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Yeah, I suck at this.

I needed four at a minimum, I was hoping for 8. Will graft again this weekend since the Cloake board and cell builder is still set up.

All three of these queens are large queens, so at least that's good.

I had four of the two deep frame mating nucs, but I built a mini-quad and half frames so that I could have the capacity to mate 8 queens plus more if I employed my regular nucs. I shook out nurse bees, let foragers take flight, and then sprayed them lightly with sugar water. I stocked three of the sections in the mini-quad with a solo-cup full of bees. First virgin went right in, they ignored her. They immediately went after the second virgin so I pulled her back out and put her back in the queen catcher. I let her rest for a few minutes and then I put her in the other chamber. They ignored her. Same nurse bees from the same hive, go figure. I shook off the frames that rejected the second virgin and gave the chamber a new cup of nurse bees (still from the same box) and introduced the third virgin on a frame. Three bees came up and started feeding her. They are now closed up in a cool room for now. I think I'll put them out early Sunday morning.
 

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Those nurse bees still have loyalties to the old queen that they were with. Introducing a live queen is risky in almost any situation, but putting the nurse bees in with a 14-15 day old queen cell almost guarantees acceptance.
 

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I see about a 90% (last round was 6 for 6) return on hand selected virgins (runts and defects pinched) in fresh minis with a cup of bees

water spray frames, shake the bees in a bucket, toss the bucket a few times, spray and smoke, spray the virgin with water so she doesn't fly, drop her in the bottom (some times still in the cage with the door opened) and dump the wet cup of bees on top of her, close up and place for 3 days dark and cool..

every thing elce I try is hit or miss.. a few rounds ago I had 6 for 6 dead in the cage placed in minnys a week after pulling the queen, cells pinched so they were hopelessly queenless
 

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Ones I put in before emergence in queenless bees appear to have been accepted. Virgins turned loose into colonies where I wanted the queen replaced are keeping a very low profile (if they are still alilve) but the resident queens are continuing to lay. Both those queen are marked. Watch and wait.

A 48 hour cell, a capped cell, or a ripe cell, a virgin, a mated but not laying and a laying queen, probably all have different implications to the bees.
 

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I hatch out virgins into roller cages.When they are fresh hatched like hours old I have no problems.Now if they get a day old and older not so good.Older virgins go into jzbz cages and are freed after a couple or three days.The older she gets the harder it is to get them accepted or thats the way mine are anyway.
 

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Of my last batch (30+) of 'virgins into nucs', although all appeared to have been accepted ok, only around half eventually went on to mate successfully (and many of those took *ages* to start laying). What I noticed was - as nearly all were pairs of nuc boxes with opposite entrances - that if one nuc was Q+ve, so would be the other. Likewise with the queenless nucs: one negative = both negative.

At first I thought this must have something to do with where the nuc-pairs were placed, but by going over my notes I then realised that I'd been making-up each nuc-pair from one resource hive, and that nuc-pairs made-up from 'once-upon-a-time Buckfasts' were all queen-right (eventually), and those made-up from 'once-upon-a-time Carnies' were all duds. The only exception to this was a 3-partition 'queen castle' in which one nuc is now Q+ve, with the other two duds - but I didn't make a note of from where I sourced the bees for that particular box, although if memory serves it may have been from several resource hives as these were the last nucs I made and was scraping the barrel for frames of bees by that time.

As the introduced virgins were all from the same 'once-upon-a-time Buckfast' Queen, the above would suggest (at least on this occasion) that genetics might play a role - which surprises me, as these are no longer *pure* strains of bee. (Were they ever ?)
LJ
 

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Doesn't supersize me in the least, over here people have issues re queening Russian hives with Italian queens and vice versa

was the "once-upon-a-time Buckfasts" also used as the cell builder ?
 

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Just had to check my notes, as I have two Cloake Board cell-builders right now, one from each strain ...

Yes is the answer. And - when I've tried using the other cell-builder with larvae from the same "once-upon-a-time Buckfast" Queen, the results have consistently been hopeless - but I never made any connection.

'tis my own fault for having two strains of bee in the same apiary - never planned it that way - just could never choose between them, so left it to Providence to decide for me. :)
LJ
 
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