Virgin Queen
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Thread: Virgin Queen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Cartersville, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Virgin Queen

    I have a hive that swarmed and I can't be certain how long ago. I would like to get a queen laying ASAP in hopes of getting at least some honey from this hive this year and would requeen it if I could be sure it didn't have a virgin that was not yet laying. If I put a frame of brood with just laid eggs in this hive would they still draw emergency cells if it had a virgin?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Wise county,Texas
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: Virgin Queen

    If you have a spare frame of eggs, I'd use them. If they need, or feel they need a queen they will use the eggs. You could have had a virgin that left to mate and didn't get back, so in my mind adding the eggs hedges your bet for possible QC's and slow the possibility of laying worker until the hive gets right. Should also give you a few new nurse bee's to help bridge the laying gap.

    I'd sure try to locate a queen when you add the frame of eggs, "just to know", but you should see QC's in a few days if they feel the need.
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    4,228

    Default Re: Virgin Queen

    How do you know the colony swarmed? Have you inspected the colony recently? If it swarmed, can you at least estimate the date, like more than 2 weeks ago? If the answer to the last question is yes, then you likely have a laying queen already.

    In general, no. A colony would not make emergency cells if it had a virgin. A virgin queen is seen as a real queen (for the most part) - the older she becomes, the more true this is. However, if your goal is to make some honey adding resources "may" be an option. How many colonies do you have? The real issue here is timing. Given that you're just north of Atlanta, I gotta believe that your honey flow is already in full swing, so adding eggs will have very little (near zero) impact on honey production. If you added a couple frames of emerging brood perhaps... but this would be taking resources from a colony that will very likely make honey.

    My best advice is get into this colony and see what you have. Read up on swarm prevention so that next year you'll have a better chance of making some honey.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: Virgin Queen

    Flyers = honey

    A fresh egg today is not a flyer for 4 weeks (3 weeks to emerge and a week of other jobs before she moves to foraging) so any "boost" in flyers will need to come as capped brood as indicated above or you can shake nurse bees from frames. But again as noted above, that is only going to set the other hive back in population, which may be ok if its a booming hive already that your looking to do some swarm control on.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Cartersville, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Virgin Queen

    Thanks for the replies. My idea was to use the frame of eggs to determine if I had a virgin queen. I have previously looked for a queen and found queen cells, no queen or eggs, (cut out all but one) and honey in the brood nest so I am almost certain they swarmed. If they draw emergency cells from the frame with eggs I put in I will do a newspaper combine with a small queenright hive I have which should give them a queen and more bees. If they don't, then I will assume I have a virgin not laying yet and supplement them with sealed brood. Of course, I may find a queen or eggs by now and only have to add brood to keep them strong. And yes, I definitely need to improve my early spring management skills to cut down on swarms. We had such cool, rainy weather this spring I got in my hives too late and found double 8 frame deeps full of bees.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Virgin Queen

    If the bees do draw emergency cells on the added frame and you plan to combine them with the small queenright colony, make sure you find and destroy or remove every last one or you risk losing the queen in the hive you are combining with.
    Frank

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Cartersville, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Virgin Queen

    Thanks for the heads up. That would be an invitation to swarm with the just introduced queen. I will cut out any queen cells or cups they pull.

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