Study on the introduction of virgin queens
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  1. #1
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    Default Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Don't know if this has been posted before, but I found this study interesting. My results from introducing virgin queens has always been mixed, so I plan to utilize some of the techniques presented in this article.


    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...2_days_or_more
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Thanks Astro, the paper also answers a question raised in another thread about virgin queen longevity outside of the hive. Apparently, a quren will feed herself for quite some time if caged and fed honey and water regularly.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Yes, the virgin queens (Experiment 1) were kept at 68 F for 3 days without attendant bees and fed only honey. The mated queens (Experiment 3), also held for 3 days, had 4-5 attendants.

    The study that MSL posted also noted that the highest survival rate was seen with wooden cages, 5 attendants, and fed honey. Seems like that would be the best approach if one chose to do it.

    Neither of these studies, the one I posted or the one that MSL posted give a long-term perspective on the effect of holding virgins, or even mated queens. Given the work by Tarpy and my own experience, I'd tend to believe that prolonged holding has some negative effect on queens - particularly in their early-phase of life.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Agreed that one does not want to wait too long. My experience last year was not good. I fed the queens honey, but left them in the incubator. That was a huge mistake as none survived longer than a day and a half and a few did not make it 24 hrs. All told , I lost 14 from my first sucessful graft and some extra swarm cells. Since I work a regular job and the weather does not always cooperate, it is nice to know that a day or two outside of a hive at room temperature won't hurt.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    For as long as I've known Dee Lusby, she has been saying that's how you introduce a virgin queen. Smoke them heavily and run her in. Preferably between two boxes. I haven't done it enough to have a opinion, but I guess that's what I'll try next time.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Very interesting and worth a try.
    from the Bee House -http://ecologicalsolutions.com.au/bees/?page_id=8
    40 years - +/- 20 H - TF - Subtropical

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    I started direct releasing virgins into mating nucs this year with good results.I split everything into two frame nucs but due to all the rain they stayed in the bottom for several days before I could get down there with the queens.That may be the reason then with better acceptance.

  9. #8
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    Default

    Due to weather and work I will be banking a batch of queens today. I have not had much luck in the past introducing virgins but will give this method a try. It was interesting that the study also showed direct releasing mated queens was better than using a cage.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Quote Originally Posted by yousowise View Post
    Due to weather and work I will be banking a batch of queens today. I have not had much luck in the past introducing virgins but will give this method a try. It was interesting that the study also showed direct releasing mated queens was better than using a cage.
    If you do use this approach, please report back on your success. Thanks
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  11. #10

    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    ...
    I introduce many(!) virgin queens using plain bee-o-logy. With almost 100 % success. No smoke, nothing fancy. Just dequeen the hive, wait 2-3 hours and introduce the queen from top of the frames. That's it.

    Bees need some time to realize that the queen is gone. Usually in a strong hive with brood present, that'll take 2 or 3 hours. The bees then panic. In this phase they accept anything, be it virgin or mated queen. Old queen, queen cells. Whatever, as long it is something queen.

    Once the panic is over, at latest at midnight, the bees start an emergency queen raising plan. Once this sequence is started, it is much more difficult to introduce a queen. Because the bees want "their queen". From then on the beekeeper works against the bees. Please note: completely unnecessary...

    And devices like cages, introduction cages, waiting 1 day, 9 days or even 2x 9 days, smoke, whisky dipping of the queen, or a lot of other hair raising "techniques" are invented to compensate for complete lack of bee biology knowledge.

    Also note, that I use the dequeen+2hours-method all around the season. Be it Spring, Summer or autumn. Or rainy, hot or whatever.

    Also note: in all sorts of hives. Splits as well as full hives. Works with all bees.

    PS: I prefer requeening in the evening. Dequeen at 7 pm, requeen at 9 pm. Or so.

    PPS: I keep virgin queens up to 10 days in the incubator. You better feed gelée royal and honey mixture 1:1. You get better queens. I'll upload a video on how I feed the queens in some weeks.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Bern, you bring up an interesting point that days may be impacted by the building of queen cells. What is your success rate and how much do you smoke them? Front entrance or top of frames?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  13. #12

    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    I don't loose many if any queens when I introduce them. So 99 % success rate. I introduce from top of frames. Smoke only, if the bees are in a bad temper, which you can see if they spread the wings in a triangle. If wings are folded, they are peaceful. No smoke needed. If unsure, place the queen in a cage on top of the frames. If the bees bite the cage, you need to wait a little more time. If the bees stream towards the cage, start fanning and feed the queen, all is ok. With some experience you can skip the test, since you are able to read the bees.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    I don't loose many if any queens when I introduce them. So 99 % success rate. I introduce from top of frames. Smoke only, if the bees are in a bad temper, which you can see if they spread the wings in a triangle. If wings are folded, they are peaceful. No smoke needed. If unsure, place the queen in a cage on top of the frames. If the bees bite the cage, you need to wait a little more time. If the bees stream towards the cage, start fanning and feed the queen, all is ok. With some experience you can skip the test, since you are able to read the bees.
    Nice suggestion for testing them out. Thank you.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    I just released my virgin queen from Thursday into a nuc. She did not seem very active when I first set her in, bees were climbing on her but she just stood there. I pulled her back out and left her in the cage on top of the frames for a few hours. Came back and released her. She was much more active and scurried right on in.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I just released my virgin queen from Thursday into a nuc. She did not seem very active when I first set her in, bees were climbing on her but she just stood there. I pulled her back out and left her in the cage on top of the frames for a few hours. Came back and released her. She was much more active and scurried right on in.
    How long had the nuc been set up and how much did you smoke?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Study on the introduction of virgin queens

    This nuc has had two failed attempts at queening. First the queen cell became chilled and died, second my emerged queen failed to return from a mating flight. I had seen her so I know she was there at some point. Nuc was originally put together about mid March. It is on an end and has had brood added so there are a lot of bees in it. I did not use smoke.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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