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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    1,562

    Default Successful Queen Introduction tips.

    Have you seen the movie, "Groundhog Day"?
    It is a comedy about a fellow that wakes up every day and it is the exact same day as yesterday.

    Well it's Groundhog day once again on BeeSource because just like every year, it is story after story after tear-jerking sob story about queens not being accepted.
    But for me, as the poster describes their procedure, it is no surprise whatsoever.

    First let me say that I have installed several boxes of queens (hundreds) so far this year.
    Exactly one (1) has not been accepted.

    The first thing that you need to know is that the advice and procedures in almost all of the books is VERY, VERY POOR!
    And the information in the books is just repeated, over and over, book after book, never questioned and in my opinion and experience almost assures high failure rate.

    Before we talk procedure, let me tell you how VERY GRATEFUL I am for my mentor, Kenny Williams of Oregon that taught me how to have a 98% annual acceptance rate for queen acceptance.
    When I was new and asked him questions, he often replied with a question.

    Example: "Kenny, should I poke a hole in the candy plug with a nail"?
    "Why would you want to do that"? he asks in reply.
    "Well, so that the queen can be released sooner" I respond.
    "Why would you want the queen to be released sooner than later", he asks?

    The answer is: YOU DO NOT want the queen released in any big hurry!!!
    What we want is to pull the cork from the candy plug, place the queen cage between frames of mixed brood, or in the case of a package, centered and then LEAVE THE HIVE ALONE so that the queen can emerge in the dark, still and quiet of the hive, having had the extended time release of the candy plug to aquint the bees with her pheromone.

    Over and over and over and over I read, "I went back 2 or 4 days later to make sure the queen was released, and now I'm queenless"

    Again, WHY are you worried that the queen will not be released? Why?
    The queen WILL be released. Stay out of the hive!

    If a queen is not released, or is found dead later in the cage, it is for a few reasons:
    1) she died
    2) your package had a queen in the population
    3)she was a spent virgin.

    In 25 years of beekeeping, and thousands upon thousands of queen introductions, this has happened maybe twice.

    Do you want a 98% queen acceptance rate? Here are some PROVEN tips:

    1) Do not poke a hole in the candy plug.
    2) Always place the cage between frames of mixed, open brood (where the nurse bees are that are much more inclined to accept and care for her. Re-queen, drone layer replacement, laying worker, or hive start-up; all the same. Place her with brood and nurse bees. In the case of packages, just hang her centered in the hive.
    3) Fill the feeder with syrup.
    4) Place a piece of masking tape on the corner of the hive with the date she was introduced an DO NOT TOUCH the hive for at least 10 days other than to quietly fill the feeder without shuffling frames or otherwise making a disruption.
    5) After 10 or better yet 14 days, gently move through the hive frame by frame until you find the empty cage. Remove the cage and then reverse one frame with the dent left from the cage. They will almost always repair the dent with worker cells if you do this.

    So that is it. The problem that I read day after excruciating day her on Beesource is excess, needless micro-managing and cockamamie monkey-motion.
    I read books. I have an extensive beekeeping library.
    But when it comes to queen introduction, almost all the books give TERRIBLE advice.

    I never direct release. (no need to)
    No push-in cages.
    No monkey-motion.

    So here is a report:
    Today, I went to a yard of 64 hives that were all hard splits. (Hives directly split in half.)
    The splits were made on April 17th. Today is May 8th.
    I never returned to the hives after queen intro on April 17th.
    ALL of the queens were accepted.
    All I did today was to remove the cages and reverse one frame with the dent.

    Every year I shake packages for myself to start brand new hives.
    Last weekend I queen-checked 32 hives that started as packages on April 5th.
    After installing packages, I only returned to the hives on multiple times to quietly slide the lid aside and fill feeders.
    ALL of the queens were accepted.
    They were accepted using the time honored candy, time-release method and most important; NO DISRUPTION for the initial period.

    Ever heard of K.I.S.S.? That stands for "Keep it simple stupid!

    I hope that those of you that have been bamboozled by the cockamamie, monkey-motion procedures outlined in "the books" will try our procedure next time.
    And I am open for any questions.
    I have exactly ONE less dead-out than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    2,102

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Can I get another one from someone else brothers????

