Introduce virgin queens of a different strain
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  1. #1
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    Default Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    In principle I will buy virgin queens from a resistant varroa strain in a notable amount in France. I need to go comfortable for this business. I lack filing some edges of this plan and I ask for your help and advice.

    What should I watch and how to introduce virgin queens of a different strain, in order to maximize the acceptance rate? I thank your valuable help .

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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Eduardo,

    I think you're wise to be cautious on this. I found two years ago when trying to introduce virgins from a very different genetic source that introductions with those virgins was dramatically more difficult. That are lots of good discussions about introducing virgins on beesource. I suggest that you search to find one that will work on your scale.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    I would use ammonium nitrate to introduce them. I get about 70% success with them and this method.

    Lots of information in this thread.
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...monium+nitrate

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Eduardo,

    As AstroBee and camero7 pointed out, lots of info/debates on this forum about virgin introduction/use....

    I'll just give you some of my observations I made this past year...

    I do use a lot of virgins to start mini mating nucs. Most of them, are my own production so to speak. Some, I do get from outside. One reason I do like to get them from outside is simply for what they will bring/contribute to my DCA's with the drones they produce.

    On the ones I produce, I have a very good feel for their age...not so much for those that I buy. But still...regardless of where the virgin queen comes from, the "introduction" I follow is the same.

    Even before 2014, I was playing with virgin queens in all kinds of scenarios...but talking about introductions, I found the easiest and most successful ( for me that is) way, was to start mini mating nucs with these virgins. One or two cups of young nurse bees, slightly sprayed with some light syrup, placed with a virgin queen in a mini nuc of your choice...provided with fondant/candy...closed in a placed at 15C-18C dark room for about 3-4 days. I do use a syringe with a long needle to squirt some water on the walls of these mating nucs, once a day.

    Then, on the evening of the 4th day, I place the nucs outside and let them do their thing.

    Many ways to get the very young nurse bees...but, what I did do different this past year, was to get the nurse bees held in bulk, in the dark again, in a cool place while providing them with a frame or two of uncapped honey and at the same time feeding them light syrup from an upside down jar.
    The box I held the bulk of the nurse bees has screen on the sides, or even on the bottom...use what you have and improvise.

    One or two days later, I placed a plywood box over the box, and gas the poor bees with CO2...for around 10 minutes.

    Then, with a cup, I scooped and I placed these "sleepy" bees into the nuc, take the virgin queen, dip her in some light syrup or honey, place her over the sleepy bees and that's it. In the dark cool place they go, and 3-4 days later let them fly.

    Before 2014, I was not using CO2, but from now on I will. Love it. However, I still think that the young nurse bees are the key one way or another.
    CO2 use makes the operation much smoother, you crush less bees...much more "elegant" in my opinion.

    To camero7 point, I think ammonium nitrate would also work, I have not used it personally...but a lot of folks in South America use it and swear by it.

    Oh, and to paraphrase or maybe quote Lauri...I also think that virgin queens are a very underutilized resource in beekeeping.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    I'd say for introducing virgins not from your own stock that may be less accepted than normal, Hopelessly queeness nucs,(Only capped brood) small colonies with only young nurse bees. Plenty of feed.

    You can introduce your new virgins in a shipping cage with candy release, but I find if I remove the attendants acceptance is faster. I did a test last summer and found even if caged for 10 days after hatching, the virgins appeared well mated and normal in every way. When you're shipping in virgins, that knowledge should take away some of the 'rush' to get them accepted. You should have plenty of time to do it successfully, even if the receiving colony is not receptive right away.

    When you receive your virgins, I would give them a big drop of water, then a small smear of honey. When it is all gone, another drop of water. Give them an hour or so to feed & clean the queen well, turn loose the attendants if you wish and install your virgin in the receiving colony, with the shipping cage as protection. She'll be well hydrated and well fed, ready to withstand some lacking care if the new bees are prone to give her the cold shoulder for a while.
    Virgin queens, especially when less than 2 days old are very temperature sensitive, as compared with mated queens. Keep them warm and away from temp extremes.

