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Discussion Starter #1
Having had poor acceptance for mated queens in splits I finally found the method that works for me. I make the split hopelessly queenless before introducing the new queen. This spring, for reasons I won’t elaborate on, I only had the chance to get 10 splits made before the queens arrived. Those got queens and had 100% acceptance. The remaining 40 I made and immediately put the queen in but kept her cage capped. I returned in three days to release them and this is what I found.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcYo_H9QiQM&t
 

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I have had a few queens that disappeared and cells started. They cost me 60 to 70$ a piece. I decided that it was well worth the effort of checking for cells. I got scolded for going back in and disturbing the bees when a new queen was being introduced.

Your bees did not appear to be too upset!

I dont know whether some bees are more motivated than others, to make their own if at all possible.

There was a comment on your youtube channel that a laying queen will have a better acceptance record than one that has been banked. I am sure there is truth in that but it is worth it to me to do the checking for cells. If it was a chock full double deep it would be quite a chore though. Do you suppose in that case a push in cage would be the way to go, especially if it was a high priced queen?

Your video is nice to listen to without all the silly music some people seem to think is value added!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I dont know whether some bees are more motivated than others, to make their own if at all possible.
I’ve wondered if it might just be that my bees have some instinctive preference for one of their own making.
There’s another video by Bradley Bee from April 12 where he plunks a hundred mated queens into hives that were split the day before. Guaranteed that if I did it his way I’d lose over half of my mated queens. Most of the hives would be ok as they’d make their own but it would be a waste of store bought queens. And I really think that getting mated queens weeks before they are available locally is worth the price.
There’s a place for music….but I don’t care for it in a beekeeping video. Just my preference too.
 

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Excellent job at presenting the situation dan, just excellent.

like i've said before you're a natural.

Very much looking forward to the continuing saga of booger hill bees...

:)
 

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I can buy the first queens from southern ontario about the same time local drones are just starting to fly. I would not be able to mate a queen till near middle of June. The closest bees are about 3 miles from me and only a handful of colonies so early mating would not be a good genetic outlook at the best.

Somewhere here on the forum it was said that good queens dont cost; they pay! I am going to play at making a few this summer for overwintering nucs but I would be delusional to think I was breeding some wonder bee.

Where you are you would probably be at the mercy of the background drone genetics and only able to make changes by bringing in queens.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Excellent job at presenting the situation dan, just excellent.

like i've said before you're a natural.

Very much looking forward to the continuing saga of booger hill bees...

Thanks so much! It is a bit of a saga, isn’t it? ;)
 

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I don’t deal in mated queen intros much anymore but my theory is that queens that have only laid for a few days haven’t developed a strong enough pheromone to suppress e-cells and that can lead to acceptance problems. Then there is the whole issue of whether it’s detrimental to a queen to barely start laying before caging and expecting her to resume normally. To me it’s just so unnatural but that’s another issue entirely.
 

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agree with jim about lack of phermone, plus being caged limits the queen's ability to spread her influence around the hive, and perhaps she fails to join with the collective gut of the colony via food sharing.

this is also where having attendants or not might make a difference, if as dan has postulated some strains are more picky about stuff like this than others;

i.e. if the attendants are feeding the queen from the candy and there isn't a joining with the collective gut via food sharing then the queen and those attendants are technically still foreign to the colony.

it may be this way with package queens as well, and perhaps that's why there is a higher rate of supercedure with package queens.
 

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Having had poor acceptance for mated queens in splits I finally found the method that works for me.
Part of the problem is the JZBZ cage, especially if the attendants are left in. The cages are small and the queen can hide in the end with the candy and no screen while the attendants are at the screen end blocking access to the queen. Meanwhile you have given the queen less nuc open brood and eggs to make emergency cells. I remove the queen and attendants and place her under a push in cage over capped brood. As soon as brood emerges they accept the queen and she starts laying and the rest of the hive will accept her. It works every time for me. The only exceptions for a JZBZ cage is when I remove the attendants and I'm sure there is no eggs or uncapped brood. Then I don't have problems with the hive accepting the queen in a JZBZ cage.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
FWIW the queens were caged alone.

I also believe that a newly laying queen, in all likelihood, doesn’t produce the same levels of pheromones as a mature queen. In fact, if you noticed, one of the photos in the video has an emergency cell immediately adjacent to the queen cage. And yet…everyone I hear from claims near 100% acceptance by simply dumping a newly mated, caged queen into a split immediately after it has been made. Indeed, if you look, Bradley Bee did just that with 100 splits made just the day before in a Beesource video on April 12. How can that be?

I also agree that there isn’t anything natural or good about caging a queen for any period of time. At the same time, in nature, many queens stop laying for weeks or months over winter without any apparent ill effects. In fact, I am embarrassed to admit that I once had a few queens banked for 45 days that when finally introduced into their own hives that became excellent performers.

