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.
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.