frame to turn her loose on, not just let her go on the top of any old frame.

    Also if the cell hatches out in a mating nuc that has been queeenless for a while and just contains older bees, perhaps the quality of the hatched queen will not be as good as those in nucs filled with younger bees. (A situation that occurs when the last queen failed to hatch or return to the nuc from mating flights and the nuc has not been 'freshened' in a while )

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    Royal jelly? Hmmm, I don't think so. Can anyone sight an authority on this? I would expect that virgin queens get fed the same thing other newly hatched bees get fed, which I assumed (meaning it coulkd be wrong) woulkd be honey or nectar, the energy food, the carbohydrate equivalent.

    I wonder where I woukld look that up?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    It's probably water... after pupating most insects are typically in need of hydration and usually need to evacuate waste that was built up.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    Now that makes sense to me. Maybe I will ask Larry Conner.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    Here is one article which comes from the government of Rome which is talking about royal jelly being fed to the queen bee. http://www.fao.org/docrep/w0076e/w0076e16.htm

    One more I found, now I do not claim whether they are accurate or not, but something must be different in order for the Queen to produce and live as long as she does/can. Like most things like this, I just read it and consider it to be true until it is proven wrong to my understanding. http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=5312

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    I just released another newly hatched virgin on the top of a frame and wish I had a video camera. She was almost chasing down nurse bees with her little tongue going in and out, begging to be fed (Or watered) it was comical, but significant enough I want to know the details of what she needs.
    Thanks for the links and input. If I find out anything I will post.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nantom670 View Post
    Here is one article which comes from the government of Rome which is talking about royal jelly being fed to the queen bee. http://www.fao.org/docrep/w0076e/w0076e16.htm

    One more I found, now I do not claim whether they are accurate or not, but something must be different in order for the Queen to produce and live as long as she does/can. Like most things like this, I just read it and consider it to be true until it is proven wrong to my understanding. http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=5312
    I have probably been working under false assumptions, but I have always thought that what a queen needed to produce what she needs to produce was fed to her in her cell so she coulkd consume it during the larval stage. My education is incomplete.

    Nantom, thanks that was interesting. I don't think the second link adds anything to what is fed an adult virgin queen. Having read it, brood food from the hypopherangeal glands makes sense now.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    Lauri,

    I've watched young virgins eat, and mine dive into open honey/nectar cells. I think it will be fairly easy to check what thye want. Queens are more than capable of eating themselves and not necessarily in the honey comb. SHe can probably be given a choice of two different meals and all you need to do is check which one she chooses. A drop of honey to the left, a drop of royal jelly to the right.

    I overheld a laying queen in a cage one time and could have sworn she was 5 seconds from dying due to no food being available. I gave her water, no reaction. I placed her next to a drop of honey, she sucked insesantly for 30-50 seconds and when she was done you could not even tell that she was that close to dying. She was active and very healthy looking, running around looking for a place to hide.

    My opinion is that initially she is looking for an energy drink because hatching take some energy away from a virgin. Then she starts looking for RJ to plump up and get her ovary development going. She is really no different than a worker when she hatches (smell wise), so why would a nurse bee feed her anything other than what another worker gets I don't know. Just an educated guess, no more than that.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: What is being fed to new virgins?

    I have seen the workers open a recently capped drone cell for the new virgin queen and she ate the food out of that like she was starving... I would suspect it is royal jelly, but if you have a little bit of crystallized honey in the hair curler cage it will keep her from starving for a little while.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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