For me it is a bit of a conundrum.
 

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Yes, we all do what our unique situations dictate. Thanks for the informative video, we never stop learning do we? If there is one thing I have learned in my years of beekeeping is that every year seems to bring new challenges to overcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If there is one thing I have learned in my years of beekeeping is that every year seems to bring new challenges to overcome.
New challenges, new questions.....and...an occasional answer. :)
 

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And yet…everyone I hear from claims near 100% acceptance by simply dumping a newly mated, caged queen into a split immediately after it has been made. Indeed, if you look, Bradley Bee did just that with 100 splits made just the day before in a Beesource video on April 12. How can that be?
I watched the video and I know the title says "Adding mated queens to nucleus colonies", but the inside of the truck sure sounds like a bunch of virgin queens to me ready to do battle. When I cage virgins that's exactly what they do, they start piping like crazy. They are large and in charge. In fact I've tossed virgin queens into queen less nucs with no problem, they just tear a hole in any queen cells and kill them. I didn't hear the beekeeper in the video say he gets 100% acceptance, maybe he does. I can tell you if I dump a newly mated queen in any of my just made up nucs or hives they will ball her instantly. Give Lassen Queen Bee Company a call, they may sell bulk virgin queens.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In fact I've tossed virgin queens into queen less nucs with no problem, they just tear a hole in any queen cells and kill them.
Some years ago when I worked for an outfit that was selecting/breeding queens we tried to introduce virgins. Most of the time when I've attempted to introduce a virgin...either direct or caged....as soon as the house bees got hold of her....she was toast. Success rate, in my experience, was even poorer than trying to introduce mated queens.
Also, when I get my boxes of mated queens and the cages are in close proximity to one another, there is a steady stream on piping. And I know those queens were mated as within days of being accepted they were laying.
Amazing how different experiences can be.
If I wanted to go that route, I could get cells and put those into my nucs. I've done that with great success. At the same time....I lose weeks in the middle of our spring flow.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Please keep in mind that I’m not looking to change my introduction technique. When I do it the way I do it….it works well. More labor intensive than I prefer but it works. My main thought is to demonstrate that the old school methods of dropping a caged queen into a box of bees and assuming that she has been accepted may not always be right.
If your method ain’t broke, by all means, don’t fix it.
On the other hand it might pay to do some random inspections immediately after introduction to assure yourself that your way works.
 

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Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that It is not always the queen being introduced that causes the failure of a hive or split to accept her. Granted, an actively laying queen is best and has the best chances of acceptance, but, some genetic strains of bees just need to be hopelessly queenless to accept an introduced queen. Indeed, I've found the same to be true of making a split and trying to give a queen cell. Many times, they'll destroy the queen cell I give and make up cells of their own. I've come to the conclusion that the old saying of "Blood is thicker than water" definitely applies to many bee hives when trying to introduce queens, or many times, cells as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
some genetic strains of bees just need to be hopelessly queenless to accept an introduced queen.
I’m sure that you recall the stories of trying to introduce a pure Russian queen into a colony of Italians. I think that is one clear example of ‘blood is thicker than water’.
I worked a couple of years at the UGA beelab as a grunt. Unless it was midwinter or pouring rain, I was in the bees. I believe that experience tainted me. There is nothing efficient about that style of beekeeping. Every manipulation of every hive is followed up with inspections to confirm the results of that manipulation.
I suspect that is one reason that I am such an inefficient beekeeper. Very little that I do in my hives is trusted to work as I was taught. So…when something runs counter to the book…I tend to report it.
Tainted…is the right word.
 

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I also agree that there isn’t anything natural or good about caging a queen for any period of time. At the same time, in nature, many queens stop laying for weeks or months over winter without any apparent ill effects. In fact, I am embarrassed to admit that I once had a few queens banked for 45 days that when finally introduced into their own hives that became excellent performers.
i believe the thinking on that had to do with caging the queen shortly after getting mated, because the ovarioles were still developing and caging them at that point in the development resulted in a 'stunting' of ovariole growth.

seems like there was some science done on that but i would have to search for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19

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Most of the time when I've attempted to introduce a virgin...either direct or caged....as soon as the house bees got hold of her....she was toast.
lauri spent a fair amount of time discussing this a while back.

i've only done a half dozen or so virgin introductions myself, and they weren't planned, but rather because of early emergence in an incubator.

i'm at 100% acceptance with those, but it may be because those virgins were introduced to splits made 24 hours or more, and the virgins were introduced within hours of emerging.

i pulled a frame with open feed on it, shook the bees off, placed the virgins near open honey (to which without fail each one immediately started to feed, thereby joining and smelling like the collective pantry), and put the frame back in off to one side or the other.
 
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