Introducing a queen for first time - please help
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  1. #1
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    Apr 2015
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    Default Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Hello all,

    I started OTS system this year, and as a result raise some queens. Well one of my hives the queen didn't mate, I found her 3 weeks after she should have taken her flight (4 from emerging), still small and a virgin. luckily I raised an extra queen in a mating nuc at the same time (they are sisters). She was laying beautiful patters I'm her nuc.

    On the 8/8 I put her in a push in cage, and just put the whole nuce in the hive and smoked it like crazy figuring the nuc was mostly nurse bees, and the foragers would return to the other nuc I have put in its place that has a virgin queen. There wasn't a pile of dead bees in front of the hive the next day, so figured they were getting along. 8/10 (yesterday) I went to check, and they were either ignoring the cage, or trying to feed her. So I released her, watched on the frame and bees would run up to her, lick her and then run off.

    Today I wanted to check to see how things were since I released her after only 2 days, I found her 2 frames over being chased and grabbed on to by about 4-6 bees. I knocked them off and her back in the push in cage figuring I went to fast.

    Question is, should I have let them be? If she survived 24 hours, would they still get rid of her? Being my first time doing an intro, I didn't want to take a chance.

    The nuc was put in the bottom box, so most of the old bees are in the top box. Should I put on a queen excluder to keep her in the bottom when I release her?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    This is a tough one. And know one can answer it for certain. I would say if you give her a couple more days and then release her she might be ok. At this time of year I like 4 to 5 days before I release. Some things you can not rush and one is queen introduction in the fall. Look for emergency queen cells and knock them down if present

    I have no idea what you are talking about with old bees being up or down, that has no effect, they go all over the hive and an excluder in my opinion wont make a difference.
    Beekeeping: "Know the Rules and Learn the Art"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Ridgeville, SC, USA
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Was the Virgin queen still in the hive when you introduced queen from nuc?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    I figured that she will be doomed once the girls caught up with her when
    you released her again. So they marked her for death by the bee scent. Now her
    own bees cannot recognized her and the foreign bees trying to balled on her. Got rejected
    both ways! If you have a 3rd hive or can make up a small nuc hive with the newly emerged bees
    then put her in a big frame cage until she's laying again. Maybe she will have a chance to survive with
    the new bees in a new hive and location.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  6. #5
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    May 2013
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    Chardon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    I figured that she will be doomed once the girls caught up with her when
    you released her again. So they marked her for death by the bee scent. Now her
    own bees cannot recognized her and the foreign bees trying to balled on her. Got rejected
    both ways! If you have a 3rd hive or can make up a small nuc hive with the newly emerged bees
    then put her in a big frame cage until she's laying again. Maybe she will have a chance to survive with
    the new bees in a new hive and location.
    This advice from a guy who kills queens all the time because he can not follow simple directions is wrong as usual. Keep her in the cage two or three days and release her and put the cover back on the hive. DO NOT REMOVE THAT HIVE COVER FOR AT LEAST SEVEN DAYS. If you had left the cover on last time for seven days you would not need to have her in a cage today. Rather than being in a cage today she would be laying up a storm.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Next time Pinch the virgin queen off she is useless by this time anyway. Leave the hive queenless for several hours, or a day even, then place the nuc above a sheet of newspaper with a reducer board. and leave them be. Pheromones seem to flow better down over the bees than from below IMHO!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Clackamas County, OR
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Thanks for the feedback!

    I did remove the virgin, and left it queen less over the weekend while i went on vacation. Introduced 4 days later.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cryberg View Post
    This advice from a guy who kills queens all the time because he can not follow simple directions is wrong as usual. Keep her in the cage two or three days and release her and put the cover back on the hive. DO NOT REMOVE THAT HIVE COVER FOR AT LEAST SEVEN DAYS. If you had left the cover on last time for seven days you would not need to have her in a cage today. Rather than being in a cage today she would be laying up a storm.
    So you are saying 4-6 bees chasing her after 24 hours is nothing, she would have been fine, and when I release her this weekend let her out and forget about it. Sounds good!

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Richard, there is always a steep learning curve for the newbee for once.
    But hey, look at the bright side, if I haven't been through all those bee experiences then
    I have nothing to offer here. Learned what not to do the next time if I want to grow my apiary.
    In the end it all boils down to what works and what does not. Glad that I'd been through the learning curve.