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,073

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Amen brother

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    3,729

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Good stuff! Worthy of "Sticky" status.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    172

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    I just purchase four Russian queens and need to make splits and install them in the splits/ well actually nucs. My friend told me she has 0 success with her Russian Queens being accepted, now I'm bummed, thinking great I've spend the money/time/effort. I'm gonna go outside build the nucs install the queens and they'll be killed. I know kinda a defeatist mentality, not really me normally. But......some people say you have to leave the nuc queenless for 24 hours, is this necessarily true?? Should I keep the queenless nuc closed up until I introduce the queen? I have never quick released so I know I won't do that. would you be will to elaborate a bit on your nuc building process??
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
    www.southerncoloradobeekeepers.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    4,602

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Harry, Very good post and one that was needed. All to often those who have read material pass it on weather they have verified it's viability. And if they did and it happened to work they will swear by the most ridicules theory. The internet has opened a new venue of knowledge acquisition. However it has also allowed the opportunity for those who have no clue to pass on the most absurd theories. It's a good thing if it is not true it cannot be posted on the internet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado
    Posts
    672

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Thanks Harry. Nice to see advice on here that doesn't start with "I heard that..." or "I once read..."
    Working beeyards at 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
    Visit us at Best Raw Honey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,073

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    No, don't leave them queen less 24 hours, make up your nucs, by the time you're done moving them to their new location, they know they're queen less, put the cages in, close them up and check back in a week or so

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,196

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.



    So true.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,212

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Thank you for this post.

    I do have a question.

    If one has Queens in mating Nucs and wishes to put them in new Nucs or Queenless hives what is the best way? Do you need to purchase Queen cages and put them in with attendants and then close with candy?

    Can you use a push in cage over some capped brood...assuming there is some.

    If there is no longer capped brood in the receiving hive how best to introduce the new Queen? I will be faced with that situation in about 10 days time.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Amen!
    I recently sold a few packages with the recommendation to stay out of them for 10 days after install, the reports I recieved back seems to indicate the longest anyone could wait was 5 days!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    4,602

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    Thank you for this post.

    I do have a question.

    If one has Queens in mating Nucs and wishes to put them in new Nucs or Queenless hives what is the best way? Do you need to purchase Queen cages and put them in with attendants and then close with candy?
    JzBz cages work well for that purpose. They can have candy installed and they are reusable you can get a carrying case that attendants can be placed in to transport if needed.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,196

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    If you are caging a queen and immediately introducing it to another hive without shipping or other long delays then you don't need to worry about attendants. You can reuse most queen cages with a little bit of effort - pull a staple, mix honey and powdered sugar to make stiff candy, stuff it in there and restaple the screen. If you don't have an old cage someone in your club will.

    You are in your local club - right?
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    1,095

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Another Amen! Harry hit the nail on the head!!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lexington, VA, USA
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Harry,
    This works with laying workers? That would be great because I was thinking the only way to save a hive with this problem was to combine with a really strong hive. Now I am thinking of putting in a couple of mixed brood frames from another hive and the queen in the cage between them as you suggest. We are in our nectar flow and I didn't want to disturbe a strong hive if I didn't have to.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Largo,Florida
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    The reason Bee Source works. People who have been there and done that are helping people like me who who are getting their and trying that. So thank you for a great how to post.
    Troy 7/12 -6 langs T

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,019

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Good stuff! Worthy of "Sticky" status.
    +1!
    --shinbone
    (7th year, 10 hives, Zone 5b, 5500')

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Miami, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    8,883

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Good post Harry

    I get 95% plus acceptance with a 4-5 day manual release. I find the candy so inconsistent between suppliers, 2 day release is too soon IMO

    I agree, minimal disturbance during release and after is key.
    This rule especially holds true when inserting cells and mating queens.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    6,247

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Good post Harry

    I get 95% plus acceptance with a 4-5 day manual release. I find the candy so inconsistent between suppliers, 2 day release is too soon IMO

    I agree, minimal disturbance during release and after is key.
    This rule especially holds true when inserting cells and mating queens.
    I agree Ian. We haven't done mated queens in years but when we did I was always concerned with the consistency of the candy. I've seen it vary from rock hard to quite soft. It's a good idea to at least probe it with a nail to be sure it's pliable. The manual release Ian speaks of is nice but often not a workable option for commercials.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Miami, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    8,883

    Default Re: Sucsessful Queen Introduction tips.

    Except for this commercial. Quick work. We place the cages ontop the cell bars, under the quilt in that nice hive tip rim space. After 4 days Pull the quilt back, check on her viability, pull the cork and poke the candy. She will be out later that day.
    $35-40 early queens up here... We spend the time

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