Banking Queens
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Thread: Banking Queens

  1. #1
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    Default Banking Queens

    Last year I ordered 100 queens and they will be arriving on April 4 or April 5. Based on weather today and forecast for the next two weeks, it is unlikely I will be able to use them very fast.

    I usually bank queens in individual cages in a special frame that allows workers to feed them. The hive is usually queenless and I provide a frame of uncapped larvae every 10 days or so.

    Someone told me that I could instead lay the cages on top of an excluder on a strong queenright hive. That would be a lot less work. Anyone have experience with this?

    Lloyd
    Lloyd Spear

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Last year I ordered 100 queens and they will be arriving on April 4 or April 5. Based on weather today and forecast for the next two weeks, it is unlikely I will be able to use them very fast.

    I usually bank queens in individual cages in a special frame that allows workers to feed them. The hive is usually queenless and I provide a frame of uncapped larvae every 10 days or so.

    Someone told me that I could instead lay the cages on top of an excluder on a strong queenright hive. That would be a lot less work. Anyone have experience with this?

    Lloyd
    That is one method that my mentor uses. He uses JZ-BZ cages which someone here has stated are not good to bank queens in. It had something to do with the queens getting their tarsal pads damaged.

  4. #3
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    allen,indiana,usa
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Lloyd, i may be in the same boat, like the idea of the queen excluder, would you lay the queen cages with the screen facing down or up on top of the ex.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    I am thinking of laying the queen cages so that the screens are on the sides. Wish I would get more input on this.
    Lloyd Spear

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    I've done that for years. I use a 7 wire Root excluder, lay the cages in rows on the wooden excluder strips screen down. The colony must be strong, with the cluster at the top of the hive. Queen right is okay. Place a 16x20" cloth on top of the cages to hold down the heat, and a rim on cloth. I use a layer of wool cloth. Inner and outer on the rim. If you are using an all wire excluder, I would use some thin shims to hold the cages off the wires so the bees can cluster on the screens. Good for short term, but I've kept them in the bank for a month. Some colonies are better at this than others.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuttingedgelandinc View Post
    He uses JZ-BZ cages which someone here has stated are not good to bank queens in. It had something to do with the queens getting their tarsal pads damaged.
    Has anybody else experienced this ,with a place to hide in the jz bz cage I have a hard time seeing how a queen would let this happen, but I have been wrong before. So anybody ever seen this?
    I don't want to toss a few 1000 JZ BZ cages.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I use a 7 wire Root excluder
    I wasn't exactly sure what this was, so I asked google...

    https://books.google.com/books?id=29...cluder&f=false
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    I wasn't exactly sure what this was, so I asked google...
    Your link took me to a partial page that didn't really describe it, so, I asked google again. Found this slightly better description.
    MP post on beesource with better description

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    I wasn't exactly sure what this was, so I asked google...

    https://books.google.com/books?id=29...cluder&f=false
    Dates me

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    UGH, Lloyd, your weather is horrible. Looks like another storm is heading your way.
    No chance to back your delivery off a bit?
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Thanks for the suggestion, Lauri, but those who can provide good queens early in April are few and far between. California and Hawaii breeders are now being 'sold out' the prior August! The only time I tried to back off a date I was told (the next year) that they preferred to deal with those who will meet their commitments! I'll withhold the name, but it is someone well known.

    Lloyd
    Lloyd Spear

  13. #12

    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer Jim View Post
    Has anybody else experienced this ,with a place to hide in the jz bz cage I have a hard time seeing how a queen would let this happen, but I have been wrong before. So anybody ever seen this?
    I don't want to toss a few 1000 JZ BZ cages.
    I have only heard of this from someone on this forum. It has not been my experience nor that of my mentor whom was a commercial Beekeeper for many years and sold thousands of Queens. I use lots of JZ-BZ cages and have been very happy with them. No reason to change anything if you are happy with them. I just wanted to share what someone else said.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion, Lauri, but those who can provide good queens early in April are few and far between. California and Hawaii breeders are now being 'sold out' the prior August! The only time I tried to back off a date I was told (the next year) that they preferred to deal with those who will meet their commitments! I'll withhold the name, but it is someone well known.

    Lloyd
    I think you'd be OK holding them above an excluder in a queenright colony, but they may be better fed if it was queenless. I feel for you, you can only do limited prep with your weather If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

    I hope they don't get chilled in route. Plenty of shook bees will take care of that.

    Unfortunately USPS only allows 8 attendant bees per queen. I doubt your shipper uses them though. Probably UPS or Fed Ex, although you might want to check.

    Just FYI for those using USPS. That's not enough attending bees in cold weather.

    13516603_1016358175100182_5539999790801119464_n.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Some colonies are better at this than others.
    I've found this to be very true. Some will be more accepting, some may be more against it. Also if there are attendants in the cages with the queens, the attending host bees may be more aggressive towards them. They would still hold fine, but certainly conditions could be better.

