Dead virgins in JZBZ cages
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  1. #1
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    Default Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    I had a bit of a head scratcher this year. I built a rig to emerge in to small hole JZBZ cages, and 90% ended up dead in the cages on 2 trys in 2 different hives that emerged virgins in hair roller cages the week before ...and after
    jzbz emerging bar.jpg
    any thoughts as to why this set up failed?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    Bummer. Two possible lines of enquiry : what were the virgins given to eat ? And - with the rig you made - were other bees able to gain access to the virgins between emergence and death ?
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    Also, did the 2 hives used as banks have a laying queen? Or did a virgin get into the bank?
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    The were emerged in the QR hive that finished the cells. Week before and week after virgins emerged just fine in hair roller cages in both hives.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    So they should have been fed by worker bees as before (and after) ? Sounds like the problem is something specific to the JZBZ cage itself then ?

    I thought I had one of those cages squirreled away - as someone once sent me a queen in one - but this morning I can't find it, so can't compare it with a Nicot roller cage ...

    I believe these are intended primarily for mailing use, rather than as 'emergence cages' - so the only thing I can suggest is to very carefully compare the hole sizes with those of the roller cage. Other than that - I'm stumped. Ok, the volume of those cages is less than that of a roller cage, but should still be big enough. That IS a mystery ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    I'm not familiar with those cages either so can't comment on that. Plus I have never banked virgins, only mated queens.
    But something noticeable is the cages are on the bottom bar, were there heaps of bees around the cages?

    Something i remember from my queen banking days, is that the banked queens must be among large bee numbers. They are also more likely to be ignored if there is a loose queen in the hive.

    However not sure if any of that is relevant, but it might be.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    Now this is clutching at straws ...

    The plastic of these two types of cages certainly looks the same - but - if something is being added (either accidently or deliberately) to the plastic of JZBZ cages during manufacture which, although having a weak smell, has the potential to repel bees, then this wouldn't affect their use as mailing cages housing mated queens, but might affect the feeding of virgins (with their zero pheromone) through the cage walls.

    Next season, it might be worth taking a virgin which has already been fed, and placing her in a JZBZ cage which is then placed amongst queenless workers - and then watch - you should be able to draw some conclusions within half an hour, so the virgin could then be released without harm.

    A helluva long-shot, of course, but what else could it be ?
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    I have watched virgins emerge in my observation hive and they are voracious when they first emerge. If you don't have some crystallized honey for them to eat they will quickly die. Or they will crawl back into the cell to eat the remaining royal jelly and then they don't come back out.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    I believe the bottom of the cage to be the main access point for bees to feed the queen through JZBZ cages as it hast he biggest slot there, so perhaps blocking that was an issue as well.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    bottom hole unblocked
    Emerged, not banked- some went from not emerged to dead on the cage floor in under 14 hours

    But something noticeable is the cages are on the bottom bar, were there heaps of bees around the cages?
    The frame was removed from the hive and the bees brushed off the cells. The photo was taken 1/2 way threw working right to left pulling the 5 day cells off the top grafting bar and placing them in the caging rig below
    A helluva long-shot, of course, but what else could it be
    Some on once told me the small hole jzbz cages have "something" added to them... lemongrass, QMP etc but I haven't seen any documentation on it. I went with the small hole as that seemed to be the preferred one used by II and people banking to prevent tarsal pad damage.

    I think the question is it the rig some how stressing the queens out so they die after getting out of it, or is it the cages....

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    I think the question is it the rig some how stressing the queens out so they die after getting out of it,
    Very possibly, I'm with Michael Bush on this.

    There may be other issues because people do successfully hatch virgins into cages.

    But the reason I have never done it is because of exactly what MB says. Queen bees develop to hatching stage way much faster than worker bees. This is because for all the millenia that bees have been around, the first queen to hatch gets to kill the others. So fast hatching has been an evolutionary advantage and in fact a necessity, for queens.

    But the other side of that, is that when a queen hatches, she is not yet fully developed. She is ready to fight, but not developed in other ways. As per MB, if you watch a new virgin you will see the first thing she does is go and fill her empty belly, with a great deal of food. The scientists tell us that she still undergoes quite a bit of development after hatching, it takes quite a few more days until she is ready for mating.

    A queen hatched into a cage with no food and no bees is normally dead in hours. So I have always designed my beekeeping systems around not hatching queens into cages, I believe it is detrimental even if she can beg food from bees, and i won't do it.

    However I don't think that is the only explanation MSL because with some other cage types it can work, but hatching into any cage gives some disadvantage right off. But if the cage type you used doesn't work, reason understood or not, time to move on to a cage type that does work.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    Nice rig msl! JzBz missed the boat when they didn't design an emergence cage, IMO...