    Have you ever noticed the bottom side of the JZBZ shipping cage has a center plastic bar that easily snaps out to make an excluder? You can release your attendants, but if your virgins are small, they can get away too, so be careful. Just remember to tape over the hole so separation from the new colony is still thorough. Great for larger mated queens though.
    That opening is exactly 1/8".

    http://i425.photobucket.com/albums/p...psd5b62c64.jpg

    http://i425.photobucket.com/albums/p...psc1aa3480.jpg

    I also make my cage candy with powdered sugar, a tiny bit of citric acid, electrolytes & vitamins, a tiny bit of Prohealth or essential oil for good scent and liquid consisting of equal parts water and cider vinegar. Tha candy smells great, but I make it for more nourishment than to help with acceptance. I shipped a queen last year who's attendants were excreting wax inside the shipping cage when they arrived. Thought that was interesting. That was a 2012 breeder queen shipped to Virginia and the customer said she started laying up a storm immediatly upon release.
    I prep my queens to be shipped just like I do when I receive them. Drop of water, smear of honey and another drop of water. Then in the mail they go. Well hydrated and fed to withstand a couple days of neglect.

    I have good luck with direct release with my own stock, but I find if I try to release a virgin queen and she is balled even slightly by just a couple bees, I'll never get any other nuc to accept her. It's like she has been marked for distruction. If they grab her legs or wings, remove her immediatly. If theire tongues are out, things are looking good.

    When I hatch out my virgins in the incubator, if get a shrimpy runt, I will save her for a 'test' virgin for colonies if I am not sure of their receptiveness. If she is accepted without incident when direct released onto the side of a frame, I will just quickly take her away and give them a fat virgin. If the shrimp is balled, there is no real loss of a better quality virgin & I can so something different with the colony to make them more receptive.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-22-2015 at 05:28 AM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Astrobee, here, portuguese breeders say iberiensis is a complicated bee to accept another queen be race. But the prestige of Mr. Kefuss work and the prices of virgin queens are very tempting. He also sell 10 days queen cells and 2 ou 3 days queen cells. Do you think that is a good alternative if I had to travel about 40 h (about 3000 Km) with them?

    Camero what amount of AN you use in the smoker? Do you use any protective equipment because of the oxide formed? Do you have idea of ​​% average acceptance?

    Apis maximus I think CO2 is the gas used in instrumental insemination, right? I have a good friend who starts making II and so he should have and give me a hand with CO2. Do you have idea of ​​% average acceptance?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Yes it is used for II.

    Acceptance in my case 100%...Now, before the "thought" police jumps on me, when I say acceptance I mean the mating nuc population after 1 week to 10 days after being put together by going "sleepy"...has build new comb, and my marked virgin is in place acting like she owns it and the bees act like a very cohesive unit...some by day10 are laying eggs already...some by day 15 and some, up to day 20 will do so.

    Mating success on the other hand, is a whole different story, but again, all things being equal, no difference when comparing with nucs and or hives provided with queen cells.

    I will also mirror what Lauri just said in her reply...young bees, placed in a hopelessly queen less situation is the key to this virgin queen introduction business. A few ways to do it...and just like she described above, that is another way to do it.
    In my opinion, even the presence of some capped brood has some residual queen pheromonal signature...so, in my way of thinking, when that is also removed from the picture, the odds of virgin acceptance go higher.

    Just my observation...because again, in some of the mating nucs, after I "steal" the matted queen, I do offer a virgin as a replacement, in the same manner that Lauri describes. And, being careful, it can for sure work.

    I do however, like the odds and peace of mind going the "sleepy" way...

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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Thanks Lauri. Not being a breeder of queens, I have learned a lot with you. The passion and attention you give to the small but important details have been a great school for me.