    P7240746.jpg

    In the photo above, Do you see the cage on the top far right? Bees tightly clinging to the cage? Only that one has attendants in it. All collected & installed at the same time. I just had a customer coming that day for a queen and added attendants to one so it would be ready. The difference in acceptance is obvious. Done this more than a few times and the result is always the same.

    Here's a close up of relaxed bees on the top rail:

    P7240749.jpg

    And that lone cage with the mated queens + attendants:

    Embedded1521715512243.jpg

    Here's a photo for others wanting to learn to bank queens. Can you see which ones are mated and which ones are virgins? (Virgins bottom right) Good comparison so you see why banking virgins in a entirely separate queenless colony is beneficial or they get ignored.

    P6122066.jpg
    Last edited by Lauri; 03-22-2018 at 12:07 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  15. #14

    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    I think you'd be OK holding them above an excluder in a queenright colony, but they may be better fed if it was queenless. I feel for you, you can only do limited prep with your weather If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

    I hope they don't get chilled in route. Plenty of shook bees will take care of that.

    Unfortunately USPS only allows 8 attendant bees per queen. I doubt your shipper uses them though. Probably UPS or Fed Ex, although you might want to check.

    Just FYI for those using USPS. That's not enough attending bees in cold weather.

    13516603_1016358175100182_5539999790801119464_n.jpg



    I've found this to be very true. Some will be more accepting, some may be more against it. Also if there are attendants in the cages with the queens, the attending host bees may be more aggressive towards them. They would still hold fine, but certainly conditions could be better.

    P7240746.jpg

    In the photo above, Do you see the cage on the top far right? Bees tightly clinging to the cage? Only that one has attendants in it. All collected & installed at the same time. I just had a customer coming that day for a queen and added attendants to one so it would be ready. The difference in acceptance is obvious. Done this more than a few times and the result is always the same.

    Here's a close up of relaxed bees on the top rail:

    P7240749.jpg

    And that lone cage with the mated queens + attendants:

    Embedded1521715512243.jpg

    Here's a photo for others wanting to learn to bank queens. Can you see which ones are mated and which ones are virgins? (Virgins bottom right) Good comparison so you see why banking virgins in a entirely separate queenless colony is beneficial or they get ignored.

    P6122066.jpg
    Lauri, thanks for the info and photos.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuttingedgelandinc View Post
    Lauri, thanks for the info and photos.
    Sure thing. It's a lot easier to show you than just try to tell you.

    Text with no photo can sometimes be 'bla bla bla'. With a photo you see what I see and can come to your own conclusions.

    I've actually learned a lot about bee behavior while figuring out the best way to bank queens. To put it simply, there's a lot of emotion going on in there, you see small things you would normally miss in regular colonies.

    It also makes you more confident with individual queen introduction depending on the receiving colonies circumstances, which can vary widely.

    In horse training, they say to ask yourself this question before you climb aboard:

    "Is he with me or against me?"

    Works well with bees too. You learn to get what you want, but make it seem like it's their idea.
    Last edited by Lauri; 03-22-2018 at 12:55 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    Sure thing. It's a lot easier to show you than just try to tell you.

    Text with no photo can sometimes be 'bla bla bla'. With a photo you see what I see and can come to your own conclusions.
    As a visual learning kind of person, I agree 100%.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Wonder how much they pay the USPS guy to count the attendants in battery boxes to make sure there is only 8 per queen.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuttingedgelandinc View Post
    I have only heard of this from someone on this forum. It has not been my experience nor that of my mentor whom was a commercial Beekeeper for many years and sold thousands of Queens. I use lots of JZ-BZ cages and have been very happy with them. No reason to change anything if you are happy with them. I just wanted to share what someone else said.
    Thanks for the reply

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer Jim View Post
    Wonder how much they pay the USPS guy to count the attendants in battery boxes to make sure there is only 8 per queen.
    I don't know but with only 5 fingers on one hand, it's tough to count that high.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cuttingedgelandinc View Post
    That is one method that my mentor uses. He uses JZ-BZ cages which someone here has stated are not good to bank queens in. It had something to do with the queens getting their tarsal pads damaged.
    I only use JZBZ, never had the slightest bit of an issue with them for banking, they work great. But I only bank for fairly short periods of time in queenless colonies where bees are accepting, not aggressive towards them.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Banking Queens

    I've never banked that many queens, so take this with a grain of salt. The most I've banked in any hive is about 12. Like you, I use a special frame in a queenless hive and have not had any issues. If you need to bank all 100, then I suspect that you'll need multiple host hives, right? If so, given the sizable investment, you might want to stick with what has worked for you in the past. That said, it might be a good opportunity to experiment with a small fraction of the 100 above the excluder. But then there's the weather...even as of today, the 10-day forecast still looks horrible given what you need to do. We've all kept queens in their shipping cages until weather was more favorable. I've seen some hold them like this for longer than a week. As your delivery date gets closer, you'll know more about what you're forced to do. Holding them inside might be a viable option.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

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