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Thread: Caged queens

  1. #1
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    Default Caged queens

    Hi, All! I recently bought 2 queens to introduce them into 2 hives that I made queen less.
    I wrapped the frames all over in #8 wire cloth with lots of hatching bees that was capped.
    My question is how long do I wait to release them out of the cage?
    With one frame that has not many young nurse bees, do I add more bees into it OR just leave them bee for now?
    I just want to know when can I unwrap the frame to release them. The other bees are clinging to the wire frame too.
    Last edited by beepro; 06-09-2014 at 03:13 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    I am trying to learn something every day about bees. Why did you wrap the frames in # 8 wire cloth?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    bees of sc, the wire cloth wrap is to allow the queen to be in the hive, but not accessible to the bees who are not used to her. It allows her to lay eggs in the comb where the emerging bees vacate. Some people will use the wire cloth as a "push-in cage", but I've heard reports of bees chewing through the other side of the comb to get to her and kill her.

    beepro, if they were recently made queenless, I would think after 3 days you are ok to release.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    Thank you, I will do that today and see how it works for me.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    Three days has been the rule of thumb for a loooooong time. Bees know they are queenless within hours of the queen removal, if left queenless for over 24 hours they begin to feel a sense of urgency. When a queen is placed in the hive her pheromones are a reassurance to the hive and they for the most part adapt to her. How long they have been queenless can play a role in how long the introduction may take. I have done so in only a few hours. That is not to say there is any harm in giving them 3 or as many days as one feels comfortable with. but certainly they would have accepted her by 3 days.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    Yep, you guys are all correct.
    This type of wire frame cage will ensure that the new queens are accepted. And good for hard to accept queen too.
    The hives are made queen less but because of the young larva they had made some qcs so that will make the
    introduction process a bit hard cuz they just balled on the new queen.
    The cage isolation had been 3 days already with all the newly emerging young bees with her. It is time now to release
    them out of the wire cage and see how other bees reacting to her.
    If the balling continue again I will use all the resources to make a new nuc for her. Hopefully this caging process will work that
    I don't have to make another nuc. Wish me luck!
    I luv bee source!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    Beepro -

    Read Harry H. Laidlaw's book, Contemporary Queen Rearing. It has several different designs of the Laidlaw queen introduction cage. The largest one (5" x 7") worked the best.

    The critical aspects of the Laidlaw cage are 7/8" depth, and a strip of sheet metal around the inside perimeter that protrudes below the wood about 3/8". The wooden rectangle should be at least 3/4" wide. Bees that try to dig under the frame to kill the "invading" queen are frustrated by the metal strip, and usually give up.

    The purpose is to give her time and brood cells to lay eggs in. Egg laying builds up the level of queen substances, including pheromones, that she peoduces. The release date is when they stop forming an attack ball, and appear to be feeding her. That signifies acceptance. The beekeeper then releases her, NOT BEFORE they stop balling the queen!

    Making a whole frame into a giant Laidlaw cage is not a bad strategy, but be sure she has empty comb to lay in from the start, and cover both sides of the frame.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    Thanks, KC. The release went well. She is laying lots of eggs/broods now.
    I unwrapped the wire screen on the 3rd day. By then they all stopped
    balling her because the hatched young bees are willing to accept her while inside the cage.
    I'm now on my other bee projects. There will bee no loss of queen for me now with this method
    of queen introduction.
    I luv bee source!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    Beepro - You may well have improved upon Laidlaw's method. I'll review his work, and start experimenting with covering capped brood with the cage, and with "Laidlaw frames" instead of cages. Thank you.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    KC, someone here posted this frame for queen introduction. But I am not sure
    if it is a Laidlaw method or the poster's invention. Maybe using this frame cage will
    help protect the entire frame inside it. Do you think this frame is the one you
    are talking about?

    Queen intro frame cage pic?
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    That was me, and I was only using that as an example of #8 hardware cloth. That object is moving screen, for allowing bees to enter a hive and not leave.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    Good! Your moving screen is going to be converted into a queen introduction cage soon.
    The entire frame of capped cells and the new queen will be in there for better acceptance.
    Thanks for this idea.
    I luv bee source!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Caged queens

    That is a moving screen, but it should do the job of a Laidlaw queen intro cage if you fit it right over an appropriate comb. The comb would have to have the center hatched out, some still emerging, some bee bread, and some honey, and be fairly flat.

    We may have to work the bugs out, or re-design it into the final refinement, give a few years working time and prove it out. The 5" x 7" Laidlaw cage is so good, it needs not be improved, but if hatching brood causes faster acceptance of a foreign queen, well, that could be an improvement.

    Quite an accomplishment when you consider who you're improving upon...

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