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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Default Push in intro cages

    I am getting ready to introduce some breeder queens and wondering what an ideal size and depth is for them. Is 4" square a large enough surface area of brood for a good introduction? I normally do the standard cage/candy intro. But with a high dollar breeder perhaps an extra margin of safety is a good thing.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  2. #2
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    I use them all the time. 4x4 or 4x6. Locate the cage over emerging brood and nectar. Leave for 4 days. You'll be able to tell if she's accepted by the actions of the bees on the cage.

    One thought. I've used them for years. Never checked the colony...just released her if the bees weren't grabbing or biting the cage. Stuck to the wire like velcro. Last summer I checked a few and found emergency cells with the new queen laying eggs under the cage. Of course the queen has been separated from the nurses by the screen, so it figures.

    So this year I've been checking more extensively. Nearly 100% had emergency cells. So I now remove all the E-cells before I release the queen and I've had excellent acceptance. But I always did so I'm not really sure it matters. With a special breeder queen I would check.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,439

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    I recently attempted to install a breeder queen this way, didn't work out so great. Guess I didn't get a good seal or the cage popped out at some point in a spot since you can get some tension created when you push it in. The nuc I pulled was all capped brood, 3 frames and I put the cage over emerging brood. I probably used about a 5" x 5", smaller is probably easier to manage as far as pushing it in goes, and it's not so easy to do at 9pm in the dark either.... Anyways, I checked on the queen the next morning, found the push in cage full of bees and no queen around... let just say I got pretty nervous but found her 2 frames over walking around fine and the nuc was acting queenright, they were pretty loud the night before after being queenless for about 1.5 hours. I checked her the next day and she was still walking around fine so I will check for eggs tomorrow maybe which is a week from install. I did test the intro by putting her cage over the screened entrance though and it seemed fine, the bees were excited to have a queen and I was tempted to just do a regular introduction at that point.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    The push in cages sold by the bees supply places aren't worth the plastic they are packaged in. 1/8 hardware cloth is the way to go and I still get bees chew under them sometimes. Far better acceptance with push in cages though. I have used small ones 4x3 and big ones 1/3 of the size of a frame. They all work good if you have nurse bees emerging into the cage.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
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    177

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Had the same thing happen the other day. Was sure she wold be balled with the accidental release after less than a day. Looked at a couple of frames and there she was. She's laying like crazy four days after making up the nuc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I use them all the time. 4x4 or 4x6. Locate the cage over emerging brood and nectar. Leave for 4 days. You'll be able to tell if she's accepted by the actions of the bees on the cage.

    One thought. I've used them for years. Never checked the colony...just released her if the bees weren't grabbing or biting the cage. Stuck to the wire like velcro. Last summer I checked a few and found emergency cells with the new queen laying eggs under the cage. Of course the queen has been separated from the nurses by the screen, so it figures.

    So this year I've been checking more extensively. Nearly 100% had emergency cells. So I now remove all the E-cells before I release the queen and I've had excellent acceptance. But I always did so I'm not really sure it matters. With a special breeder queen I would check.
    Thanks. I will get the hardware cloth and tin snips out and see what I can come up with. I would think it would be important to get the depth right (at least 3/4" total?) so that there is plenty to go into the comb and still allow the queen can stand on the comb unmolested.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    1,817

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Do you introduce the queen/push in cage to a Nuc that has only recently been queenless (less than 1-2 days) or a hive that has been queenless longer ( as many as five days) smashing queen cells before introduction?

    Do your breeder queens have excluded/restricted chamber or free reign?

    In a dearth is it worth the extra measure to feed syrup during introduction?

    If you feed syrup is it a benifit or detriment to use feed additives that may mask scents ex.HBH?

    I don't have much experience with push in cages but this video helped my simple mind understand how to make them.

    http://youtu.be/Wz7DDG2wyaY

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    1,972

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    What's the procedure to getting the queen in there? Do you shake off the frame, set her on the comb and then push the cage on over her?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    Do you introduce the queen/push in cage to a Nuc that has only recently been queenless (less than 1-2 days) or a hive that has been queenless longer ( as many as five days) smashing queen cells before introduction?

    Do your breeder queens have excluded/restricted chamber or free reign?

    In a dearth is it worth the extra measure to feed syrup during introduction?

    If you feed syrup is it a benifit or detriment to use feed additives that may mask scents ex.HBH?

