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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Monday, I was working in my queen rearing/nuc-making apiary, and afterwards had two 5-frame medium nucs (both without adult bees), one with five combs on top bars, full of brood, pollen, and honey - with a cultured queen cell scheduled to emerge on Wed or Thur - the other with combs in frames, also with brood, pollen, and honey, but without a queen cell. I moved them to my other apiary, the one with full size hives. I had intended to place them in full size colonies, where they would be most useful in fortifying any weaker colonies. I planned to place the comb with the cultured queen cell into any colony that could use a new queen.

Well, I'm adjusting to a new medicine and didn't feel up to completing my work with these combs, until late this afternoon (Thursday). After I had prepared a place for the top bar combs, first, I lifted out the comb containing the cultured queen cell, and since it had been left out, exposed to the weather, and with some ants eating some of the combs contents, I expected the cell to be dead, so I reached down to pluck it from its place in the comb and discard it. Instead I noticed that the end of the cell had some slight movement. I expected the movement was ants attacking the queen pupa to eat it. As I looked more closely I realized the movement was the queen, soon after she completed her emergence. She is a nice looking Cordovan Italian virgin, whom I placed in a colony in need of a new queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Okay, I guess I'm not going to get any immediate responses.

I will admit that this is not entirely unexpected. For these past dozen years, or so, I've often left sealed brood, out, unattended, and it simply continues to mature, then emerge, and after awhile combs of sealed brood, either singly or multiples, wind up with clusters of newly emerged young bees, all by themselves. Since ambient humidity is nearly always very low, and ambient temperatures can be quite high, I initially expected that they'd perish from dehydration before emergence, but they rarely do.
 

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Nice work Joseph, yes queen larvae seem particularly tough. I have had some similar experiences also where a cell I could not use was left laying on the bench for a few days, or other similar scenarios, then hatched, and I was able to find a nuc to put the virgin in. As often as not they will mate and become an apparently normal laying queen.

They are very fragile after pupation but prior to the pink eye stage though, does not take much to kill them then.

Still think it's important to have the best temperature possible for queen cells right through to hatching though, as born out by my results once I got my queen cell incubator really working well, have had lower mortality over numbers of queens.
 

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A few years ago when I was just starting to raise my own queens I made up mating nucs and put the cells in on the same day. I was short of resources for the nucs, but did the best I could. Here our nights are in the 40's during that time of year.

It was raining for a couple of days so I didn't check on them. On about the third day I checked to see if the queens had hatched and found one nuc that I had put two cells in that had no bees. Apparently they had all be foragers and found other hives. So the queen cells had been sitting there all that time. I could see that they were just starting to emerge, so I got a couple of frames of nurse bees and put them in the nuc with the two emerging queen cells. A week or two later I had a successfully mated queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I do agree with Oldtimer, I want my queens to have the best environment for every bit of their entire lives, if possible. However, it is interesting to note, that they can sometimes do fine with a much less than optimal environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
:D - very funny, Oldtimer.

JRG13, What I call a "cultured" queen cell is one that has been produced with human assistance, as in a larva grafted into an artificial queen cell cup, then induced to be grown into a virgin queen. Or, one of the graftless systems, etc. Non-cultured/cultivated queen cells are ones that are not manipulated by humans, only by the bees from beginning to end.
 

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In the early days I used to use the egg laying cage for queen rearing. After taking out the larvae I needed, I left the cage in my car, just the cage, no bees. After a cold night I put the cage back into a hive above excuder for cleaning up. I thought the larvae would be all dead. After a week I came back and what did I see: capped brood almost filling the cage. The night was cold but obviously it was quite moist in the car, so the larvae did not dry.

For the second round in my mating yard, I transport the 10 day old cells in my vans passenger seat. The cells are in their frames. The frames are covered with a towel to protect from direct sun light. It is a bumpy gravel road for about 35 km. Never had any damage.
 
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