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  1. #1
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    Default How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    I pulled the queen and a few frames from a booming production colony a while back, as it looked to me like they were starting swarm preps. 2 weeks ago I moved a few frames of capped cells to a queen castle, and left a few frames of cells in the colony. These cells were ready to hatch, one or two had, one or two were in the process of it. Now I have 2 laying queens in the castle, and no eggs yet in the colony. I'll give the colony another week to see if a queen starts laying, but if it doesn't then I want to introduce one of my spare laying queens. The queen doesn't have a colony with her big enough to warrent a newspaper combine, as it's just a few frames in a queen castle. So should I cage her, and introduce her that way? Should I just smoke it heavy and plop in the two frames with the queen on it? Not sure which is the way to go here..
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    It all depends on how precious she is to you. If she's pretty much disposable, you could just let her run in at the entrance and take your chances. Or, if you're more patient and she is more valuable to you, then you could introduce her either with cage and candy, or even use a push-in cage over an area of emerging brood.

    I've observed some virgins and newly mated queens that are very adept at avoiding aggression by workers. I've watched them pipe and move to a new location on the comb, whenever they encountered hostility. During this avoidance behavior, they almost always came to locations where they were accepted, at least momentarily. Since many of these queens were eventually completely accepted, their avoidance behavior was obviously successful.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    The queen isn't that precious, but if I need to requeen this colony, I really want to get a laying queen in right away so there isn't wasted brood production time.

    Thanks much for your feedback Joseph, still not sure which way I want to go with this. I'm thinking about making or re-using a queen intro cage.
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  4. #4
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    I've had pretty good luck moving the queen on a frame of bees/brood from her own hive - and smoking the recipient hive real good. Your mileage may vary. Ultimately the quickest way may be the one that is most likely to succeed on the first try - a regular candy release.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    David,

    This is what I'd like to do. I try to keep it simple, and this seems easier then a cage intro. She is on 3 frames right now, so I was thinking of plopping them all in an upper top corner after smoking the established colony really well. Then maybe inspecting for eggs in 3 days or so.
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    The main thing as always is that the recipient hive has no queen or queen cells. That and a bit of luck. The best way to confirm queenlessness for most of us - other than actually removing a queen - is to insert a frame of young brood and check for cells in 3-4 days. No cells pretty much always means there is a queen lurking about somewhere. Even a weak hive will make weak cells if it is really queenless. In my experience anyway.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    Interesting follow up.. The colony I thought was queenless ended up raising a queen. She just hadn't started laying yet, but by the time I check last she had. So cool. Then on to a different colony, I had thought had gone laying worker. One of my checks on them I found a queen! So I thought maybe I caught them in the middle of superseding. Two weeks later, she hadn't laid a single thing. But she was big and fat and wondering all over the combs. I'd had enough of her, so I pulled her. Definitely interesting to see the colonies reaction to that. After 24 hours I opened the hive up, smoked it heavy, and added the 3 frames from the queen castle that had the best queen in it. Checked the hive 48+ hours later and she seems to have been accepted. She's only laid on the 3 frames that came with her, but they are full of fresh eggs and they were continuing to drawn out one of the frames.
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  8. #8
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    Jan 2011
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    Clackamas Oregon
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    Good thread, I have 4 laying queens in a Queen castle and need to go check the production colony this week (15 miles away). I just doubled the space in the queen castle and now have 2 split in the center.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    >I've had pretty good luck moving the queen on a frame of bees/brood from her own hive

    That's pretty much what I would do. The bees seem to accept a queen who already has an entourage and is not panicked and is already laying.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    I think moving the frame of bees with the queen is what I'll do in the future. I'm surprised I hadn't read more about this. All the text out there seems to be about introducing caged queens.
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    There is a lot of difference in the acceptance of a queen who was laying 10 seconds ago, and one that was laying four days ago. Also one that has an entourage and is doing her thing, and one that is in a cage and when you let her out acts panicked. A shipped queen should always be slowly introduced. A queen who is still laying is a different matter, but still some smoke is helpful at creating a bit of confusion in the hive first.

    Here is brother Adam's method:
    http://www.pedigreeapis.org/biblio/a...troBW51en.html
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    Thanks for posting the info Michael. It was actually pretty similar to what I did, except I left the colony hopelessly queenless for about 24 hours. Sounds like a solid plan for the future.
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Clackamas Oregon
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    Default Re: How to transfer a queen from a mating nuc to a queenless production colony?

    I got out to the Corbett yard and found that neither of the two hives had a successful self requeening. Odd part was one of the two hives had some QC, I opened a couple and found the queens dead and black inside.
    I took off all the supers, top deep and put down newspaper (punched some holes with my H tool). I then put the deep back on and pulled the frames and shook them all in front of the hive and put my two frames of bees and foundation from the nuc in the center.
    Only time will tell.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

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