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Will a queenless hive accept a virgin queen? If so, what is the best way to get the queenless hive to accept her?

I did a split two days ago, and watched a second queen hatch out in my observation hive this am. Just wondering if I can mover her to the split this evening with any luck (assuming the other recently emerged queen in the OB hive and the second one have not killer the other before I can segregate them). I also assume I will see a third emerge today.

The first one that emerged, for some reason only ate out one of the other three cells in the hive.
 

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Never tried to intro a virgin to a hive, but if I were going to try I would put her in a queen cage for a couple of days then release her. Has the split started drawing queen cells yet? You could also cut one of the cells from the OB hive and put it in the split.
 

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I've never tried it myself, but Lawerence Cutts will tell you that they won't accept a virgin queen and didn't put any caveats on that. I don't know that I trust that 100% and would think that you could take the a frame or two the virgin was on and put it in the new split/queenless hive. I'd probably experiement with dabbing a little lemongrass oil on a queen cage if going that way.
 

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I tried to intoduce a virgin queen into my queenless observation hive and they balled her and killed her. Everything was sprayed down with 4 tablespoons of HBH in a quart of 1:1 sugar water before the queen was released.

The only oter queen I have released was a mated queen retained on capped brood in a screened cage for 3 days prior to release (no HBH), so I cannot say if the 'HBH' trick of masking odor does not work or alternatively the pheromones of a virgin queen are not up to the task (or both).

If you have extra virgin queens and you are experimenting, the idea of introducing the virgin with a full frame of bees that have aleady accepted her is probably the thing to try. From my experiment, if the virgin queen is alone (even 'masked' by HBH or lemongrass oil), she doesn't stand much of a chance.

-fafrd
 

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I've heard that if you shake the bees from the frames into the box (creating a shook swarm) and drop the virgin queen in there, add the frames and close the hive up (with food) for 2-4 days in a dark cool place the chances of getting her accepted increase to high levels.
 

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I asked a very knowledgable queen breeder about this last year. I had cells shipped and some of them were already hatching. I was installing the cells into nucs that I had caged and removed the queens the day before. He said he will direct release a newly hatched virgin into his mating nucs. If the workers don't act agressively towards here he will let her be. If the workers are agressive then put her in a cage with some soft candy or a marshmallow plugging the hole. I direct released my hatched virgins and they were all accepted. It might make a difference if the queen has been hatched out for a few days. Strong colonies with abundant foragers will be less likely to accept the virgin. If you make the nuc to accept the virgin with plenty of bees shook into it and leave it in the same yard as the hive you make the split from the older bees will fly to the original hive. That will leave all young bees left in the nuc and they shoiuld accept the virgin better.
 

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A friend of mine suggests the following:

Take a good swab of honey from an existing frame and daub it all over the new queen. Make sure she's really covered with it, (not the head.) As the bees lick her clean, they get to know and accept her.

Bees have a one track mind. (Its why they get so calmed down around smoke. They can't worry about fire and defend their honey at the same time.)

They go after the honey first, before they decide the queen has a different smell. By the time they get past the honey, they've gotten to know and accept her.

Try it!
 

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There is a series of videos on Youtube of a German speaking guy showing step by step his process for queen rearing. He allowed the cells to hatch into individual queen cages and then marked them before putting them into mating nucs. The small nucs were made up of all nurse bees, and he dipped the virgin queens in honey water before putting them directly into the nucs.

You can find the series of honey bee queen rearing videos here.
 
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