    I don't have much experience with push in cages but this video helped my simple mind understand how to make them.

    http://youtu.be/Wz7DDG2wyaY
    I plan on making up a single with 5 to 6 combs of brood, 2 to 3 frames of honey and an inside feeder. Unless there is a nice flow, I would probably give them a feed at the time of introduction being very careful not to spill any. A somewhat reduced entrance is always a good idea with a new nuc. I will most likely make them up a day ahead of time to insure that there are plenty of bees when I return the next day to intro. the queen.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,439

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Adam, I smoked the bees off the section I put the cage in, the queen was in a JZBZ cage, I opened the hole where you put the bees in, stuck the JZBZ cage into the comb to hold it in position then just put the push in over it. The JZBZ kind of let me guage how far to push the push-in as well. The queen and attendants were free to exit at their leisure. Everything seems to have worked out, she's laying now.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,650

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Years ago I made some 3/4" deep and about 4X4" with candy release exits. These days the bees are not as mean and introduction seems easier. Ah the day of the $7 queen.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,122

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Thanks. I will get the hardware cloth and tin snips out and see what I can come up with. I would think it would be important to get the depth right (at least 3/4" total?) so that there is plenty to go into the comb and still allow the queen can stand on the comb unmolested.
    3/4" is good. You want the cage pushed into the comb to the midrib with enough above the comb to preserve bee space.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    Do you introduce the queen/push in cage to a Nuc that has only recently been queenless (less than 1-2 days) or a hive that has been queenless longer ( as many as five days) smashing queen cells before introduction?

    Do your breeder queens have excluded/restricted chamber or free reign?

    In a dearth is it worth the extra measure to feed syrup during introduction?

    If you feed syrup is it a benifit or detriment to use feed additives that may mask scents ex.HBH?

    I don't have much experience with push in cages but this video helped my simple mind understand how to make them.

    http://youtu.be/Wz7DDG2wyaY
    Obviously, you don't need a push-in cage in every instance. When setting up nucleus colonies, I just make up the nuc, move it to its yard, and give a caged queen with cork removed from candy end.

    Jim's situation is different. He's introducing breeder queens, and wants to take extra precautions.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    What's the procedure to getting the queen in there? Do you shake off the frame, set her on the comb and then push the cage on over her?
    Choose the comb to be used...one with emerging brood and a bit of nectar. Brush off the bees and take the comb to your truck. I like to lay a towel on my lap to keep the nectar off me. Lay the comb on the towel and the cage on the comb. Remove the queen from the cage, hold her by her wings, lift the cage, and stick her snoot against an emerging bee. This distracts her a bit, from flying. Release her and lower the cage...don't pinch her with the edge of the cage. Move the cage around until located over emerging brood and nectar. Push cage into comb to mid-rib.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Choose the comb to be used...one with emerging brood and a bit of nectar. Brush off the bees and take the comb to your truck. I like to lay a towel on my lap to keep the nectar off me. Lay the comb on the towel and the cage on the comb. Remove the queen from the cage, hold her by her wings, lift the cage, and stick her snoot against an emerging bee. This distracts her a bit, from flying. Release her and lower the cage...don't pinch her with the edge of the cage. Move the cage around until located over emerging brood and nectar. Push cage into comb to mid-rib.
    That is exactly how I do it. One tip I'll add, roll the windows up in the vehicle. Sometimes they will fly around the window and you'll have to grab them by the wings and put them on the comb, then put the cage over them.

    If you aren't comfortable grabbing a queen by the wings you can make your push in queen cage with a small door on the side. Pull the cork out and put the hole of the cage down to the door and wait for her to walk in, then close the door of the cage up. Or the quicker way, get comfortable handling queens!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Jim's situation is different. He's introducing breeder queens, and wants to take extra precautions.
    Okay, but what if I have queens that I want to take extra precautions with? I've got a couple now that just might change modern beekeeping as we know it. Should I just slap these genetic goldmines into a hive any old way?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,195

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    Okay, but what if I have queens that I want to take extra precautions with? I've got a couple now that just might change modern beekeeping as we know it. Should I just slap these genetic goldmines into a hive any old way?
    Tell us more!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    Okay, but what if I have queens that I want to take extra precautions with? I've got a couple now that just might change modern beekeeping as we know it. Should I just slap these genetic goldmines into a hive any old way?
    No way, especially if they poop gold nuggets.

    That would change modern beekeeping, now that I think of it.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,610

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    I like mine a bit bigger. 4" x 8" works very nicely. The queen has a bit more room to lay and I can get more space for her and some emerging brood more easily...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#pushincage
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...htm#pushincage
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesdoolitt...#ValuableQueen
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,273

    Default Re: Push in intro cages

    I find that plastic foundation works best as you can really seat the screen against the foundation - less chance for leakage. I have had bees dig under the screen to gain early access using conventional wax foundation. It always nerve-wracking introducing high dollar queens. Good luck!
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

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