    Apis maximus do you release the queen without cage? As the bees are sleeping I presume so, but nothing like be sure.
    The box used to held the bulk of the nurse bees can be a type that is used for packages of bees? At the nucs with the sleeping bees and already with the queen do you put drawn frames or foundantion or both? Some days later can I give them a brood frame to boost the development?

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    When you learn to rear your own, you have an good supply of guinea pigs to work with that cost you only a bit of your time. When you can do that & handle them regularly, you get a 'feel' for exactly what is needed for the situation at hand and exctly what you can and can't get away with. That 'feel' is very hard to relay with just a few comments on a post.

    Good luck with your project though!
    Hope I was able to help in some way.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Yes, I do release the virgin on top of the sleepy bees. No cage.
    The reason I dip her in honey or syrup is because these virgins are pretty quick to move or even fly. It cuts into the extra effort to go chase the virgin if she is inclined to pull a fast one on me.

    The box/boxes I use for the bulk bees...one is a 5 frame nuc body I initially made to use as a queen less cell builder. I raised it up by using a wooden frame I made from 1x2 or wooden strips, which I covered with galvanized screen. It has a nuc migratory inner cover, also screened, that I place on top and on which I place an inverted jar to feed the bees. Being a nuc, I can easily add 1-2 frames of uncapped honey on which the bees will rest and sort of cling to...
    The other one I have is a 10 frame Lang box with screened bottom and and screened migratory top. The bottom of the box is raised by 2 wooden pieces so that air can circulate under the bees also.

    The nucs I was describing, I start with empty frames to which I add a piece of wax foundation strip, aprox 1 inch wide.

    In the setup I described, once the nucs are formed and flying, I do not add extra bees or frames to boost them. They do not need it. Not in my case.

    Once the virgin is mated, you now have a mated queen. What you do with it from here on can open up a whole other chapter...but, now you have a freshly mated queen, that you can introduce to another hive...or you can just use the whole nuc to combine with another queen less hive...I mean the possibilities are many.

    Going back to your original question... introducing virgin queen of maybe different strains...I assume you want to end up with a mated and ultimately laying queen. Once you accomplish that, the introduction/acceptance odds, change dramatically...in your favor. Well, in your new former virgin queen's favor.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    >Good luck with your project though! Hope I was able to help in some way.
    Thank you Lauri. Of course you had help me! I'm sure that I'll learn a lot more from you.

    > Going back to your original question... introducing virgin queen of maybe different strains...I assume you want to end up with a mated and ultimately laying queen. Once you accomplish that, the introduction/acceptance odds, change dramatically...in your favor. Well, in your new former virgin queen's favor.
    Yes Apis maximus. Is the beggining of my resistant bees program. If they have 50% of resistance feature, after mating with my muts drones, the bees wiil have 25%. I'll work with the % of Lauri.

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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Quote Originally Posted by apis maximus View Post
    Then, with a cup, I scooped and I placed these "sleepy" bees into the nuc, take the virgin queen, dip her in some light syrup or honey, place her over the sleepy bees and that's it. In the dark cool place they go, and 3-4 days later let them fly.

    Before 2014, I was not using CO2, but from now on I will. Love it. However, I still think that the young nurse bees are the key one way or another.
    CO2 use makes the operation much smoother, you crush less bees...much more "elegant" in my opinion.
    There's a youtube video on this CO2 technique. Sorry I don't have the link.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    That's okay Astrobee . I may not be great beekeeper, but to find things on the net I have some talent .

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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    AstroBee and Eduardo,

    Here is a link with the Germans doing a version of this. No CO2 in this particular one, but notice the bulk bee box that comes from the cold room. And in this particular case, these are not even exclusively nurse bees. They were shaken from regular hives. But staying hopelessly queen less and well fed, gorged on carbohydrates, these bees, given a virgin queen, will get with the program and start mating nucs just fine. What other chance do they have?
    Personally, I prefer doing it with nurse bees.

