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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a week ago I had a queen cell bar that I had grafted thirty six queen cells cups, of which thirty-four took and were looking excellent. I'm currently back in college and got kind of busy. So, I pushed moving my batch of queen cells too close. Anyhow, when I went to move my queen cells I saw that only four were left! I was so bummed because just a couple of days before I had these beautiful queen cells. So, just for the heck of it, I thought I would check to see if I could spot any recently hatched virgins. To my amazement I spotted several and before long found multiple virgins that were still getting there first feeding (you know how recently hatched queens are still pale and go for a big feeding to gain their strength, I assume I made it before the fighting began??). I then quickly grabbed some queen cages and was able to catch thirteen of them! Most of them had their heads in cells feeding so I had to tickle them with a blade of grass to get them to back out of the cell so I could grab them by their wings.

The next crazy thing I tried was introducing these recently hatched queens to the queenless mating nucs that had been queenless for about forty-eight hours. Let me premise why I tried this first. I think it was last year, I happened to be pushing my luck again on one of my batches of queens and as I was placing this queen cell cup in the nuc the virgin queen emerged and crawled onto the comb of the nuc. I carefully watched and noticed that they showed no signs of aggression. So, my hypothesis was that a recently emerged queen/bee must not yet have acquired a colony specific pheromone (or something) and therefore they excepted her. So, I took my recently hatched queens to my nucs and gently released them out of their cage and watched them crawl onto the comb. Here again almost all of them crawled onto the comb and the bees seemed to ignore her (which I've noticed most virgin queens seem to be ignored/not attack her).

Have any of you ever had this happen? To me this was a really cool experience! Some of them are just starting to lay now and I have another awesome batch on the way. This time I will try not to be such a slacker....LOL! This experience reminded me though of how I heard that brother Adam from the buckfast Abbey would sometimes just swap out laying queens without introducing them in a cage with apparently a certain amount of success (I think he cautioned doing this with a queen you really like though-indicating less than a 100% acceptance). I think he said that the reason most new queens aren't accepted from a queen cage was because they weren't currently actively laying. I know this doesn't relate to my experience since I was dealing with recently emerged virgins queens, but it still makes me think........
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ya, I use a Chinese grafting tool, a six-frame deep (some that I built) queenless nucleus that is packed full of bees (lots of brood and young nurse bees), make sure they have a frame of pollen, and feed them heavily! I usually switch around to different strong nucleus colonies for subsequent batches so as to not have a colony be queenless for a long time-works great for me (I am just a hobbyist though).
 

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I made a boomer hive queen less to get emergency queen cells. Pushed the emergence dates too close. I opened it up to find the queens emerging. I got a bunch stilled sealed and some that I caught and put in Nucs. I used the same bees from the hive the Queens came from thinking there would not be any issues of acceptance. Just in the nick of time. I did hear some piping. That was neat! I am working towards better queen rearing techniques. :) It was interesting to notice the first thing the queens did was look for food. Never witnessed that before. Course, it is not often I stumble into mass queen emerging s:) Time will tell if and how successful I was.
 
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