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I have several batches of queens coming in the box set-up that has the queens in individual cages and bees filling the area around the cages. No attendant directly in with the queen. I have always has queen cages with attendants so this is a first. Some questions.

I know when I open the box, bees will be flying all over. With this loss of attendants, heat, and food support, what is the time frame a queen can handle on her own? (I can supply heat or warmth) I am hoping to use these queens to do on-site splits in apiaries that need number increases. I should be able to do it within the afternoon. But what if I can't? Will the queens make it to the next moring? Is there a way to "bank" the queens and maintain "freashness", after opening the boxes?

If I'm doing on-site splits, what is the best method of queen introduction without any delay from making the split and introducing the queen? Smoking heavy, honey-b-healthy, other? Is any of that needed with a caged queen that the bees need to eat the candy? Is time more of the essence when no attendants are with the queen inside the cage, or will be in the hive take up the care relatively fast?

What is the success rate for queen introduction of this type? Can I expect loss?

Thank you.
 

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>I know when I open the box, bees will be flying all over. With this loss of attendants, heat, and food support, what is the time frame a queen can handle on her own? (I can supply heat or warmth)

What if you cut an opening for them to fly and set them in the shade with a brick on top? I've heard of people using the battery box for a queen bank for short periods. Or shake in a few extra bees when you're done installing queens for the day, from some frame of brood, and close it back up, brush it off and put them somewhere at room temps.

>If I'm doing on-site splits, what is the best method of queen introduction without any delay from making the split and introducing the queen? Smoking heavy, honey-b-healthy, other?

I've had pretty fair luck just setting up the splits from one end to the other and then come back to the first (now an hour later or less) and then itnroducing the queen. I like about an hour, but have gotten by with less. Two is nicer. You can always set up the splits, stop and eat your sack lunch and come back and introduce the queens. I often do just do a direct release. I do usually put the cage down first and gauge their reaction. If a few are interested and start trying to feed her through the cage, I just let her out. If a bunch start balling the cage, I take the cage out, and do the rest of them first and come back in a while and see what mood they are in. I haven't used HBH, or any significant amount of smoke or anything else, myself. I don't know how much they help or don't help.

>What is the success rate for queen introduction of this type? Can I expect loss?

I'd say I've had about 90% or better.
 

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There are people better to answer this than I, but I have had no major problem with loss of attendants when opening the battery box. Most attendants stay with the queens anyway, but I mist the attendants with a little water (sugar water might be better) before opening. I have had attendantless queens out for 12 hours with no problem. Attendantless queens bank very well as the caged attendants don't fight with the nurse bees. Nurse bees start to care for an attendantless queen quickly. I prefer not to direct release. If my cages have no candy (cork on both ends) I instal the cage, and come back and release her after 3 days or remove cork from one end and stuff a marshmallow in the hole. If I must direct release, I keep the split queenless for half a day, mist the queen with vanilla water, put her on the top bars, watch for balling, then release. I have not done direct release often enough to give a decent acceptance percentage.
 

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I recieved some queens spring of 2003 in a battery box. First thing I did was to call the shipper and asked "What the hell do I do with this?" I had always gotten them with atendants before and I was just as worried as you are about opening the box and loosing the attendants.

It turned out to be no problem, and now I would rather they come that way. Not only did the attendants (for the most part) stay with the box, but I was able to keep the unused queens for three weeks with out any losses. Keep in mind that there were less queens every weekend, but the last week there were still six in the battery. I did shake some young bees in the battery the last weekend for good measure.

My care of them was to mist 1-1 syrup in the box twice a day, and I left them on the kitchen counter, out of the direct sunlight. The battery will have a supply of candy in it from the shipper.

I have also kept queens with attendants for prolonged periods by feeding one or two drops of syrup via an eyedropper twice daily. Maybe I am just lucky, but it has worked for me.
 
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