    Just before filling up the mating nucs, see the spraying of the bees inside that bulk box, either with light syrup or simply water. Fill up the nucs...
    Then, watch them taking the nucs inside the cold room. That is one way of doing it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygS8m20ROQ4

    Then, observe as they pull the virgin queens out of the roller cages that were emerging their cell builder...and then introduce them into the mini nucs after dipping them into the sweet stuff.. Then, they might go back in the cold room( like I like to do) or some take them to their mating yards right after introducing the Virgin.

    Many ways to skin the proverbial cat...
    Last edited by apis maximus; 01-15-2015 at 07:57 PM. Reason: spelling

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    For those of you that use CO2 do you run it in straight from CO2 cylinder. And for how long? How do you know the bees will be sleepy and not dead? CO2 is heavy so do you introduce it through the top of the box?
    Must admit I would worry the bees would not wake up
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    And here is the French doing it...

    First, handling some virgins and adding them into the mini nuc:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aNBqeumDtA
    It does not show the bees going sleepy before going into the nuc...but they are.

    And here is one done by a Spanish fellow...These bees from the bulk box are sleepy indeed...They were exposed to CO2. Observe how motionless they are...no struggle for this guy to fill the nucs whatsoever.
    If these were freshly collected nurse bees, brought in right from the bee yard, you'd have to be fast...otherwise they would be crawling out and be making a mess.
    And again, virgin queens just dumped on top of the sleepy bees. Also, notice he's using two different kinds of mini nucs.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aNBqeumDtA

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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Those are interesting mating nucs. I take it the pellets and liquid they put in are feed of some sort. Also do they load bees in on the underside as it is an open box yet later it is apparent there are 3 sided foundationless frames in there. Neat system...do we have an equivalent in N. America?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    For those of you that use CO2 do you run it in straight from CO2 cylinder. And for how long? How do you know the bees will be sleepy and not dead? CO2 is heavy so do you introduce it through the top of the box?
    Must admit I would worry the bees would not wake up
    Yes, straight from the CO2 cylinder/tank via the regulator attached to the tank.
    Around 10 minutes they are pretty sleepy but still some will crawl...by 15 minutes they are good to go...really sleepy....but, not dead.

    As you release the CO2 via the hose/tube passing through the wall of the box covering the bulk bees, you can also peek inside by lifting the cover box. Remember, the bees are inside the bulk box that has screened sides or at least a screened bottom, so you can see them if you wish...by lifting the solid wall box.

    Screened box, inside a solid wall box...nighty night!
    Last edited by apis maximus; 01-15-2015 at 09:10 PM.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    Neat system...do we have an equivalent in N. America?
    Yes...Mann Lake has something similar...and I'm sure others do too.
    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeepin...ry/page62.html

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Introduce virgin queens of a different strain

    You did not mention how many virgins you are going to get.
    So if it is 100s then you have to find 100 frames of about to hatch bees to make
    a frame with #8 wire screen cloth to wrap 360* around the frame. First to brush off all the attaching bees off the
    frame. After that pick a number of the youngest fuzzy bees that hatched into the hole of the wrapped frame and seal
    the hole with a push pin after the virgin is introduced inside. As more young bees hatch the virgin is safe and got accepted.
    The open nectar and honey on the frame will keep the virgin well feed for awhile awaiting for more young bees to hatch in the frame.
    Don't pick the older young bees but pick the fuzzy new hatching ones will do. Make weaker nucs with
    all young hatching bees. I'm sure there is a lots of work but well worth it. And don't forget to feed too with patty and syrup.
    Unwrap the #8 wire screen cloth in approximately 3 days or less after seeing the virgin got accepted. Be careful that the virgin might fly away when
    got excited when unwrapping the screen cloth.

    Disclaimer: 100% acceptance with a mated queen every time I use this method. Virgins I have not try before. But using the concept that newly hatched
    bees will not bite the virgin bee, should work.


    #8 wire screen cloth around a frame of emerging bees with a mated queen inside:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by beepro; 01-16-2015 at 03:11 AM.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

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