    I think if the virgins were emerged in a queenright hive then the bees didn't feed the virgins (or not enough to keep them alive). The hive already had a laying queen, so why would the bees need to feed more queens?

    The only time I've heard of a queenright hive feeding caged virgins is with the Cloake board method, OR if the queen bank is placed in the 2nd or 3rd super above the laying queen (being under an excluder).

    Sorry, my thought is that this is a biological problem rather than an equipment difficulty.

    A queenless hive feeds multiple caged virgins or mated queens, but it has to be re-stocked with nurse bees and sealed brood every week and is very forgiving (biologically) once it's up and running.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    I just ran across this while looking for something else:
    Comparing Alternative Methods for Holding Virgin Honey Bee Queens for One Week in Mailing Cages before Mating
    Gianluigi Bigio ,
    Christoph Grüter,
    Francis L. W. Ratnieks
    Published: November 16, 2012
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0050150

    Abstract
    In beekeeping, queen honey bees are often temporarily kept alive in cages. We determined the survival of newly-emerged virgin honey bee queens every day for seven days in an experiment that simultaneously investigated three factors: queen cage type (wooden three-hole or plastic), attendant workers (present or absent) and food type (sugar candy, honey, or both). Ten queens were tested in each of the 12 combinations. Queens were reared using standard beekeeping methods (Doolittle/grafting) and emerged from their cells into vials held in an incubator at 34C. All 12 combinations gave high survival (90 or 100%) for three days but only one method (wooden cage, with attendants, honey) gave 100% survival to day seven. Factors affecting queen survival were analysed. Across all combinations, attendant bees significantly increased survival (18% vs. 53%, p<0.001). In addition, there was an interaction between food type and cage type (p<0.001) with the honey and plastic cage combination giving reduced survival. An additional group of queens was reared and held for seven days using the best method, and then directly introduced using smoke into queenless nucleus colonies that had been dequeened five days previously. Acceptance was high (80%, 8/10) showing that this combination is also suitable for preparing queens for introduction into colonies. Having a simple method for keeping newly-emerged virgin queens alive in cages for one week and acceptable for introduction into queenless colonies will be useful in honey bee breeding. In particular, it facilitates the screening of many queens for genetic or phenotypic characteristics when only a small proportion meets the desired criteria. These can then be introduced into queenless hives for natural mating or insemination, both of which take place when queens are one week old.
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaW View Post
    Sorry, my thought is that this is a biological problem rather than an equipment difficulty.
    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    Week before and week after virgins emerged just fine in hair roller cages in both hives.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    I use the JZBZ cages to hold my newly emerged queens. They emerge into roller cages in the incubator and are transferred when I find them out of their cells. First thing I do is fill the tube with fondant and give them a drop of water. They are usually head first in the fondant whenever I check on them. MB is dead on the money with his advice, your new queens simply starved. A newly emerged queen needs to feed herself for the first day or two. After that, she will start to smell more like a queen and the bees will begin to feed her royal jelly. Keep your existing setup but prep the bottom of the cage, where the removable qe bar is, with a bit of fondant first.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    MB is dead on the money with his advice, your new queens simply starved
    Sure
    but the question is what caused the starvation, the 10 or so other batches I ran with hair roller cages in the same hives turned out just fine.

    As it turns out the cages are indeed pheromone impregnated, I wonder if this is some how blocking the "feed me" trigger

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    To find out, do it again but take JWPalmers suggestion and put in some fondant. If the queens live, you know it was likely food related. If they still die, it was something else, maybe as you suggest, something on the cage.

    But my gut is they starved.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    I thought I had one of those cages squirreled away - as someone once sent me a queen in one - but this morning I can't find it, so can't compare it with a Nicot roller cage ...
    Found it on a second attempt ...

    The JZBZ has holes that are slightly larger (by being rectangular) then those of a Nicot cage - which are square, so that's unlikely to be a factor.

    The surface area of the JZBZ cage occupied by these holes is around 50% of those of the Nicot cage (judgment made by eye, not measurement) - but there's still plenty of area for access to feed.

    I mention this for the benefit of those who haven't seen a JZBZ cage - otherwise there's nothing remarkable about it - at least not that anyone can see (shown here with two 'standard' mailing cages on the left, & roller cage on the right):



    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    OT's advice takes the cake (again!)
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Dead virgins in JZBZ cages

    The JZBZ has holes that are slightly larger (
    thats the old style big hole cage, I am running small hole not that I think that's the issue

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