Direct release virgin into queen right colony?
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  1. #1
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    Default Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    I would like to requeen some hives on a flow. I do not want to look for queens to kill. I am planning on direct releasing virgins into the top of the established colony. Virgins will be no more than 5 days old, some will be 2 days old. The hope is that the virgin will hunt down and kill the established queen, then proceed to mate and continue laying with only a short brood break. The virgin would be marked for identification and checking the success rate.

    Will this work?
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    I think there is a high chance the bees just ball the virgin.

    You could push a queen cell into the honey supers and see if they superceed - which is what I think you're after.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    You'll have better luck introducing the cells before they emerge. But if you want to run a virgin in, use a lot of smoke first or dip her abdomen in honey first....
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    You'll have better luck introducing the cells before they emerge. But if you want to run a virgin in, use a lot of smoke first or dip her abdomen in honey first....
    Cells would be better, but I need to be able to verify acceptance, so I need to be able to mark the new queen. Also, the yard is 3 hours from home, So I will not be able to confirm acceptance of a cell either. I planed to use ample smoke, but I will add a bit of honey to the plan.
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    I don't have enough experience to offer any advice, but please let us know how it goes Mike.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    I do not have any experience with this either but have thought about trying to do this this year. Here is a thread that might interest you..

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...l+introduction

    Check out post #24 by Lauri. She mentions putting the cell in the hive that the queen emerged from when the queen is added.

    Let us know how it goes.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Gough View Post
    Check out post #24 by Lauri. She mentions putting the cell in the hive that the queen emerged from when the queen is added.

    Let us know how it goes.
    I saw that when looking for info on doing this. Looks promising.
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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Two weeks ago, I introduced virgins hatched in incubator into Nucs made between 2 to 24 hour prior. All virgin queens were about 24 hr age and dipped in honey before introduction. 3 out of 10 killed, one 2 days later. There are bunch of threads on newly emerged queens developing pheromones after 48 hours. FYI.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    Two weeks ago, I introduced virgins hatched in incubator into Nucs made between 2 to 24 hour prior. All virgin queens were about 24 hr age and dipped in honey before introduction. 3 out of 10 killed, one 2 days later. There are bunch of threads on newly emerged queens developing pheromones after 48 hours. FYI.
    The dipping in honey method isn't highly reliable. There are better ways to do it.
    How are you gauging the kill off? If you're checking back in 2 weeks then it's just as likely that she died during one of her flights. Depending on the time of year and the yard... I've seen as little as 33% return rate and as high as 99%.
    The only way to properly determine virgin acceptance is to check back in 48-72 hours. This comes with the caveat that disturbing the hive can lead to balling of the virgin and therefore reduce "return" rates.
    If you're introducing older virgins, which I've done with acceptable success, you will need to take extra care.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Peal View Post
    The dipping in honey method isn't highly reliable. There are better ways to do it.
    How are you gauging the kill off? If you're checking back in 2 weeks then it's just as likely that she died during one of her flights. Depending on the time of year and the yard... I've seen as little as 33% return rate and as high as 99%.
    The only way to properly determine virgin acceptance is to check back in 48-72 hours. This comes with the caveat that disturbing the hive can lead to balling of the virgin and therefore reduce "return" rates.
    If you're introducing older virgins, which I've done with acceptable success, you will need to take extra care.
    Being impatient I am, I checked the Nucs after 2 days and found two dead queens on the bottom, one head missing. They were dead for some time before I went in. And you are right, the third one got balled right in front of me, possibly due to disturbance caused by my opening of Nucs.

  12. #11
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    Default

    Good luck. In my experience hives do not tolerate virgins, like those that are queenright with a laying queen. That virgin has to battle the alot of workers to get to queen. You'll have much better success with weaker hopelessly queenless splits and mating nucs. I've had strong nucs chace around a hatched virgin for days. Some eventually killed her, some accepted her, some chewed the tips of her wings before accepting. The friskyness /strength of virgin is also a factor determining success.

    Theres also a chance they may try to cast out the virgin in a swarm. I think this would probably only happen with a hive that already swarmed though.
    Last edited by burns375; 05-07-2018 at 11:58 PM.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Suggested references on BeeSource:

    Direct release technique from Lauri
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...88#post1572688
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...a-virgin-queen

    I personally have no experience as yet with this.

    Michael
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    I've had good luck introducing virgin queens into smaller hives or nucs with powdered sugar. I pull each comb and dust it liberally with the powdered sugar so there are a lot of ghost bees flying around cleaning each other up. The queen goes on the screened floor (of my topbar hive) or on a comb away from the fray. She is usually always accepted.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Gough View Post
    I do not have any experience with this either but have thought about trying to do this this year. Here is a thread that might interest you..

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...l+introduction

    Check out post #24 by Lauri. She mentions putting the cell in the hive that the queen emerged from when the queen is added.

    Let us know how it goes.
    Saturday I found myself in this situation. I was checking a hive that swarmed earlier in the week for cells that I could use to start a double nuc. No problem finding a couple of frames with capped cells for that project. I also found another frame with a capped cell. The queen was beginning to cut herself out. I was going to leave it in the hive until I saw a virgin queen on another frame.

    For personal experience (and not wanting the hive to potentially cast another swarm), I took the frame with the emerging queen to a split that I had made few weeks earlier. The split's 1st attempt at making a queen had failed. I had placed a second frame of brood in the split and they had made a qc. By the time I was ready to place the frame with the emerging queen in the hive, she had cut the cell cap. I could see her moving around in the cell. So in went the frame. I'll check the split in a couple of weeks.
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  16. #15
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spur9 View Post
    I'll check the split in a couple of weeks.
    Please let us know how it went.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    Two weeks ago, I introduced virgins hatched in incubator into Nucs made between 2 to 24 hour prior. All virgin queens were about 24 hr age and dipped in honey before introduction. 3 out of 10 killed, one 2 days later. There are bunch of threads on newly emerged queens developing pheromones after 48 hours. FYI.
    So you had 7 accepted to be able to mate? have you checked for success since then?
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  18. #17
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike17l View Post
    So you had 7 accepted to be able to mate? have you checked for success since then?
    Yep. 6 of 7 laying and 7th is still there but no eggs yet, probably running couple of days late.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    Yep. 6 of 7 laying and 7th is still there but no eggs yet, probably running couple of days late.
    excellent!!
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  20. #19
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    Two weeks ago, I introduced virgins hatched in incubator into Nucs made between 2 to 24 hour prior. All virgin queens were about 24 hr age and dipped in honey before introduction. 3 out of 10 killed, one 2 days later. There are bunch of threads on newly emerged queens developing pheromones after 48 hours. FYI.
    Sounds like you were working with queenless nucs, right? The OP wants to place virgins in queenright colonies.
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  21. #20
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    Default Re: Direct release virgin into queen right colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Sounds like you were working with queenless nucs, right? The OP wants to place virgins in queenright colonies.
    Ideally, yes, id like to release into queenright colonies. However it is sounding like that will be a waste. I will release into QR only if I cannot find the queens to kill.
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