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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    553

    Default Introducing new queen to a queenless TBH

    This should have been a relatively easy thing to do, but the brief period of cold air earlier this week made me change course.

    The background info: my single hive has been fighting a queenless situation since Feb 24. Raised a few queens from queen cups but the virgins never returned to the hive. Had queens shipped in 3 different times from California, and only 1 queen has survived the plane ride. She arrived this past Tues (when our temps were dipping into mid 30's). Rather than risk her dying in the outside hive overnight, I pulled a couple frames of pollen/honey and the bees that were on them, and put them in my display hive inside the house. I set her plastic queen cage on the bars and watched how the bees reacted to her. Right away they were accepting of her, so I popped open the cap and released her into that small hive. Within an hour, she had laid quite a few eggs.

    I'm now most anxious to get her in my outside hive and give her more comb to lay eggs on, because my hive is really dwindling at this point. Since the first group of bees from that hive were so accepting of her, can I assume that the remainder of the hive will be also? Or do I need to cage her with wire screening on a comb for a day so they get used to her? I'm very hesitant to do much manipulation with her at this point, just in case I damage her. The weather isn't supposed to get much warmer than 55 for the next few days and I don't want to do too much rearranging of the outside hive either.

    I also have a package coming in this weekend and I was hoping to steal the frame of eggs she laid Tues, as they would be just hatching eggs and will hopefully anchor the package to their new hive. I also have a frame of capped drone brood, but I read somewhere that it has to be "open" brood to have the anchoring affect.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Introducing new queen to a queenless TBH

    And the answer to that question, is she must be introduced in a cage. I had marked her (and let her dry) while I put the bar of eggs in the hive. Then I took her out to the hive and set her on the bottom. Left her there for 15 min (which is about as long as I left her caged in the display hive before releasing). Bees seemed to be feeding her and very interested, so I took the plunger out and set her on some comb. 2 bees immediately balled her, then a whole group. I was able to isolate her back into the marking cage, and I suppose I will try and suspend that from some comb. My hands shake too badly for me to try and put her into a regular plastic queen cage and if I take her back out of the hive, they might start making queen cells with the eggs I just stuck in there. But I don't know if the bees will keep her warm enough tonight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    673

    Default Re: Introducing new queen to a queenless TBH

    Were they feeding or biting at her?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Yakima WA USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Introducing new queen to a queenless TBH

    I've read several posts the past couple weeks about people marking their queens then the bees balling them. I wonder if this was the problem. If you can't wire cage her on some comb tonight, I would hang the queen cage on the bar with the new eggs. They will take care of her and the new eggs, then you can go at it again tomorrow.

    Let us know how it goes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Introducing new queen to a queenless TBH

    I just walked out there at 9:30 with a flashlight to peak in the window. It seems that they have accepted her. I wasn't able to hang the marking tube between any comb so I left it on the bottom of the hive. The girls have festooned down to where she is and a couple of worker bees have wiggled their way into the marking tube with her. We are not supposed to get too very cold tonight so I hope she will be ok. The workers are definitely feeding her at this point, and I will try and release her tomorrow morning before I go off to work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Introducing new queen to a queenless TBH

    Good news, the queen was still alive this morning, although the 2 workers who wiggled their way into the marking tube were not (maybe they injured themselves getting in those tiny holes). There were worker bees on the blue mesh side of the marking tube that appeared to be feeding her (I think the guy at the bee club said when introducing a queen, "if the butts are down, they have accepted her. Butts in the air, mean they have not") So I backed the foam plunger almost out of the tube which left a small opening for bees to come and go. I checked it 30 min later and they had again festooned down to her marking tube and many bees coming and going out of the tube. They seemed excited, but not aggressive. Kinda like they were throwing a party because they had a queen back in the hive

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