    Richard's suggestion will work only when they have accepted her. If they don't then releasing her will caused the
    balling to start again. Been there done that! The balling will begin when trying to release a canis queen into an Italians hive or
    releasing an Italians queen into a Russian hive. It would be better to use the same type of queen with the same type of bees. If this
    queen got accepted in absent of the virgin then you will have no issue to begin with. Now that she is marked for death (full of the bee scent) it
    will be a long time before they let her go. Is one week enough time or it will take at least a month if not more?
    I would let them go queen less for a few days then cut out all the new queen cells if any and then buy them another new queen.
    Last edited by beepro; 08-13-2016 at 03:54 AM.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Well, I don't know about all that but I do know leaving a hive that has hatching eggs queenless for 48 hours can result in disastrous effects. a hive realizes it is queenless in a matter of minutes. a prolonged absence with day old larva present can result in the colony drawing a queen cell around some of them. If they have started queens then they may not accept a new queen. I said May. As some times they do, but it is a roll of the dice. I always do a thorough inspection and remove any cells prior to introducing a queen.
    With that said, I would like to add, It is very difficult if not imposable to determine bees actions or reactions from the written or spoken word. Seeing them is the only way to make a judgment call and even that can be varied in opinion. Many times I have had people call me an tell me the bees are attacking their newly released queens. When I get there I see excited bees simply wanting to spread the pheromones she brings in an attempt to bring order back to the colony.
    All too often I myself gather different information from the same written post that others read, sometimes I misinterpreted the posters information, sometimes it is others. There are many subtitle factors that make determining bee behavior difficult. So in instances of analyzing behavior from description it is subjective.
    One can find merit in all philosophies as well as discredit them.

    I will say one think though. You can be sure there is no 100% in beekeeping. Nothing is absolute! Those little buggers seem to do exactly what you say they never do as soon as you say it.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Update, I released her a week ago, check today, beautiful pattern being laid. She was accepted and things are going good!

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Quote Originally Posted by daweez04 View Post
    Update, I released her a week ago, check today, beautiful pattern being laid. She was accepted and things are going good!
    Good to hear.

    If she was still alive in the colony about 24 hours later you can be pretty sure she is accepted. At least that would be my opinion. I like the push-in cage... but I don't like having to re-disturb everything a few days later and mine have always started emergency cells by that time (which makes me wonder why they don't seem to do that with a regular cage?) I like pulling the existing queen and putting the new one in with a candy release. 100% acceptance so far this year doing just that (in nucs). I give them seven days before even thinking about checking. I think a good amount of queen rejecting is because of the constant screwing around we beekeepers do in the hive at this sensitive time period. It's better just to let it ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    Now that she is marked for death (full of the bee scent)


    She died so hard that she laid up a bunch of cells as she tumbled to her death.
    Last edited by jwcarlson; 08-22-2016 at 10:16 AM.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    When I had bees before I tried every which way. Everything I read in books or found on the internet I tried. I couldn't quit checking in on them and messing with them. Never had great acceptance. I read the sticky on this site about leaving them alone. I've given them about 2 weeks without interfering this year and I am 31 for 31. So true.
    Last edited by dlbrightjr; 08-22-2016 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Strange use of quotes!

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Quote Originally Posted by dlbrightjr View Post
    I've given them about 2 weeks without interfering this year and I am 31 for 31. So true.
    Two weeks I'm at one week and feel like it's "forever". Depending on the time of the year I could see two weeks. But right now if they don't accept her I want to know long before two weeks. But there's something to be said about putting the queen in and walking away for several days "at least". Harry Vanderpool's thread opened my eyes some too. I just don't have a good schedule to wait the 10 days he suggests. So I settled on a week.

    And it works great. There's a lot of bad information out there that involves a whole lot of messing around in the colony that can only hurt the chances.

    Here's Harry's thread:
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...roduction-tips

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Introducing a queen for first time - please help

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    There's a lot of bad information out there that involves a whole lot of messing around in the colony that can only hurt the chances.
    Seems to happen a lot. I see so many "advice" posts given by people who start them with "I once heard that..." or "I read that..." or "I'm new at this but I think you should..."

    Also a lot of "how to" videos on YouTube where everything in the video, all woodenware, hive tools, the "complete" bee suit, it all sparkling new, and the poster is obviously doing something for the first time, and often wrong, but telling other new beekeepers to do it his or her way.

    Agree on Harry's advice. We do it the same way and have always had success.
    Working beeyards at 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
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