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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    429

    Default Direct introduction

    I read either in Beekeeping at the Buckfast Abbey or one of Jay Smith's books on queen rearing that you could easily introduce a laying queen from one hive to another. The issue was not the pheromones given off by the different queens it was the pheromones given off by a queen that was laying and one that wasn't.

    I was out at one of my apiaries today combining nucs that had queens that didn't make it and redistributing resources evenly so I could get a better gauge of who was going to need feed in about a month and which of my new queens were laying and which ones didn't make it back from there mating flights. One of my nucs had been completely robbed out and had dwindled to probably 50/75 bees. I was going to shake everything out in front of one of my other nucs assuming the queen had been dead when I grabbed one of my foundationless frames that had comb started about the size and length of your thumb. Upon inspection of the comb there was one of the fattest queens I had seen all afternoon out of all of my nucs. Bummed that there weren't enough resources for the little behemoth I decided to grab a frame of brood and a frame of honey from one of my production colonies and then direct introduce her. I snatched her up with my queen catcher and kept her off to the side in some shade and set the nuc up. I brought chubs back to the hive and set her on top of the top bars inside the queen catcher to see how the bees would react to her. Well unfortunately this brought about the untimely demise of my fat little matriarch. Within seconds the bees were upon her. Before I could shake them lose she had curled up into a ball writhing in agony and went the way of old yeller. Last time I try that.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    Sorry for your loss, but I am glad that you posted this story. I started twenty nucs during the summer and supplied them with purchased queen, about half of which I directly introduced, and the other half I allowed the bees to eat the queen candy.

    I saw no problems either way. About 20% of the nucs replaced the purchased queen in the first month, but there was not a pattern to it. The rate of supercedure was about the same in the direct released as in the delayed released.

    I wonder if there was some other factor which caused your experience, or if something could be done to make it work better. I would expect that a delay of an hour or so would allow the bees to realize their queenlessness and might make them more accepting of the new queen. Possibly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,996

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    Sometimes they'll accept one, sometimes they won't. I'm not a fan of direct release, even if they accept her sometimes they'll gang up on her 1/2 hour later. But there has been the odd time I've requeened a hive and somehow things just looked right so I dropped the new queen straight onto the comb and everybody acted like she's always been there.

    Direct release can be OK if they already know each other, as for example, a caged queen that's come in the mail in a package and they've already been talking to each other through the cage wire for a couple of days.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    The nucs I combined with others I didn't do a paper combine because of time and equipment constraints I just dumped the bees out in front of the weaker nucs and let them crawl in from there. Most of the entrances were only 3/4" holes but some of them had about a 3/8" x 6" opening and the dumped bees were able to get in rather quickly. Is there much danger in the bees that were dumped running into the colony and killing the queen?

    *edit*

    Standman how did your direct introductions go on the ten that you did?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,996

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    Can happen but depends entirely on how long the nucs were queenless, did they have unmated virgins, stuff like that.

    But mostly, it will work.

    Now you've done it, nothing you can do that will improve things, leave them undisturbed for a week or longer, then you can take a look. In all likelihood it will turn out fine.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Winter Park, Florida
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    Your biggest mistake was leaving the queen in a queen catcher. I've made the same mistake in the past. The problem is that defensive bees can quickly enter the queen catcher and attack the queen. By the time you realize something is wrong it is too late.

    It is better to place the queen into a cage. Then you can test the bees to see if they are receptive before proceeding with the direct release. With the queen safely in the cage you can place the cage on top of the frames and observe the bees' response to her. If they begin biting the cage and flexing their abdomens in an attempt to sting the cage you will know that you cannot release the queen. On the other hand, if they approach the cage enthusiastically feeding the queen through the mesh and releasing nasanov you can pretty much be assured that they will accept her from the direct release.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    That's kind of what I was thinking of doing next time dansk, and I was kicking myself for not doing it this time. Mostly because I had a queen cage in my pocket at the time I just had a momentary lapse of good judgement =P

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Windham,CT USA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    How do you introduce a virgin queen? Can you directly introduce her or is it best to cage her first too?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    xx

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    That was Brother Adam who removed new queen from mating nuc, took her to hive to be re-queened, removed old queen, ran new queen into colony, took old queen to mating nuc, and ran her into that one.

    I do this in a way. When I expand my mating nucs from 4 way to two way, one queen is caught and the bees and brood are given to the other...no big deal and no queen rejection.

    Bro Adam says it's all in how the queen reacts and that she is a laying queen. He says that if the queen is one that you really care about, to take extra precautions.

    I wonder how your poor fat queen reacted after being robbed out and then forced into a situation. She certainly wouldn't be acting normally, as would a laying queen.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Campbell, Wyoming USA
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: Direct introduction

    Perhaps that is exactly what the problem was Palmer. I don't know enough yet to be an effective beekeeper and I barely know enough to be dangerous. Unfortunately with no other experienced beekeepers around I'm forced to get all of my schooling from the school of hard knocks, however, it's still an evolution in a positive direction so I won't complain. I will just need to be more mindful next time.

    *sent from my mobile*

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