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.